Family Law Specialists

Steve Fernandez and Mark Karney are both Certified Family Law Specialists* with over 50 years of combined experience.

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Category Archives: Complex Divorce


What Is the Difference Between a Domestic Partnership and a Same-Sex Marriage?

California provides same-sex couples with two legally recognized unions they can declare. Same-sex couples in California can now formalize their union by either getting married or entering into a registered domestic partnership. Read More>

How Do I Demonstrate Standard of Living in Litigation?

In California divorces, status quo is important. The status quo is the standing of living the two parties to the divorce enjoyed and had grown used to over the course of the marriage. Generally, family law courts will strive to maintain the marital standard of living when they are making a determination on spousal support. Read More>

How Soon Can I Get Spousal Support?

In many divorces, one spouse will need spousal support after the physical separation in order to meet costs. Temporary spousal support can be awarded to this spouse, to help them meet their living expenses while the divorce is worked out. Read More>

How Do I Respond to a Petition and Summons?

If you have been served with divorce papers, and choose to respond, you have 30 days from the date you were served in which to file a response. Read More>

Can I Buy My Teen a Car Without My Spouse’s Approval?

During a divorce, you and your spouse will be restricted in what financial actions you can take by a set of restraining orders. These restraining orders are automatic and temporary, included in the summons and effective with the filing and service of the initial divorce papers. Read More>

I Have Season Tickets; Are These Subject to Division?

California’s community property rule governs the division of debts and property in divorce. All property acquired during the course of the marriage is subject to 50/50 division upon divorce. Property is defined broadly; anything that holds value is property. Given the value of a set of season tickets, be it for a sports team or the opera, they are considered valuable property. Read More>

What Fees Are Involved in a Divorce?

Many people hold the opinion that divorce is expensive in every case. Some people may even be hesitant to file for divorce, for fear of the cost. There are several costs that can make a divorce expensive, however getting an idea of where all these costs come from can help you make an informed decision on how to go about getting a divorce. Read More>

Who Can I Have as an Expert Witness in My Divorce Case?

You may think of an expert witness as someone who provides illuminating facts in criminal cases. However, they can be extremely helpful in divorce cases as well. Expert witness statements can facilitate case decisions in the face of highly disputed issues and facts Read More>

What is a Petition for Dissolution?

One of the first documents required in a divorce is the Petition for Dissolution, served alongside the Summons. A petition is a document that you, as the petitioner, file with the court, requesting a certain judicial action take place.
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How Does Social Media Play a Role in the Divorce Process?

You may think of social media as a venue where you can share with your friends what is going on in your life. Social media is a great venue for expressing yourself and your views however isn’t the best place for divorce talk. Read More>

Can I Have a New Partner Move in During a Divorce?

A general rule of thumb when deciding what changes to make during the divorce proceedings is to make sure whatever you do is in the best interest of your child, if you have minor children still at home. In general, it is advisable you wait until your child is comfortable with their new living arrangement before making such a significant change. Read More>

Should I Keep My Divorce a Secret at the Office?

When deciding whom you can talk to about your divorce, you should keep in mind what is in your best interest. Many people feel the need to talk about their divorce to friends, family members and even co-workers, because they don’t have their spouse to talk to and divorce is a very stressful experience. Read More>

What is Used as Evidence in a Divorce Trial?

Divorce trials are much like other trials. They involve witnesses, testimony, evidence and arguments. Evidence is gathered and exchanged during the process of discovery. Read More>

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence, in California as well as elsewhere, affects many families. Domestic violence happens more than you would realize, in part because it is so hard to recognize. The traditional depiction of domestic violence is often a husband beating his wife. While this is indeed a common occurrence of domestic violence, the legal definition of domestic violence is much more broad. Read More>

Can My Domestic Partner Ask for Spousal Support?

Some couples decide to enter into a domestic partnership instead of a same-sex marriage for personal reasons. However, in the eyes of California family law, a domestic partnership is a lot like a marriage. Read More>

Can We Divide our Assets However We Want?

During a divorce, much of what happens and decided upon is up to you, as long as you follow standard California family laws and your spouse is in agreement with you. For example, you can divide up your debts and assets according to your needs, as long as your spouse agrees to the division and the total net value of your marriage is equally distributed. Read More>

Will a Criminal Past Affect My Divorce?

If you have a criminal past, you may be wondering how or if that will come into play in your family law matters. This depends on just what issues are at hand in your divorce. Read More>

What is Divorce Settlement?

A divorce settlement occurs when the two parties come to agreement about all the divorce issues and numbers, schedules and divisions are “settled”, so to speak. Property division, spousal support, child support and the parenting plan and timesharing schedule all need to be agreed upon before a divorce can be finalized with the court. Read More>

How are International Divorces Handled?

Many Californians have business or other interests that take them to other countries. However, if you or your spouse previously lived in California but one of you have maintained a California residency, you may still be able to file for divorce as any Californian resident would. Read More>

What Does Transmutation Mean in Property Division?

When a couple divorces, they must go about dividing the assets and debts accumulated over the course of the marriage. This can be one of the most difficult, time-consuming tasks in a divorce. California is a community property state meaning all marital property is equally owned by both spouses. Read More>

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