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What Does A Family Lawyer Do In California?

If you’re struggling with a family problem, someone may have recommended that you talk to a family lawyer. Or you may have a legal problem and wonder whether a family law attorney is best suited to meet your needs.

When you find yourself grappling with family issues that would benefit from legal guidance, a family lawyer in California can be your trusted partner. The Certified Family Law Specialists at Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC offer a range of services to provide solutions and smooth transitions during turbulent times. Here we explore some of the many issues a family lawyer can help with in California.

Guidance and Protection During Divorce Procedures

A significant part of a family lawyer’s role involves guiding individuals through all stages of the divorce process. We assist in divorce preparation, filing divorce petitions, helping you understand your rights, and the most strategic way to approach asset division.

Beyond this, we aid in resolving disputes amicably and can help negotiate terms that favor you, creating a pathway to a smoother life going forward. The goal is to protect your interests and to ensure that the proceedings are fair and equitable, with a focus on establishing an advantageous foundation for your future.

Child Custody and Support in California

A central concern for parents who are separating or who never married is safeguarding the well-being of their children while establishing beneficial arrangements for custody and support. We negotiate and draft agreements for child custody and support designed to further your objectives while still prioritizing the best interests of your child.

We aim to develop arrangements that foster stability and nurturing environments for children with support obligations that fairly reflect financial needs and resources. Offering guidance through this emotionally charged process, we strive to achieve resolutions that stand the test of time and support your child's growth and development.

Spousal Support Negotiations in California

For many divorcing couples, a lesser-earning spouse needs support payments, at least on a temporary basis. We assist in evaluating the financial circumstances of both parties to establish fair spousal support agreements.

Whether you are seeking support or responding to a request to pay support, we focus on securing your financial stability. Additionally, we help with requests to modify existing support orders to reflect current financial circumstances, ensuring a fair and just arrangement that recognizes the economic realities of both parties.

Handling Pre and Postnuptial Agreements in California

Prior to getting married, couples can benefit from the exploration of the financial aspects of their union that is part of the process of creating a prenuptial agreement. This process requires couples to address financial issues they might avoid and which can lead to significant conflict later. We guide couples through the discussion of their financial situation and develop agreements to protect their family and business arrangements.

We also create postnuptial agreements after marriage to address changing circumstances or to clarify existing agreements. Our experienced team ensures that agreements are comprehensive and that they comply with California laws to avoid any future disputes.

Managing Complex Asset Division

Divorce entails a meticulous classification and division of assets, and this can prove challenging when holdings include executive compensation packages, unusual retirement benefits, closely-held businesses, commercial real estate, and other complex assets.

We understand the intricate issues involved in complex asset division, with a keen eye for details that might be overlooked. Aiming to secure a favorable outcome that respects your contributions and rights within the marriage, we strategize to reach a settlement that safeguards your financial future.

Assisting with Domestic Violence Cases in California

Our knowledgeable and empathetic attorneys assist victims of domestic violence, helping them secure the necessary legal protections through restraining orders and other legal avenues.

However, we know that statements and situations can be taken out of context, and we staunchly defend individuals wrongly accused of domestic violence, defending their rights and working to reach a positive outcome for the future.

California Family Law Mediation and Collaborative Divorce

Many couples enjoy the benefits that follow when they resolve their disputes cooperatively through mediation or collaborative divorce rather than traditional litigation. We facilitate this process, helping parties find common ground and arrive at mutually agreeable solutions that usually meet their needs much better than a decision handed down by a judge.

Contact Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC

Navigating the intricacies of family law in California requires a steady hand and experienced guidance. Whether you are preparing for marriage, going through a divorce, battling for custody, or venturing into the adoption process, we are ready to assist.

Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC offers comprehensive family law services tailored to your needs. Call us today at (844) 237-5791 or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation with a dedicated family lawyer in Southern California.

How Do I Lower My Child Support Payments?

What Is Child Support?

First, a few misconceptions regarding child support should be clarified. Child support is not intended to “punish” the parent who pays child support, nor is it intended to be spent as “bonus income” for the receiving parent. Child support is to be used for the needs of the child. This includes the child’s food, shelter, clothing, education, extracurricular expenses, entertainment, health care, etc.

