Hiring a Family Law Attorney – Is it Worth It?

family law attorney

Family law is a complex and emotional field that deals with legal issues related to family relationships. Whether you are going through a divorce, child custody battle, or other family law matter, navigating the legal system on your own can be challenging.

Hiring a family law attorney can provide numerous benefits and help protect your legal rights. In this article, we’ll discuss why you should hire a family law attorney and the benefits of it.

Legal Knowledge and Expertise

One of the primary reasons to hire a family law attorney is to benefit from their legal knowledge and expertise. Family law requires a deep understanding of statutes, case law, and legal procedures. A family law attorney has spent years studying and practicing in this area of law and is equipped with the knowledge and expertise necessary to represent your best interests.

Additionally, family law attorneys stay up-to-date with the latest legal developments in their field. They attend seminars and training sessions to keep informed about changes in the law and new legal precedents. This allows them to provide you with the most current and effective legal advice.

Guidance and Support

Going through a family law matter can be emotionally and mentally taxing. It’s common for clients to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about the future. Hiring a family law attorney provides much-needed guidance and support during this difficult time. They can help you understand the legal process, provide options, and guide you through decision-making.

Furthermore, a family law attorney can serve as a source of emotional support. They have experience working with clients going through similar situations and can provide you with a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on. Having someone to turn to for support can help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that often accompanies family law matters.

Protection of Legal Rights

Family law involves sensitive and important legal issues, such as child custody, property division, and child and spousal support. With a family law attorney representing your interests, you can avoid making mistakes or being taken advantage of. In addition, a family law attorney can help protect your legal rights by advocating on your behalf and ensuring that your interests are represented in court.

Effective Negotiation

Many family law matters can be resolved through negotiation and settlement rather than going to trial. However, negotiating with your spouse or partner can be challenging, particularly if emotions are high or you have difficulty communicating effectively. A family law attorney can help facilitate negotiation and reach a settlement that is fair and reasonable for both parties.

Furthermore, a family law attorney can help you understand the pros and cons of various settlement options. They can advise you on what is reasonable and not and help you negotiate terms that meet your needs and interests.

Courtroom Experience

While negotiation and settlement are often the preferred methods of resolving family law matters, sometimes going to court is necessary. Having a family law attorney with courtroom experience can be invaluable if your case goes to court. A family law attorney knows how to navigate the courtroom and can present your case persuasively and effectively.

Additionally, a family law attorney has experience working with judges and other court personnel. They know what to expect in a courtroom and can help prepare you for the experience. Having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

Efficient Resolution

Family law matters can be time-consuming and costly. Hiring a family law attorney can help resolve your case as efficiently as possible. An attorney can help you prioritize the issues that are most important to you and can work to resolve those issues quickly and effectively.

Furthermore, an attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes that could prolong the legal process. By working with an attorney, you can save time and money in the long run by resolving your family law matter promptly and efficiently.

Azemika & Azemika, A Family Law Attorneys You Can Count On

Family law matters can be emotionally draining, but hiring a family law attorney can help alleviate stress and uncertainty. If you are facing a family law matter, don’t try to navigate the legal system alone. Hiring a family law attorney can ensure your legal rights are protected, and you receive the best possible outcome.

At Azemika & Azemika, our firm is exclusively devoted to family law. Because of this, we can efficiently handle cases involving the dissolution of domestic partnerships, divorce, child custody and visitation, child and spousal support, abandonment, adoption, and paternity. In addition, our vast experience in family law allows us to customize every case to suit our client’s needs.

Contact us today for a consultation.

Learn the Different Types of Visitation Orders in California

visitation orders

Visitation is an important aspect of family law that allows non-custodial parents to maintain a meaningful relationship with their children. In California, there are different types of visitation orders that can be made by the court depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

The courts prefer to keep both parents involved in the child’s upbringing. However, they will always put the child’s best interest at the forefront when making decisions about custody and visitation. In this blog post, we will break down the different types of visitation in California and provide a guide for non-custodial parents.

1. Scheduled Visitation

Children typically benefit from structure and routine. Thus, scheduled visitation orders are very common with the court, as well as with parents. Scheduled visitation specifies dates and times that children will spend with each parent.

2. Reasonable Visitation

There isn’t as much structure with reasonable visitation as with scheduled visitation. This type of visitation allows parents to make a joint decision over the time their children spend with each parent.

This works well for parents who still get along and are close after the divorce. Keep in mind, however, that while this type of visitation allows a great deal of flexibility, it also leaves room for disagreements should the relationship between the parents deteriorate.

3. Unsupervised Visitation

The most common type of visitation arrangement in California is unsupervised visitation. Unsupervised visitation allows non-custodial parents to spend time with their children without a third-party supervisor. The court may order unsupervised visitation if it determines that the non-custodial parent is not a danger to their child and can provide a safe and stable environment for them.

