Brentwood Divorce Lawyer

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Do not face the end of your marriage or domestic partnership without the assistance of a reputable Brentwood divorce attorney.  Skilled and knowledgeable legal counsel can help you face this difficult time while ensuring your family is provided for, your assets are secure, and you maintain a consistent, healthy relationship with your children.

Fernandez & Karney is a successful Brentwood, California, law firm that can help you navigate all facets of the divorce process. From understanding how California’s divorce laws directly affect you to making family court appearances, our experienced family law attorneys will ensure you are well-informed and prepared throughout your divorce.

Moreover, our Brentwood divorce lawyers are:

  • Compassionate when dealing with sensitive divorce issues
  • Determined to meet your legal goals and expectations
  • Aggressive advocates for your best interests

For competent, qualified legal representation, retain a Brentwood divorce professional from Fernandez & Karney. We look forward to meeting with you in a confidential setting to discuss your circumstances.

Why You Need a Brentwood, CA, Divorce Attorney

At Fernandez & Karney, we work in the Los Angeles legal system every day. We can offer you valuable insight and advice into your divorce case and have usually dealt with situations similar to yours in the past.

As legal professionals, we do not allow emotions to make or influence our decisions. We have helped clients through some of the most challenging times in their lives by providing honest, practical solutions to complicated problems.  

The Brentwood family law attorneys at Fernandez & Karney can also assist you by:

  • Finding agreeable child custody and visitation plans for you and your spouse
  • Negotiating child support and spousal support payments
  • Identifying and valuing marital assets and suggesting creative ways to split these assets
  • Negotiating or litigating the terms of your divorce
  • Creating a final decree that is clear and free from errors
  • Minimizing the time it takes to finalize your divorce

Have your questions and concerns addressed by an experienced Brentwood divorce attorney at Fernandez & Karney. We know the law and can create clear arguments surrounding your preferred divorce terms.

Retaining a Brentwood, CA, Law Firm for Your Divorce or Partnership Dissolution

If your marriage was long-term, the legal process to dissolve the union is likely to be complex without some agreement on property division between you and your spouse. Other elements that can complicate a dissolution include child custody, an extensive estate, and unique assets. 

Protecting your financial interests is particularly important in cases with high-value assets, numerous real estate holdings, and estate planning cases. You will also want the advice of knowledgeable, client-focused attorneys like those at Fernandez & Karney, where same-sex partnerships or international child support and child custody are at issue. 

For more information about divorce in Brentwood, read the brief outline below. If you have specific questions, do not hesitate to reach out to Fernandez & Karney’s divorce attorneys.

Residency Requirements for a Brentwood, CA, Divorce

California requires one spouse to be a state resident for at least six months before a divorce filing. The filing spouse must also live a minimum of three months in the county where they file for a divorce.

Grounds for a Brentwood, CA, Divorce

California allows no-fault divorce or divorce due to incurable insanity. In a no-fault divorce, a divorce is granted due to irreconcilable differences causing the irremediable breakdown of a marriage.  Neither spouse is to blame for the divorce.

Unlike a no-fault divorce, proof is required to divorce a spouse on the grounds of incurable insanity. A medical doctor or psychiatrist must testify that a spouse was incurably insane when the divorce petition was filed and remains incurably insane.

Alternatives to Traditional Divorce in Brentwood, CA

There are options for divorce in California besides a complicated legal case ending in a courtroom trial.  Some spouses qualify for one of the following:

  • An annulment
  • A collaborative divorce
  • Mediation


While an annulment and a divorce may seem similar, there is an essential difference between the two. In an annulment, a marriage is declared void as if it never legally existed.  

There are specific grounds for an annulment in California, such as blood relations, bigamy, and coercion. While the property is restored to its pre-marital state after an annulment, orders are entered by the court to provide for any minor children of the now void relationship.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is when both spouses choose to make all of their divorce decisions with only their attorneys and a team of chosen professionals.  There is no court involvement.  

Collaborative divorce involves a series of meetings where every critical issue is discussed and decided.  If the collaboration fails, the divorce case starts again with a new team and different attorneys.  


In divorce mediation, the spouses meet with a trained, neutral professional who helps them negotiate and compromise on the important matters in their divorce.  Spouses who reach a marital settlement agreement through mediation may avoid courtroom litigation.

Some couples can work amicably through negotiations to separate their finances and property with the help of their attorneys. Acrimonious partners may find this problematic without additional resources. Often negotiations can be considerably less expensive than litigation before a judge and have a more favorable outcome.   

For spouses who cannot avoid the courtroom, state law governs the division of any commercial or residential property. A family court judge will determine larger estate and child custody decisions.   

Contact a Brentwood divorce attorney for help, advice, and personal representation in your California divorce negotiations, mediation, or other dispute resolution.

Community Property in Brentwood, CA

California is a community property state. Community property is “…all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in this state.”  This means that most marital property in California is divided in half.  

Marital or community property in California does not include property excluded by a valid premarital or post marital contract or separate property.

Separate property includes:

  • All property owned by a spouse before marriage
  • All property acquired by a spouse after marriage by gift, bequest, devise, or descent
  • The rents, issues, and profits of that separate property
  • The earnings and accumulations of a spouse and the minor children living with, or in the custody of, the spouse while living separate and apart from the other spouse

Separate property may become mixed or commingled with marital property and difficult to identify and split. Other property, however, is relatively easy to divide.