How Is Child Support Determined in California?

In California, the determination of a child support amount is based upon a mathematical formula that is set forth in California Family Code Section 4055. The formula that is used to determine the amount of child support is complicated, so the court and family law attorneys use child support software programs to compute guideline child support. The calculated amount will fluctuate based on a variety of factors.

Some primarily factors include:

  • The respective income of the parties
  • The number of children involved
  • The percentage of time each party spends with the children

To receive a child support payment estimate, you can use the Guideline Calculator located on the California Department of Child Support Services’ website. If you use the Guideline Calculator, be sure to discuss the computed estimate with your lawyer to receive a more complete and accurate indication as to what your payments should be.

Can You Make Modifications to Child Support?

If you feel that your child support payments should be modified, you will need to file and serve either a Request for Order form (FL-300) if you are initiating the request, or a Responsive Declaration to Request for Order form (FL-320) if you are responding to the other party’s Request for Order. You will also need to file and serve an Income and Expense Declaration form (FL-150) and other necessary financial documents identified on that form. You will receive a hearing date upon the filing of the Request for Order.

Because litigation on the issue of child support can become extremely complex, it is best to first consult with an experienced family law attorney before filing any legal documents.

Social Media and Child Custody

Social media is present in most of our lives today. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or some other social media outlet, most people freely post their comments and pictures without much thought about how the posts may affect them later.

Can social media affect your child custody case?

Many couples include their significant others on their friends list. Mutual friends may also have access to your social media page(s). Social media posts provide a mountain of evidence that can be used against you in court to prove that it is not in the best interest of the children to place them in your care, should issues relating to child custody and visitation arise later. Even an “innocent” re-post of a picture or comment you just believe is funny can be used to show your state of mind.

Social Media Posts and Your Character

For instance, e-cards and pictures relating to alcohol use are often used to prove that a parent has a drinking problem and/or is not stable enough to care for minor children. Additionally, posted statements or pictures relating to your case that are unflattering or places the other parent in a bad light may indicate that you are not the parent who will foster the parent-child(ren) relationship, thus causing you to have a reduced time-share with the children. This is especially true when your children are members of your social media pages.

While there are several other ways that social media can reflect poorly on a parent’s character and therefore their ability to parent, the important thing to keep in mind is to always be mindful of what you are posting on social media especially when you enter legal battles that involve child custody and visitation. Or you can simply turn off your Twitters and Facebooks until your divorce is finalized.

Judge, He Looked at Me Funny: What Constitutes Domestic Violence?

by Chandra Moss

The issue of domestic violence has been at the forefront of headlines over the past few months, especially in the celebrity world. California law provides that a court may issue a protective order prohibiting an individual from "molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, harassing, telephoning . . .contacting, either directly or indirectly, by mail or otherwise . . . disturbing the peace of the other party." California Family Code §6320 (part of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act [DVPA]). As a result, abuse under the DVPA includes physical abuse or injury, as well as acts that "destroy the mental or emotional calm of the other party." In re Marriage of Nadkarni (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 1483, 1497.

Attacking, striking and other forms of personal contact and battery are clearly acts of domestic violence under the DVPA, including Johnny Depp’s alleged throwing of a cell phone into Amber Heard’s face. What becomes a little more fuzzy are claims of mental and emotional abuse, in tandem with “controlling behavior”. California Courts, have, however, noted in In re Marriage of Nadkarni, cited above, that mental abuse is relevant in a DVPA proceeding. California Courts have ruled the following may constitute domestic violence:

  • Accessing and threatening disclosure of private emails. (Nadkarni)
  • Repeatedly contacting an ex-partner electronically after being told to stop. (Burquet v. Brumbaugh (2014) 223 Cal. App.4th 1140)
  • Downloading and disseminating text messages. (In re Marriage of Evilsizor and Sweeney (2015) 237 Cal. App.4th 1416)
  • Forcing a partner to keep a telephone line open so her activities could be monitored, threats to beat a partner, practicing marital arts in close proximity. (Rodriguez v. Menjivar (2016) 243 Cal. App.4th 816)
  • Threatening over social media. (Rodriguez v. Menjivar)

Other instances of domestic violence include financial abuse/control, punching holes in walls, throwing objects (without necessarily hitting an individual), threats of violence and the like. If you are unsure whether you are the victim of domestic violence, or if you know you are, please call our offices. We can help.