Non-custodial parents need to understand that unsupervised visitation comes with certain responsibilities. They must ensure that the child is safe and protected during their time together, and they must follow all court orders and parenting plans. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in the court modifying the visitation arrangement or terminating visitation rights altogether.

4. Supervised Visitation

Supervised visitation is a type of visitation arrangement that requires the presence of a third-party supervisor during the visits. This can be a professional supervisor or a trusted family member or friend approved by the court. Supervised visitation is usually ordered when there are concerns about the non-custodial parent’s ability to provide a safe environment for the child.

The court may order supervised visitation if the non-custodial parent has a history of substance abuse, domestic violence, or other behaviors that risk the child’s safety and well-being. Supervised visitation aims to protect the child while maintaining a relationship with the non-custodial parent.

Non-custodial parents should be aware that supervised visitation can be expensive, as they are responsible for paying the fees associated with the professional supervisor. Therefore, they should also build a positive relationship with the supervisor to ensure the visits are as productive as possible.

5. No Visitation

In rare cases, the court may order no visitation between the non-custodial parent and the child. This usually occurs when the non-custodial parent poses a significant risk to the child’s safety or has been found to have committed severe abuse or neglect. In addition, no visitation orders are typically made as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

Non-custodial parents who have been ordered no visitation should seek legal counsel to explore their options for appealing the decision or modifying the order. They should also seek counseling or therapy to address any underlying issues that may have led to the no-visitation order.

6. Virtual Visitation

Virtual visitation is a relatively new type of arrangement that allows non-custodial parents to communicate with their children electronically. This can include video calls, instant messaging, or email. In addition, virtual visitation benefits non-custodial parents who live far away from their children or have limited visitation rights.

Virtual visitation is becoming increasingly popular in California, and many courts now include it as a standard part of parenting plans. Non-custodial parents interested in virtual visitation should discuss it with their attorney and the other parent to determine the best course of action.

Let Azemika & Azemika Help You Get the Visitation Rights You Deserve

Understanding the different visitation arrangements in California is essential for non-custodial parents who want to maintain a meaningful relationship with their children. By familiarizing themselves with these arrangements, non-custodial parents can work with their attorneys and the court to create a visitation plan that meets the needs of everyone involved. If you feel that your parental rights have been violated, you should enlist the services of an experienced family law attorney.

Azemika & Azemika has provided exceptional family law representation to clients throughout Kern County for over three decades. Our partners have handled some of the county’s most challenging family law cases. Our objective is to provide clients with aggressive, knowledgeable, affordable representation.

Contact us today for a case evaluation.

What Can A Family Law Attorney Do For You?

The family lawyer shares the figure of a man and a woman on scales.

Family law attorneys focus on issues in family relationships that involve divorce, marriage, adoption, child custody, child support, paternity, alimony, division of property, and more.

Many people will find they need an attorney at some point. Most attorneys specialize in certain areas and if you need a family law attorney in Bakersfield, make sure you hire an attorney who is experienced in family law.

A family law attorney is one of the most widely utilized types of attorneys, as many people frequently need them. This article will tell you some of the various issues a family law attorney helps you with and what they can do for you.

The Role Of A Family Law Attorney

A family attorney can help you with various things, including court proceedings and helping to negotiate through mediation. A family law attorney helps with issues around the family, family, legal paperwork, and more.

#1. Divorce

Divorce is essentially the dissolution of a contract; however, it’s also very emotionally challenging and legally complex. It is important to hire an attorney when navigating a divorce. When you are going through a divorce, it is emotionally, mentally, and physically tiring, and a family law attorney can help represent you using their experience, knowledge, and expertise. An experienced family law attorney can help you navigate the complex family court system, keep you from making some common mistakes and ensure that your rights and family are protected. They will also help alleviate some of the stress of a divorce and ensure that all the legal paperwork is filed correctly.

#2. Pre and Postnuptial Agreements

Legal documents such as pre and post-nuptial agreements detail how everything will be distributed to each party after a divorce. The prenuptial agreement is created before marriage, and all property and assets of both parties are outlined as and how they will be divided after the couple’s divorce. Certain things, such as child support and custody, cannot enter a prenuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement is created after the couple is already married.

#3. Spousal and Alimony Support

Family law attorneys must negotiate common issues such as spousal and alimony support. Depending on the state you live in, a judge may make the final decision, or some states have laws regulating the amount of spousal support awarded depending on various factors.

Family law attorneys can provide the court with all the needed information to help achieve the best possible outcome for their client. State guidelines for awarding spousal support may vary; however, the judge still requires accurate information, including such things as:

  • Income
  • Level of accumulated joint debt
  • Ability to work and earning potential
  • Sometimes, even the conduct of each spouse will be considered

Your family law attorney will help gather and request all necessary documents to help you navigate this complex process.

