Family law courts in California are designed to handle disputes related to family matters such as divorce, child custody, child support, and other issues related to the family relationship. In other words, these courts settle legal problems occurring in families when couples are unable to reach mutual agreement on their own.
It should be noted that family courts abide by civil laws, rather than criminal laws. The courts hear cases and makes decisions based on the California Family Code.
If you are dealing with a family issue concerning a divorce, child custody or spousal support, the family courts will provide some assistance. However, family law issues can quickly be complex and difficult to navigate.
In most cases, it would be in your best interest to consult with an experienced family law lawyer to review the details of your case and legal options.
To provide readers with a better understanding about family law courts in California, our Los Angeles divorce lawyers are providing a review below.
What Type of Cases Are Processed in a Family Court?
The primary function of a family law court in California is to resolve cases involving family issues fairly. The system is supposed to treat all family members equally. The judge will listen to the story of both couples before a make a final decision on the issue at hand.
Family courts encourage cooperation between spouses in order to reach an agreement without the court getting involved in making a decision. The most common cases handled by Los Angeles family law courts include:
- Divorce and dissolution of marriage – the court will make a ruling for divorcing spouses who are unable to reach an agreement on how to end their marriage on their own. This is different from a dissolution of marriage in California because couples are able to make a decision about ending the marriage without the intervention of the court. The most common issues are child custody, child support, and property division.
- Child custody and visitation – there are two types of child custody in California, legal and physical. “Legal custody” means you have the authority to make important decisions affecting your child's life, such as school and church. “Physical custody” is the amount of time spent with the child by each parent and judges will typically making child custody decisions based on the “best interests of the child” standard.
- Child support – typically determined by physical custody and parent's income. If one parent has sole physical custody, then child support is based on a percentage of noncustodial parent's income. Both parents must disclose financial statements so the judge can make appropriate calculations about monthly child support payments. In California, child support will last until the child turns 18 years old.
- Spousal support /alimony – this is the financial obligation owed to one spouse after the marriage ends. Alimony, which is just another term for spousal support, can either be temporary, permanent, or paid in one lump sum. Spousal support is not a guarantee and based on several factors, such as duration of marriage, ability to pay, spouse's earning capacity, contribution to household or career, physical health of spouse receiving support, and other factors.
Other types of cases handled in Los Angeles family law courts include annulment, domestic partnerships, domestic violence, legal separation, paternity, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, property division, and support order modifications.
Where are the Los Angeles Family Law Courts?
There are several family law courts in Los Angeles. You can review a list of courthouses to find out more on each location. Below you will find information about Los Angeles County family law courts:
Central Civil West Courthouse – 600 South Commonwealth Ave Los Angeles, CA 90005 (213) 351-7500
Chatsworth Courthouse – 9425 Penfield Ave Chatsworth, CA 91311 (818) 407-2200
Compton Courthouse – 200 West Compton Blvd. Compton, CA 90220 (310) 761-4300
George Deukmejian Courthouse – 275 Magnolia Long Beach, CA 90802 (562) 256-3100
Antelope Valley Courthouse – 42011 4th Street West Lancaster, CA 93534 (661) 483-5500
Pasadena Courthouse – 300 East Walnut Street Pasadena, CA 91101 (626) 396-3300
Pomona Courthouse South – 400 Civic Center Plaza Pomona, CA 91766 (909) 802-1100
Santa Monica Courthouse – 1725 Main Street Santa Monica, CA 90401 (310) 255-1840
Stanley Mosk Courthouse – 111 North Hill Street Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 830-0800
Torrance Courthouse – 825 Maple Ave. Torrance, CA 90503 (310) 787-3700
Van Nuys Courthouse East – 6230 Sylmar Ave. Van Nuys, CA 91401 (818) 901-4600
Whittier Courthouse – 7339 South Painter Ave. Whittier, CA 90602 (562) 968-2699
There are many self-help resources on Los Angeles County website that can assist you with divorce, summary dissolution, annulment, child custody/visitation, spousal support, and more.
Do I Have to Go to the Family Law Court?
It should be noted that not all family law issues will require you to personally appear in the court. If you can reach a mutual agreement with your spouse, there is a good chance you can avoid having to make an appearance in a Los Angeles family court.
Crucial issues of divorce, legal separation, child custody, child support, and property division will not typically require a trial if the spouses are able to resolve any differences through a dispute resolution process.
In other words, if you are on good terms with your spouse and willing to cooperate with them and other family members, you can normally resolve all the issues without a family law court even getting involved.
In fact, there are some family law courts that will require you at least attempt to resolve the issues on your own before they will even get involved in your case.
The truth is that family courts prefer that you find common ground with your spouse and reach an agreement without their intervention into the matter.
How Can Our Los Angeles Family Law Lawyers Help You?
If you are currently dealing with family law issues regarding a divorce or separation, child custody or support, child visitation, spousal support (alimony), or property division, we can help you.
Family law issues are often difficult to navigate and require a step-by-step process. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to consult with our family law attorneys to review the details of your situation and legal options.
Furman & Zavatsky are Los Angeles divorce and family law attorneys located in the San Fernando Valley area of LA County at 15821 Ventura Blvd #690 Encino, CA 91436. Contact our office for a free case evaluation at (818) 528-3471.