How to Make a Prenuptial Agreement in California

Premarital agreements – sometimes called prenuptial agreements – are supposed to help married couples avoid unnecessary conflict if they ever decide to divorce. Planning out what will happen with marital assets and responsibilities ahead of time should, in theory, save time and money. However, just bringing up the idea of premarital agreements can spark heated debates and arguments that lead to serious family law disputes.

In order to try to prevent these preemptive conflicts, California adopted its own set of prenuptial agreement laws and rules based on the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. This legal act paints a clear picture of what is and what is not allowed for a premarital agreement to be acceptable in court.

Main components of the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act are:

  1. Full disclosure: Marital assets and separate property cannot be properly divided or protected if they are not fully understood. Each spouse needs to make full disclosure of their finances, property, debt, and any other piece of property that could be pertinent in the divorce process. Hidden assets will inevitably be discovered, and the spouse that tries to hide them may lose credibility for doing so.
  2. Financial advisors: Although not necessary, in some cases involving significant amounts of finances or assets, each spouse will be advised to consult a financial advisor while drafting their prenuptial agreement. This will act as an additional safeguard against unfair or unbalanced divisions, as well as reducing the risk of inadvertently hiding an asset.
  3. No duress: Any evidence of emotional or mental duress, or even physical intimidation, cannot be present when a premarital agreement is signed. People who are under stress to may not be able to make sound decisions, even if explanations and evidence are laid out clearly in front of them. If such duress exists, the signing must be postponed pending further review.
  4. Premarital: It may seem self-explanatory but a prenuptial agreement needs to occur before the marriage becomes official. This clause is meant to clearly differentiate premarital agreements from postnuptial ones.

Retain Separate Counsel to Protect Your Best Interests

California’s own draft of The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act requires that both spouses use separate counsel when creating a prenuptial in order for many of the common provisions to be considered enforceable. With a family attorney of your own guiding you through the process of drafting the agreement, you can rest easy knowing that you won’t be making any major oversights or mistakes. As with any legal process, having a friend in the court or conference room can be a boon.

You can contact Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC and our divorce attorneys in Southern California if you need to make a premarital agreement. We will bring more than 300 years of combined family law experience to your case, working diligently to always protect your best interests.

Finding Yourself - Life after Divorce

Moving on with your life after your divorce is a challenge. It forces life event changes – whether you like it or not. You have gone through a major loss and the healing process may take some time. However, there IS life after divorce. Life after divorce is a process of moving on and finding yourself. It could be filled with the unknown but it could also have excitement. At this very moment, you may think your world is coming to an end – you are lonely, depressed, angry and just about ready to give up. You may even feel overwhelmed with issues and other arrangements set by the judge such as money, children, downsizing your family home, and who you are ‘in the now’. Hold on. Things will turn around and you, one day, will feel great – even– better than great. Once you get through the divorce process – the legal, financial and emotional aspects involved – things will get better.

Below are some helpful hints to help you feel encouraged – not discouraged:

  • Find a friend to talk to – share your feelings about what is happening
  • Write your feelings on paper – talk about your day
  • Hit the delete button on revenge – there is no place for revenge, especially when you need to concentrate on the future
  • Focus on your job – it’ll take your mind off divorce
  • Do stuff you wouldn’t do before – broaden your horizons – take a dance class or vacation
  • Be social – don’t stare at the four walls or the television screen

Even though you are no longer part of a couple, you are still a complete person. Take the time to find that new person and make yourself your number one priority.