# 4. Child Custody

Child custody is usually an emotionally charged issue for all parties involved in the matter of custody and is determined by many factors, including the following:

  • The parent and child bond for both parents
  • Criminal activity of one or both parents
  • Drug or substance abuse of one or both parents
  • The stability of each home
  • Domestic violence, including emotional, physical and mental, and financial abuse

Sometimes a child custody agreement can be created before going to court, and the judge will usually support it unless the child’s best interest is not being served. However, if no agreement is reached, it is up to the family law attorneys to gather evidence and present it to the judge to ensure that the child’s best interest is cared for when deciding child custody.

#5. Child Support

The majority of states have specific formulas used for determining child support. One of the crucial jobs of a family law attorney is ensuring that the court has all the necessary information to calculate the correct amount. Child support is to help ensure that the children have the financial resources they need and would enjoy it if both parents were living together. Information that needs to be gathered includes the following:

  • Accurate and transparent reporting of income
  • Healthcare expenses for the children
  • School and education expenses for the children
  • Allowable deductions

Your family law attorney can also gather evidence and report it if the other party hides resources or is intentionally underemployed or unemployed.

#6. Adoption

Family law attorneys are helpful during adoptions in California as they can ensure the paperwork is filled out and filed correctly. Adoptions often come with a lot of legal red tape, and a family law attorney can help your adoption be processed as quickly as possible.

#7. Paternity

If paternity is questioned or undetermined, a family law attorney can help protect your rights and family. This includes establishing paternity to receive child support or to obtain parental rights.

#8. Domestic Violence/Abuse or Child Neglect

If you or your child experiences neglect or abuse, hiring a family law attorney to help you is essential. The attorney may represent the child or you if you’re being abused physically, mentally, emotionally, or experiencing financial abuse. They may also be in the position of defending the parent who is being accused. Hiring an experienced family law attorney is essential to protect you and your family.

Azemika & Azemika Law Is Here To Help You

At Azemika & Azemika, a family law attorney in Bakersfield, California, we handle divorce cases, dissolutions of domestic partnerships, child custody and support, paternity, alimony and spousal support, adoption, and more.

Our highly skilled attorneys are here to help you navigate this challenging time and complex legal system. Contact us today for a free consultation.

How To Know If You Need A Family Law Attorney

Wooden toy family and judge mallet

If you have a conflict within your family unit, you may wonder if it is time to hire a family law attorney. Family lawyers are responsible for dealing with sensitive issues and relationship conflicts and navigating the complex family court system.

While everyone goes through conflict in their relationships at some point in their life, there comes a time when you need a family law attorney. However, it can be challenging to know when it is time. 

We are here to help you! This article will go over some of the signs that are good indicators for when it is time to hire a family law attorney and give tips for choosing the best one for you.

Why Hire A Family Law Attorney

Family law covers various issues such as divorce, child support, custody, adoption, and paternity. Laws vary depending on the state, so hiring a family law attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

Here are some reasons for hiring an attorney to help resolve your family conflicts and concerns.

1. You Are Considering or Ready To File For Divorce

Filing for divorce is rarely an easy decision. It most often results from extensive and deep unresolvable conflicts in a marriage. If you ever find yourself in this position, one of the best things you can do is hire a divorce lawyer to ensure you avoid some common mistakes.

An experienced divorce lawyer will be able to walk you through the proceedings and help you navigate this challenging time. They will be sure that you file the paperwork correctly and assist you in negotiating your divorce. Hiring an experienced divorce attorney will help you feel relaxed and confident in alleviating some of the stress of filing for divorce.

2. Child Custody Arrangements and Questions

Determining child custody is usually an emotionally charged issue. Most parents want to have as much time with their children as possible, and choosing how to split that time between households can be challenging and hard on everyone involved.

My family law attorney has the expertise and experience to ensure that your rights and family are protected and that you can maintain a close relationship with your children. They will assist you in developing a sustainable child custody and visitation arrangement and plead your case to help you reach the desired outcome.

3. Child Support

Most people’s financial situations are significantly impacted during a divorce. It may be concerning how you will cover expenses and care for your children after your divorce, and that is why determining child support payments is crucial.

One of the great things about working with a family law attorney is that they deeply understand your state’s guidelines and the process the judge will use to decide how much a parent is responsible for financially. Hiring an attorney will ensure that you have someone who understands your situation to help you come up with the best solution and ensure that you have the financial support you need. An expert lawyer is priceless when implementing a fair child support agreement plan.

4. Arranging Alimony Payments

Depending upon your situation, you or your spouse may be required to make alimony payments to support the changing financial position due to the divorce. 