Dividing Marital Community Property in Brentwood, CA

There is a basic list of items considered individual possessions in a separation.  This holds true in the majority of the states.  This list consists of, but is not limited to, the following:

  • A house or property
  • Any life insurance coverage
  • A personal checking account
  • A pension
  • Personal vehicles

In community property states, when there are no minor children and the lease of the marital home is in the name of one spouse alone, the spouse whose name is on the home loan or lease is usually considered the legal owner. That spouse might request the other spouse vacate the property. In other cases, the owner/spouse might need to follow general renter alert guidelines and provide the other spouse with a reasonable amount of time to vacate the premises.

To avoid community property laws, some couples choose to keep their individual properties as separate property throughout their marital relationship. This may be the case with real estate, prior children’s inheritance, or savings accounts. 

When residential or business real estate is purchased with a combination of spousal funds, it is usually considered community property. Therefore, the real estate is subject to division between the parties. It is common for family courts to order the sale of the marital home or other real estate and award each spouse a portion of the proceeds of that sale.

When choosing how possessions are divided in a divorce, it is wise to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of one’s choices, as well as whether a prolonged and costly court fight is worthwhile. It is also vital to understand that any checking account, financial investments, real estate, vacation properties, furnishings, or appliances obtained during the marital relationship are typically considered community property. 

For clarity on any of these or another property division issue, contact an experienced Brentwood divorce lawyer.

Spousal Support in Brentwood, CA

There are two types of spousal support awards in Brentwood, California. These are temporary spousal support and permanent spousal support. Temporary spousal support is granted only from the date it is requested until the judge finalizes the divorce.

Temporary spousal support is calculated by the court using California’s child support guidelines. The same factors do not guide it as permanent spousal support. The primary purpose of temporary spousal support is to allow a lower-earning spouse to cover their living expenses during the divorce process. 

Permanent spousal support is part of a final divorce decree. The most common type of permanent spousal support is rehabilitative support. Rehabilitative support gives the lower-earning spouse enough support to gain valuable job skills or education and become self-supporting.

California also permits permanent spousal support awards when one spouse helped finance the other’s education or career advancement training during the marriage and will not reap any benefits from that investment due to the divorce.

Child Custody in Brentwood, CA

There are two different types of child custody in Brentwood, California. These are legal custody and physical custody. While a family court judge will order a custody arrangement on behalf of parents, the court prefers parents come to their child custody agreement as parents know what works best for their schedules and their children. 

Legal Custody

Legal child custody refers to the right and responsibility to make important decisions about a child’s health, education, and welfare. Legal custody may be joint, meaning shared between the parents, or sole, meaning held by one parent alone. 

Generally, family courts prefer joint legal custody arrangements as these allow both parents an opportunity to be involved in making significant decisions regarding a child’s life. However, parents who frequently cannot agree on child health, education, and welfare issues must return to court and have the judge decide what is in a child’s best interest. 

In situations where parents are not or cannot be granted joint legal custody, the court will do so according to the best interests of the child. Sole legal custody may be ordered to one parent when: 

  • A parent is incarcerated
  • A parent has a history of severe mental health issues
  • A parent has a history of domestic violence
  • For any other reason the judge decides is in the best interests of the child

Physical Custody

Physical child custody pertains to where a child resides. Physical custody may be joint or sole. If one parent has sole or primary physical custody, the other parent will likely be granted visitation rights.

A joint physical custody arrangement is meant to allow a child to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. This does not necessarily mean equal time with both parents.  Instead, each parent has significant periods of physical custody. 

California has three basic child visitation orders.  These are as follows:

  • Visitation according to a schedule. This visitation order establishes the exact days and times the other parent will spend with the child;
  • Reasonable visitation. Reasonable visitation is an open-ended arrangement where the parents are flexible as to visitation days and times; and
  • Supervised visitation. Supervised visitation is ordered when the child’s safety and well-being is at risk.  The parent with visitation rights might be supervised by the other parent, another adult, or an agency when spending time with the child.

Get in touch with an experienced Brentwood child custody lawyer to learn more about your specific case.

Child Support in Brentwood, CA

California has a statutory guideline to aid parents and the court in calculating an appropriate monthly child support amount that is in the best interests of a child. The guideline is meant to:

  1. Provide for a minimum level of child support for a child
  2. Provide for uniformity in the calculation of child support.

The guideline is presumed to be correct in all cases. Deviations from the guideline are permitted only in rare situations.  

Child support payments are based on a complex calculation that considers the following:

  • Both parents’ incomes
  • The amount of time each parent spends with the child
  • Mandatory union dues paid by each parent
  • Health insurance premiums paid by each parent for the child 
  • Any tax deductions available to either parent

This formula applies to all family law cases involving child custody, including divorce, paternity, legal separation, and domestic partnerships.

Finding Experienced Divorce Attorneys in Brentwood, California

If you face a challenging legal separation, child custody, or another family law situation, base your choices on logic rather than emotion. Take your time to carefully choose a Brentwood divorce lawyer that will represent you, your legal goals, and your best interests.

When looking for divorce or family law attorneys in Brentwood, CA, it can be helpful to first focus on firms with an online presence that demonstrates the legitimacy of their practice. Then, you can reach out to a few firms for an initial consultation to see who is most responsive to your inquiries and choose from there. 

Be careful and make sure you understand each firm’s fee structure and the legal advice you are being given — a good firm will take the time to help grasp your situation and explain your choices.

No one plans for their relationship to fail. When it does, they are likely left with many questions – from the practical “How do properties get divided?” to the emotional “How do I move on and recover?”  

With a reliable divorce attorney, you know your legal needs are all managed. You can focus on moving forward with your family.

When you need a skilled and aggressive divorce attorney in Brentwood, contact Fernandez & Karney for a complimentary consultation.  Our experienced attorneys are ready to listen to your circumstances and help you cope with even the most complex divorce situation.