Don’t Get Caught Off Guard

Life after a divorce is separation is going to be different. Different can be good, different can be bad… but either way it’s change and it can be hard to deal with. Lee Sears at DivorcedMoms recently wrote a post of the most surprising things post-divorce that she wasn’t expecting. We thought this information could be helpful so you’re not caught off guard by some of the life-altering changes:

  • You can do more than you think. You might feel like your ex handled finances, house repairs, cooking, etc. and that you’re helpless, but you’re anything but that. You can learn if you try, and when push comes to shove you’ll make yourself do it. There are always YouTube tutorials!
  • Friends aren’t forever. As much as we all wish they were, you’ll lose friends during the divorce process. Some for good reason, and many for not… it will happen. Don’t let it get you down. Think of it as an easy way to weed out the people who aren’t friends you want anyway.
  • Good men have boundaries. Men worth your time will tell you right away if they’re married. They do this as a sign of respect to their wives and because they know you’re single. If they don’t say, they may be a cheater… or they’re single and good luck.

If you are dealing with a divorce case or want another look to a finalized divorce case consider the law offices of Holstrom, Block & Parke, we offer the experience and understanding needed with such sensitive matters. Because this is a life changing experience we know the last thing you want is to be stressed, we have the resources you need to help you and your family cope and be able to live happily under the new circumstances. We will fight to protect you’re interest we know that the outcome is very important and it will reflect years to come in your life.

We are proud of our reputation for providing personalized service to every client. Our attorneys treat you like a person, not a case number. We understand that you are facing serious legal issues and it is our job to help you resolve them in the most efficient and beneficial manner possible.

Do I Have To Pay Spousal Support Before The Divorce Is Final?

Understanding Spousal Support

Spousal support. At this point, since you’ve made it to the website and are reading this article, you are either trying to figure out how to minimize your obligation to pay support or how to maximize your opportunity to obtain support. In fact, what’s important to note here is that spousal support is a very complex matter. And a very heated matter as well. Such questions often emerge: “Why do I have to pay him support?! I’m the woman.” Or, “Really, I have to pay her support even though she has a college degree and refuses work right now?!” It’s obvious, then, that spousal support may be the most contested issued during a divorce. So, let’s see if we can simplify a few things for you to get you started during your investigation.

A good starting point is to think about need vs. ability to pay. To keep this in very simplified form, often this is the lens the court will look through when awarding temporary spousal support. Wait, what do you mean temporary? Could it go away? And, does that mean there is also permanent spousal support too? Yes, and yes to the last two questions.

Temporary spousal support is very different than permanent spousal support. Temporary spousal support can begin (ready for this?) just days after one spouse files for divorce, which could be months or years before the divorce is final. To keep this simplified then, temporary support is before the final judgment, and permanent support is after the final judgment.

Understanding the timeline of the divorce will help: Once a spouse files for divorce with the court, California law will not allow the divorce to be final until at least 6 months have elapsed. A divorce can become final such as when (1) once the spouses agree in writing to such things like how the property will be divided or where the children will live and the judge signs off on this agreement; or(2) the divorce can become final after the judge rules on the parties’ disputed issues at a trial.

However, before the divorce becomes final, one spouse often seeks temporary spousal support. So, how do you get temporary spousal support? Like mentioned above, the court will weigh one spouse’s “need” against the other spouse’s “ability to pay.” That’s pretty much it for temporary support. This is relatively simple hurdle. So, to be blunt, the spouse earning more money will generally pay temporary spousal support.

So, now the bigger question: How much? The judge often will determine the amount of support by using a computer program called a Dissomaster or X-Spouse. That doesn’t help you now to determine what your obligation, or benefit, may be, does it? So, to help you, but to keep this in very simplified form, a support-paying spouse, for example, with no children, and where one spouse is employed, and the other spouse is unemployed, may expect to pay around 30% of his/her salary to the other spouse. You must know that this temporary support can last for months, or even years, until permanent spousal support is awarded.

For this article, though, our discussion is limited to temporary spousal support. Permanent spousal support is much more complex. In fact, a support-seeking spouse must provide proof of 14 different factors outlined in the law. Therefore, such discussion will need to be reserved for another time. Please note that the above information was kept in simplest form to help give you a primer of a situation that is important to know when considering divorce. As many areas of law, the complexity is understood and handled well by an attorney. Thus, it’s helpful to know that an experienced family law attorney is a phone call, or email, away to help provide guidance both before the marriage and at the difficult time of dissolving the marriage.