Usually, alimony or spousal support comes from one spouse who can prove they were financially dependent upon their spouse during the marriage. An example of this would be if one parent stayed home with the children and their spouse worked, then they would qualify for alimony payments. A judge decides on alimony payments, and an experienced family lawyer can look at your case and determine if you have a good chance of being approved. While it may seem like a hassle, going through these proceedings is worth the time and effort.

5. Domestic Dispute Cases

The other reason why hiring a family law attorney Is to help you solve a family dispute, such as custody agreements, property settlements, and family-related matters. A family lawyer can also mediate to help resolve legal arguments and conflicts between family members.

6. Parent Relocation

Life sometimes brings unexpected or desired changes after divorce. However, one parent can’t move away with the child without the other parent’s consent. There are many factors to be considered, including things like if one parent is pushing for better employment, to be closer to family, arranging new visitation agreements, any possible negative impacts on the child/parent relationships, new marriages, and more.

A family law attorney understands the complex issue of parent relocation and will be able to present your case to the judge and protect your rights and your family.

7. Adoption

Navigating the adoption of a child can be a complex legal process that may take several months to complete. Often adoptions will fall through due to legal issues. 

Adopting a child involves a lot of paperwork and submitting the documents to relevant agencies. You must prove that you are physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially capable of taking care of an adopted child to the state or child welfare services. You may also be required to participate in court hearings. Hiring a family attorney will ensure that all the paperwork is done accurately and that your case is presented favorably to the court.

Hire Azemika & Azemika Law, Experts In Family Law 

At Azemika & Azemika Law, we specialize in family law. Our highly skilled attorneys have extensive experience navigating California divorce laws, child custody, support and visitations, adoption, paternity, and more. We are here to help and support you and protect your family, rights, and assets. Contact us today for a consultation!

What is a Termination of Parental Rights?

parental rights

Terminating the rights of a parent is one of the most serious decisions that can be made in family court. When a parent’s rights are terminated under California law, the parent is no longer the child’s legal parent. When those rights are terminated, all of the parent’s rights and obligations end.

Parental rights can only be terminated by court order. This article will discuss how rights can be terminated, what happens after a parent’s rights are terminated, and how parental rights can be reinstated.

How Parental Rights Can Be Terminated

There are a couple of different ways California courts can terminate parental rights.

Voluntary Termination

While it may sound like it would be simple to sign away your rights, the courts in California will weigh the parent’s wish to terminate their rights with the child’s right to have two parents. This means a parent must have a valid reason to terminate their parental rights voluntarily.

In the case of adoption, the courts are willing to grant a voluntary termination of rights. Stepparent adoption is an example where the court may grant the termination request. That would mean that the custody of the child will then be given to the other parent. However, it could also be granted to a stepparent.

Federal law is more lenient than California law regarding the protection of children in these cases. The state has laws that outline reasons why a parent’s rights may be terminated. In any case, California family law courts make the best interest of the child the highest priority.

Involuntary Termination

As stated, the child’s best interest is the main priority in parental rights cases. Some cases require the court to involuntarily terminate a parent’s rights to ensure the child’s safety.

This is, however, only done in severe cases. Here are some of the most common reasons a parent could involuntarily lose their rights.

  • A substance or alcohol addiction that prohibits them from being a fit parent
  • Severe child abuse or neglect
  • Abandonment
  • Sexual abuse against the child
  • Failing to uphold parenting or financial obligations for a prolonged time
  • Mental impairments that prohibit them from being a fit parent
  • Being convicted of felonies
  • Committing a violent crime or domestic violence against a member of their family
  • Receiving a long prison sentence, especially if the child would be left in the foster care system

Keep in mind that this list doesn’t include all the factors that could cause a parent’s rights to be terminated. Typically, the courts won’t terminate the rights if the petitioner can’t prove that it is in the best interest of the child’s health, welfare, and safety.

What Happens After the Termination

After a parent’s rights are terminated, the parent-child relationship is legally ended. That means the parent has no rights to custody or visitation, they are no longer responsible for the child’s actions, and they generally will no longer have to pay child support. The child will also lose the right to that parent’s social security, medical benefits, and inheritance.

If the rights of only one parent are terminated, all rights and responsibilities are passed to the other parent. If one relinquishes their parental rights for the sake of adoption, the adoption can then proceed.

When the courts terminate the rights of both parents, CPS (Child Protective Services) will find a new home for the child. Their priority is to place the child with their biological family, such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle.

Restoring Parental Rights

In California, if parental rights have been terminated, parental rights can be reinstated. However, it can be challenging, and the child must petition the court to restore the parent’s rights. The parent cannot. The child must file the petition within three years of the termination, and the child cannot have been adopted during that time.

