Practice Areas

We understand the emotional impact family law disputes can have on people and their families. Thus, we make sure to provide the guidance, support, and personal attention necessary to get you through this difficult time.

Our firm provides personal, caring, and knowledgeable representation in the following areas:



Divorce (Dissolution of Marriage)

Getting a divorce (referred to as Dissolution of Marriage) is never easy and the decision to do so should not be taken lightly.   If you are considering getting a divorce, we encourage you to take some time to think this through.  Perhaps, you and your spouse may still be able to benefit from marital counseling, or even individual counseling.  Regardless, you should take a deep breath and weigh out the pros and cons.

The process of divorce involves the determination of some very significant issues in your life.  This includes child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, and the division of assets and debts.  

California is a no-fault state, meaning that the existence of irreconcilable differences (where you have been unable to resolve your differences) is all that is required to file for divorce.  However, in order to file for divorce, at least one spouse needs to have been a resident of California for six months and of the county where the divorce is being filed for three months preceding the filing.

If you decide that divorce is the best path for you or if you would like to learn more about your legal rights and the divorce process, feel free to contact our firm to arrange a personal consultation.




Property Division

California is a community property state.  This means that any real or personal property acquired during marriage is community property.  Unless there is a written agreement to the contrary, the court will divide all community property equally.  Separate property, generally, is any property acquired by a party before the marriage, gifted or inherited, or acquired after separation, as long as that property was not mixed in (commingled) with community property.

Often the process of dividing assets and debts is simple, but many times the process can be much more complex.  There may be certain assets involved that make division more complicated, such as retirement plan benefits, personal investments, and business interests.  Also, there may be assets that require “tracing” or a determination of the source of the funds used to acquire the assets.

Our firm is experienced with dealing with these types of property division issues and will address them with the utmost care.



Child Custody and Visitation

Legal Custody involves the power to make decisions regarding a child’s health, safety, education, and welfare. One parent may make these decisions alone, which is referred to as sole legal custody, or both parents may retain the right to share in this decision-making, which is referred to as joint legal custody. Of course, with joint legal custody, both parents should cooperate and agree on the decision-making.

Physical Custody involves the determination of where the child will reside. Sole physical custody means that the child will live with one parent, and will likely visit the other parent. Joint physical custody means that the child will reside with both parents, splitting time residing at both parents’ homes. If, in the case of joint physical custody, the child lives more than half the time with one parent, then that parent is said to have primary physical custody. The parent who does not have sole or primary physical custody is said to have rights of visitation with the child.

In determining custody orders, California courts begin with the presumption that it is best for a child to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after a divorce and the details of any custody schedule, whether through agreement by the parties or by court order, will be determined with a consideration of the best interests of the child.

Child custody is often the most difficult aspect of getting a divorce and is by far the most emotionally-charged one. Our firm understands this and we are dedicated to helping you and your family get through this highly-sensitive matter.





Child Support

In California, both parents have an equal responsibility to support their child in the manner suitable to the child’s circumstances. The duty to support continues until graduation from high school or age 19, whichever occurs first. The amount of child support is determined by a state-wide formula (referred to as “guideline”) which considers, among other things, each parent’s earnings and other income received, how many children the parents have together, the amount of time each parent spends with the child, tax filing status and certain deductions like health insurance expenses and mandatory retirement contributions. There are several other factors that can greatly influence the guideline amounts of child support and in some circumstances the courts may even “impute” income to a parent who has the capacity to earn more than he or she is actually making. A child support order may also require the parents to share costs for things such as child care and the child’s uncovered health care expenses.

A link to the California Guideline Child Support Calculator on the California Courts website can be found in our Client Resources page. You may use this calculator to estimate the amount of child support that may be ordered in your case. However, determining child support can often become more challenging in certain circumstances such as when a party is self-employed or unemployed, when there is a dispute about the custody time-share, when a party is being dishonest or hiding income, or when a party is refusing to work in effort to avoid paying support.

If you need assistance with establishing or modifying your child support order, please contact our firm and we could discuss your options.



Spousal Support

When a couple legally separates or divorces, the court may order one spouse to pay the other a certain amount of spousal support (also known as alimony) each month. Spousal support is divided into temporary and permanent support.

Temporary support is that amount of support money ordered to be paid during the course of the divorce proceedings and before the divorce is finalized. It is calculated using the same guideline formula used for calculating child support.

Permanent spousal support is that amount of support money ordered to be paid after the divorce becomes final. Permanent spousal support is governed by a set of different rules. The length of marriage is one of the major factors in determining the length of time one party is to pay spousal support to the other party. Many other factors are also considered in determining the amount of spousal support to be paid, including the marital standard of living, each party’s earning capacity, and the age and health of each party, among others.

Understanding the intricacies of how spousal support is determined and the effects a support order can have on your financial circumstances is vital to making informed decisions and requests in your situation. We can provide insight in this area and help you reach the best financial solution possible.





Under California law, when parties have a child together but have never been married, they have a paternity action (referred to as a parentage case). In a paternity action, the court makes orders that say who the child’s legal parents are. Once a person is established as the father or mother of a child, he or she will have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent. Paternity cases are unique from divorces in that the issues are limited to child custody, visitation, and child support.

For the sake of your child or children, we believe it is extremely important to try to reach a speedy resolution to the issues involving them and to minimize their exposure to any parental conflict. Our firm can help guide you through this process as quickly as possible, yet we understand that because the child is the focus of the paternity action a great deal of sensitivity and compassion is also necessary.





Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

Family Code section 6203 defines abuse as (a) intentionally or recklessly to cause or attempt to cause bodily injury; (b) sexual assault; or (c) to place a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another. Abuse can be verbal, written or physical and occurs whenever a person hits, kicks, hurts, pushes, follows, scares, throws things, harasses, sexually assaults, or threatens to do any of these things.

A family law restraining order under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act is intended to prevent the recurrence of acts of domestic violence and to provide for a separation between the parties involved for a period of time sufficient to enable them to seek a resolution of the causes of domestic violence.

A family law restraining order can order the restrained person to: 1) not go near you, your children, other relatives, or others who live with you; 2) not have a gun; 3) move out of your house; 4) provide orders for child custody, visitation, child support and spousal support; 5) allow you to record unlawful communications; 6) make the restrained person pay your attorney’s fees; 7) make the restrained person reimburse you for any medical bills; 8) make the restrained person attend a Batterer Intervention Program.

Domestic violence is an increasingly common and unfortunate reality in our society, with devastating results to all those involved. Not only does domestic violence impact you, your family, your work and home lives, but it has a crucial impact on child custody, spousal support, and other such issues in your family law case.

All those involved in domestic violence matters need to take steps to ensure that their rights are fully protected and that any children involved are shielded as much as possible for the situation. We can help by providing competent and aggressive representation in these extremely sensitive circumstances.



Tel/Fax: (626)298-8200
1499 Huntington Drive Suite 500, South Pasadena, CA 91030
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© 2014 ELAINE K. SALON Attorney at Law. All Rights Reserved.
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