Equal Rights for Both Parents

Our lawyers are part of the premier law firm in the Pomona area known for representing equally both the mother and the father in child custody proceedings. We protect your rights under the law.

We understand that dads are often slighted in the eyes of the court. In fact men in general have been hurt because the family law system has leaned in favor of women. In cases of divorce, property settlement, alimony, and child custody, the scales of justice have unfortunately been heavier toward the female side.

Vast experience in the courtroom dynamics has taught us that men often come to court less prepared than their spouses. Women have usually spent more time discussing the situation with their family law attorneys, and are more aware of the situation.

We understand that the concerns of moms and dads are often different. If you are concerned about your separation, divorce, property rights, or child custody, see us.

We know that our male clients have equal protection under the law, and we make sure you get it.

Start now taking care of your children. You will need to show the court that you are capable of providing the daily care needed for your children to be happy and healthy. Some of the responsibilities you need to take are:

  • Spending time with your child/children
  • Keeping them clean (bathe, brush teeth, clean clothes)
  • Homework help
  • Attending events (sports, performances, Open House at school)
  • Take them to school on time

Of course we represent women as well as men in all Family Law cases: abuse, divorce, issuing orders of restraint, property settlement, and child custody.

Our goal is not to favor either the mom or the dad, but to support our client and give him/her the best legal advice possible. We are here to protect you and your rights.

Call us today!

Should You Keep His Name?

This post is dedicated to all the ladies of Riverside who took a man’s last name, divorced, and don’t know whether they should keep the new last name. And thanks to recent law changes, all the guys who are in the same boat.

In an interesting new trend, many women aren’t going back to their maiden name or keeping their married name—they’re choosing new last names. That name may be a maternal grandmother’s name or another relative important to that person. It’s a reflection of what matters and a symbolic way to truly start over.

Going back to your maiden name can feel like moving backward, and keeping your married name can feel like being stuck in something that didn’t work. So it does make sense why many women, post-divorce or separation, are choosing entirely new last names.

That being said, it may not be the wisest choice for everyone. Think of all the documents, the confusion, and the questions you’ll get. Realize that when your last name is different than your kids’ there are a thousand processes that will naturally be harder.

Here are a few tips:

  1. No matter what your name is, inform everyone. Make a long list of all the people, organizations, companies, etc. that need to know your legal name. Check them all off quickly.
  2. Talk to your friends and family. It’s your decision, but it can be nice to get feedback. It’ll also lessen the blow if it’s an unwanted surprise.
  3. Make a choice and stick to it. Once your name is legally changed, make sure people know and request to be called only that.

What Kids Want Most

Divorce is not for the faint at heart. It can be a traumatic experience for everyone involved, and most parents agree that putting your kids first is the hardest part. It’s not hard because you don’t want to; it’s hard because you’re not sure how best to do that. Author Honoree Corder shared with HuffPost the three things kids want most when their parents divorce. If you can remember these three things, it should be much easier to know how to make sure the divorce process is as painless as possible for your children.

  1. They want you to be happy. A parent that isn’t happy, not matter what type of mood it is, makes an unhappy kid. Children feel most secure and content when their parents are content. So if you’re not happy, it’s not just hurting yourself. Focus on self-improvement for your kids’ sake.
  2. Attention. It’s a word typically with a negative association, but it is true that kids of most ages simply want our time and attention, even when they won’t admit it. Do what they want to do, set a weekly time, or figure out what you can do together. Take every step necessary to spend time with them.
  3. Get along with your ex. Once again, you may think this is/isn’t for your benefit… but it’s actually for your kids’ benefit. He might no longer be your spouse, but he’s still their dad. And no one wants to see their parents fight. Be friendly when it isn’t easy; be nice when she doesn’t deserve it. Take baby steps to building a mutually respectful relationship. Your kids will appreciate it, notice and model your behavior.

About Dayn Holstrom

Dayn Holstrom is a hard working, compassionate problem solver who welcomes the opportunity to serve you in any way he can. His maximum availability to your questions and concerns begins with your free initial consultation. He is well-seasoned in all matters related to family law and a skilled negotiator and litigator.


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.