If the child is over twelve years old, they can attend the hearing to speak to the court about the original termination or the reinstatement. If the issues that caused the termination have been rectified, and the court decides it’s in the child’s best interest, they may approve the reinstatement.

Get Representation You Can Count on With Azemika & Azemika

Whether defending your rights or petitioning for termination, having an experienced legal team by your side is essential. Your legal team can focus on the best interest of your child while preparing a solid case on your behalf.

The partners at Azemika & Azemika have a combined total of over 56 years of experience handling family law cases. Our years of experience allow us to provide knowledgeable and aggressive representation to clients in Kern County in the case of divorce, child custody, visitation, spousal and child support, paternity, adoption, and abandonment.
Contact us today to work with our award-winning team.

How To Prepare For Your Child Custody Hearing

child custody hearing

Getting divorced is a stressful situation to begin with and when you have children it can be that much more scary, upsetting, and worrisome. When you and your former spouse are unable to come to your own agreement, you both will need to attend a child custody hearing to have a judge decide what is in the best interest of your child.

Despite the emotions you may have at the moment, it can be extremely helpful to plan ahead and be prepared for your hearing to present a convincing case and increase your chances of having a custody arrangement that falls within your goals.

Below we can take a look at ways to build a persuasive child custody case.

Familiarize Yourself with the Law

Learning how the hearing process works can make you feel more confident before attending court. There are laws that come with custody and parental responsibilities, and unless the court says otherwise, you will share the parental responsibility with the other parent.

Your family law attorney can describe what usually happens in these hearings, and give you an idea of what to expect the day of. There are different types of child custody, and exploring your options of legal custody and visitations can be beneficial for both you and your child.

Providing Documentation

Your lawyer will tell you exactly what type of documentation you might need for your hearing. Common documents that can be helpful for your case are:

  • Call logs and text messages confirming that you and your child are in constant contact and able to get a hold of one another
  • Photographs of you and your children together
  • A visitation log that plans out when you will see your children, how much time you spend with them, how often you will speak to your children during visitations. A log can also help keep track of either parent’s cancellations, or when they have missed time with their children. 
  • Medical records for your children, especially if they have any diagnosed health conditions that proves they need access to regular treatment
  • Proof of regular child support payments
  • School documents like attendance, additional tutoring, and grade reports
  • Any supporting evidence you are comfortable with the other parent’s possession and time with your children

The goal with providing proper documentation is to ensure that you are always putting the best interest of your children first. Judges will look for clear proof that you will support, provide, love, and protect your children. It is also important to demonstrate that you and your former spouse will be supportive of your children having a healthy relationship with the other.

Courtroom Etiquette and Appearance

Even if you are in a heightened emotional state, it is important to have proper courtroom etiquette. Having emotional outbursts, making accusatory statements, or raising your voice can be counted against you and potentially hurt your case. Remember that this is about your child, and you want to stay focused on your goals.

It’s understandable to have things get under your skin, and running through some roleplay scenarios with your lawyer can help you stay cool and collected in the courtroom the day of your hearing.

While it is unfair that judgments can be made on appearances alone, it is important to dress appropriately to make the best first impression to the court. This does not mean having to wear the most expensive attire, but it simply should present you as a responsible adult and not call unwanted attention to yourself.

Manage Your Expectations

Your attorney will be able to educate you on the potential risks and rewards of going to court, and they will be advocating for you and help you make the most out of your time during your hearing. Typically, child custody hearings are less combative than other court cases, and are not heard before a jury. Your case will be presented in front of a judge, and they will be able to make an immediate decision. You do have the right to appeal the order if you disagree with the custody arrangement.

Seeking Help for Your Child Custody Case

It can feel overwhelming to go through this process when you care about your children and just want the best for them in the future. At Azemika Law, we’re here for you during this emotional time with our practice that has been devoted to family law for 28 years.

We handle all types of cases involving divorce, dissolutions of partnerships, child custody, abandonment, and adoptions. Serving all of Kern County, we want you to have the best opportunity to achieve your goals and build a happy future with your family.
For representation, support, and guidance during your child custody hearing, contact us today to speak with one of our family law attorneys in Bakersfield.

What Should Be Included In A Parenting Plan?

We always want the best for our children, and when going through a divorce it can be a significant task to plan what co-parenting will look like between you and your ex-spouse. A parenting plan can make raising your children in separate homes a little bit easier, and acts as a great point of reference for the future when difficult parenting situations arise.

When writing out your parenting plan, there are many topics to consider. While it can be difficult to plan for unforeseen circumstances in the future, remember that writing this plan is centered around your children’s well-being and quality of life. 

What is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a document that outlines the parenting schedule agreed by both parents. This plan will include things like where the children will live during the week and weekends, who is responsible for picking up and dropping off at school, and other activities throughout the week. A parenting plan can also include things like summer vacation plans, holidays, and other special days worth being mentioned.

Each parenting plan is personalized and tailored to each parent’s concerns, values, and priorities. Many states require parenting plans as it can help reduce disagreements, take stress off both parents and their children, and help the divorce proceed easier.

Parenting Plan Checklist

Parenting Schedule

A parenting schedule determines how time will be divided for each home. This includes time taken to travel to one another’s house, who will be driving your children in this exchange, or if you plan to meet or drop off your children at a predetermined, safe location.

Holidays and Other Special Dates

Holidays, school breaks, vacations, and other special occasions with your family will need to be included in the plan. It can be beneficial to set a pattern in scheduling to help in future years.

Travel and Vacations

Having your children travel with your ex spouse can cause some anxiety to some, so communicating how far in advance trips need to be planned and how expenses will be paid for can make things easier for both parents.

Schedule Changes

Consider how much time ahead is required to propose any changes in your parenting schedule. Include how you each will communicate about changes, and how sudden changes will be determined in case of emergencies.

Important Upbringing Decisions

How you will make decisions about your child’s health care, discipline, religion, family time, and schooling should be discussed within this plan. When co-parenting, the court may already have decided most of this for you, but having these expectations communicated clearly in a parenting plan is necessary to refer back to.


School tuition, medical expenses, hobbies, food, clothing, and much more that goes into the price of raising a child should be discussed ahead of time between both parents. While most of this will be determined in court ruling, it is still important to keep these details in your plan.


When you or your co-parent is not present with your children, make sure to include how you will communicate with your kids in your parenting plan. Phone calls, online messaging, text messages, or video chatting are all different ways of staying in touch with your child while they’re away. This is important to plan especially if one parent may not be able to be with their child as much as the other.

Determining how you and your co-parent will communicate in the future is also important, defining the types of information you will need to discuss and how often communication is necessary.

Legal Aspects 

Physical custody refers to the right and responsibility to supervise their child. Sole physical custody means that their children will reside with one parent, and the other non-custodial parent may have visitation rights if the court believes that visitation is required for the child’s well-being. Parents that have joint physical custody is where the child lives with each parent for specific periods of time.

Child Custody and Visitation Guidance with Azemika Law 

If timing cannot be agreed upon and both parents are unable to come to an arrangement, you will need to go to court and a judge will make custody decisions based on the best interest of your children. A neutral third-party mediator can help parents resolve their issues, and be able to offer advice with experience from other cases they have seen successful.

At Azemika Law, we’re here for you with our practice devoted to family law for 28 years. We efficiently handle cases involving divorce, dissolutions of partnerships, child custody and visitations, abandonment, and adoptions. Serving all of Kern County, we want you to have the opportunity to make informed decisions from the best position possible for your future. 

Contact us today to find a family law attorney that can help you create effective plans and build a happy future for you and your children.

Getting Married? Here’s How To Protect Your Assets Without A Prenup

Getting Married? Here’s How To Protect Your Assets Without A Prenup

While discussing what might happen after your relationship potentially comes to a halt might not be the most romantic topic, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be talked about. Preparing for a wedding can be exciting, and planning ahead for your futures together is an equally important step prior to your big day. Prenuptial agreements are great for those seeking to protect their assets in case of a divorce, but there are still ways to protect those assets without one.

Preparing Your Futures Together

Prior to starting a new life together, it’s important to take a look at what you and your partner are bringing to the marriage financially, including both the individual’s assets and debts. If your partner has debt, when you combine your assets together, your assets are now accessible by your partner’s creditors. Going through all this might feel very personal, but having this conversation will only benefit the both of you later down the road in handling and maintaining your assets, in a successful marriage or not. 

Separating Finances

If you had an account or funds prior to your marriage, and want to keep that account as separate property, it’s vital to keep those funds separate from your partner’s. If you co-mingle these funds, they become marital property which is susceptible to being divided by the courts or by creditors. By opening a new joint account together and depositing shared funds in it, you’re able to use this account for any finances as you continue forward in your marriage, without risking any of the funds in your pre-existing personal account(s).

Consider a Post-Nuptial Agreement

Maybe you and your partner are already married and you’re interested in protecting your assets moving forward. Considering this agreement doesn’t automatically mean someone is looking for divorce, there are plenty of reasons one can wish to define their assets clearly. Parents of children from previous relationships or marriages might want to make sure that their children’s inheritances are protected in case of divorce. Legal troubles, inheritances, lottery winnings, significant increase in salary, and other life occurrences can also lead to protecting certain assets against uncertainty in the future.

Keeping Real Estate Separate

Regardless if you and your partner are both sharing a new home together, if the home is in your name, you should take care of payments using that account that is solely yours. When filing taxes later, your accountant will prepare them separately using your name and the funds from your separate account. While basic maintenance for your place can use funds from the joint account you share with your spouse, any renovations that increase the value of your property should come from your account to show that the increased value is for your individual property, not property shared with your partner.

Create a Revocable Trust 

By putting funds in a revocable trust, you have an added layer of protection, and will be able to manage said funds in the duration of your marriage. This kind of trust involves a trustee, a third party that is responsible for managing these funds. Putting pre-marital funds into a trust also removes the risk of commingling funds later which can eliminate claims protecting your personal assets.

Document Everything

The most effective way to protect your assets without a prenup is documenting everything clearly. Organizing and keeping important records from the very beginning of your marriage can be helpful later when you observe things like retirement funds or other bank accounts collected prior to your commitment. If either you or your spouse are business owners, it is important to get a valuation of your business before your marriage. Keeping record of your business’ value before appreciation can be beneficial in the event of divorce, keeping you protected from having any of the current value of your business be threatened. The more records you have of which property is non-marital property, and the purchases and bills surrounding that property, the better your case later in keeping that asset separate.

Consider Professional Advice

Having these conversations can be a challenge, and having a trusted attorney as a third party to offer insight with your assets and accounts can avoid tension, and keep your future planning professional rather than personal. 

At Azemika Law, our practice is devoted to the field of family law. We efficiently handle cases involving divorce, dissolutions of partnerships, child custody, abandonment, and adoptions. Serving Kern County for the past 28 years, we provide all of our clients with knowledgeable and affordable representation. 

We understand that while marriage is an exciting new chapter in your life, making decisions for the future can be a lot to unpack. 

Contact us today to help protect your individual assets and create a clear plan for you and your marriage.

Can Children Choose Which Parent to Live With in California?

There’s no denying that divorce is hard on every family member, but it can be especially difficult for any children involved. Child custody and visitation agreements can feel stressed or awkward, especially when the child doesn’t feel like they have a say in these new arrangements.

In California, family courts consider many factors when deciding which parent may be awarded primary custody. One of the factors that judges consider is the child’s preference, but it’s not the only or even the most important factor.

Whether you’re going through a divorce in California or trying to figure out the best custody arrangements, you need to understand just how much bearing your children’s preferences will have over the matter. Today, we will cover a breakdown of how children’s opinions of which parent they want to live with may shape the outcome of your child custody agreement.

Does a Child’s Parental Choice Affect Custody?

The answer to whether or not a child’s parental choice affects the custody agreement is, it depends. The family court judge will listen to the child’s opinion given that they are of sufficient age to express an intelligent opinion on custody or visitation, but ultimately, the court’s decision will be based on the child’s best interests.

Whenever possible, courts opt for shared custody, which has shown to be the least stressful for children. However, shared custody is often not a viable option, and a choice has to be made.

Children may have firm opinions about living with one parent or another, but if there’s any doubt that the preferred parent will be the best choice, the child’s opinion may hold little weight in the final decision. Every situation is unique, and ultimately the courts will strive to place the child with the most suitable parent to meet the child’s needs.

When Does a Child’s Preference Matter?

Just because a child prefers to live with one parent over another, it doesn’t mean that the judge will award custody to that parent. For a child’s preference to matter, the child must be of sufficient age and ability to express an intelligent opinion about which parent they would prefer to live with.

In California, the law allows children age 14 and up to express their parental preference to aid in determining custody. However, no matter the child’s age, a judge will consider their preference in evaluating the overall suitability of the custody arrangement.

Keeping the Child’s Best Interest in Mind

Just because a 14-year-old may have a preference for one parent over another, it doesn’t mean the judge will automatically grant that parent custody. Children and teens can be emotional and rebellious, so family courts consider many factors when assigning custody.

If a child states a preference to live with a parent who is ‘less strict,’ it won’t automatically mean the child’s preferred parent will be given custody. If there appears to be parental pressure, or if the child’s preference is intended to alienate one parent, a judge may not consider the child’s preference in the ultimate custody decision.

Sometimes, a child may prefer a parent who cannot take care of the child or who might be abusive and threatening. Children may feel a sense of duty to one parent over another, despite their preferred parent being incapable of caring for the child.

All of these situations are difficult, which is why multiple factors are considered before custody arrangements are made.

Do Children Have To Testify Their Preference?

While the courts may allow a child to testify their preference before their parents, it’s not necessary. If the child is very young, or if a great deal of emotional pressure is put on the child, they may express their opinion to their family lawyer or even speak with the judge’s chambers, away from the parents.

Every situation is unique, and the judge will try to find the best way to ascertain the child’s preference without putting undue stress on the child. This may even happen during family mediation or in another setting outside the courts, such as a child interview center.

What if You Disagree With Your Child’s Preference?

Most parents want what’s best for their children, but it can be devastating for a parent to hear that their child prefers to live with the other parent. Ultimately, custody is granted based on what is best for the child, but this doesn’t make it easy for the parent who won’t be living with their child.

Stability is essential for these custody arrangements, but as children age, circumstances may mean that these arrangements need to be altered. Custody agreements are not set in stone, and they may be changed if the courts decide that situational changes warrant adjusting the custody arrangement.

Let Azemika Law Help You With Your Custody Determination

When facing a custody battle, you need the best representation possible — a lawyer that knows the judge and court as well as one who can help you fight for your rights as a parent who wants what is best for their child. 

Azemika & Azemika Law in Bakersfield has helped families navigate divorce and child custody cases for more than 30 years, providing strong trust behind their legal guidance. 

For a family-oriented firm at an affordable cost, contact Azemika & Azemika Law today. 

What Is a Postnuptial Agreement and Why Should You Consider One?

While the idea of a prenuptial agreement may not have even been on your radar as you got engaged and started your life with your spouse, we all know that circumstances in life change through the years.

The family law attorneys at Azemika & Azemika have been providing expert service to Kern County for over 28 years. Our clients have peace of mind knowing that they are receiving knowledgeable representation at an affordable cost.

Today, we will discuss what a postnuptial agreement is and why you may want to consider one.

How Long Have Postnuptial Agreements Been Around?

Before the 1970s, postnuptial agreements were not usually enforceable. When a couple was married, for legal purposes they were considered a single person, and a single person can not enter into an agreement with themselves.  

However, as more couples began pursuing divorces and more states began establishing “no fault” divorces, postnuptial agreements became more extensively enforced.

Why Would Someone Need/Want a Postnuptial Agreement?

In the past, like prenups, postnuptial agreements tended to have a stigma attached to them. They have often been viewed as “encouraging” divorce. However, just because a couple is entering into a postnuptial agreement doesn’t automatically mean they are thinking about divorce.

Here are some reasons that a couple may enter into a postnuptial agreement:

  • To clarify what each party’s intentions are for the property they brought into the marriage.
  • If a spouse has children from a previous marriage/relationship and they want to make sure that particular assets get passed on to those children.
  • One spouse has been irresponsible financially or has gotten into legal trouble during the marriage.
  • If one spouse receives an inheritance, wins the lottery, or encounters another type of financial windfall.
  • If one spouse leaves their job to stay at home to care for their children, a postnuptial agreement can ensure that they will have the resources they need financially if the marriage were to end in divorce.

What Provisions Are Included in a Postnuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements typically include the same types of provisions.   The primary difference is that a prenuptial agreement is entered into before a couple is married, and a postnuptial agreement is entered into after the couple is already legally married.

Typical items included in a postnuptial agreement are:

  • Protection from debts that your spouse has incurred
  • How mutual debt and assets will be divided
  • Provisions for children from prior marriages or relationships
  • Whether one spouse will pay spousal support and for how long the payments will continue
  • The ownership of businesses, property, family heirlooms, or inheritances
  • How assets will be handled in the event of the death of one of the spouses during the marriage

Postnuptial agreements can also include custody and child support if the marriage ends.  Sometimes, however, if the courts determine that the postnuptial agreement tries to restrict or limit child support or parenting time with children, they may not enforce that part of the agreement.

What Are the Different Types of Postnuptial Agreements?

There are three different types of postnuptial agreements in the United States.

Dividing assets and providing for spousal support – This is the most common type of postnuptial agreement.  It lays out how assets and debts will be split in the case of a divorce.  Spousal support is also addressed, as well as if one spouse waives spousal support in place of certain marital property.  This type of agreement includes property brought into the marriage by each spouse and any property acquired throughout the marriage.

A way for each spouse to waive spousal rights in the event of the death of their spouse – This type of agreement will supersede a will or state laws that give spouses certain property rights.  When signing this type of agreement, each spouse waives their rights to inherit property or other assets of the deceased spouse.

Provide a layout that can later be used as a separation agreement – This agreement spells out how custody, child support, and spousal support are to be handled and how the couple’s assets and debts will be divided.  This type of postnuptial agreement can be integrated into the divorce decree, limiting the time and cost of a divorce.

Let the Professionals Help You With Your Postnuptial Agreement!

Although no one wants to think of their marriage ending in divorce, a postnuptial agreement can help you avoid the burden and extra stress of hashing out the details in a very emotional and trying time in your life.

At Azemika & Azemika, we focus solely on family law so you can know, without a doubt, that your family law issues are in good hands.  Our clients can expect superior service from attorneys and staff that care about their needs.

Contact us now to schedule your consultation and see how Azemika & Azemika can help you!