Family Law Services

Times arise in life when you need supportive legal guidance.  The Carlisle Law Firm welcomes the opportunity to assist you with your family law matters. Our office strives to provide thorough, competent service while being sensitive to the stress your situation may be causing you. 

Whether you need assistance with a divorce, legal separation, child custody/visitation, child support, spousal support, domestic partnership dissolution, domestic violence issues, we can develop a specialized plan of representation for you.  Our practice also offers mediation services and collaborative practice as alternatives to the traditional adversarial process for resolution of dissolution, legal separation, child custody/visitation, and support issues.


In California a dissolution is a divorce.  California is a "no fault" divorce state, meaning there does not have to be a finding of fault (ie. infidelity) by either party to obtain a dissolution of marriage.  There is a 6 month "cooling off" period in California before a Judgment of dissolution can be entered.  The 6 month waiting period does not begin running until the other party is personally served or accepts service of the Petition for Dissolution.  Many clients believe that once the 6 month period passes that a divorce will be automatically entered, this is not true, getting a Judgment of dissolution in California requires numerous steps.  Obtaining a Judgment of dissolution in California can be very difficult, however, the attorneys of the Carlisle Law Firm will handle all necessary documentary requirements as well as negotiations to achieve a final Judgment. 

Legal Separation

Many people believe it is necessary to file a request for a legal separation in order to be considered legally separated, this is not true.  Filing for a dissolution along with other acts such as moving out of the family home creates a legal separation.  In determining whether a couple has separated pursuant to current case law, the parties must demonstrate a mental intention of separating ie. "I want a divorce" combined with a physical act such as moving out and filing for dissolution or legal separation.  

If you are not sure you want to be divorced or you have significant health problems, filing a legal separation may be a better alternative to filing for a dissolution.  Call the Carlisle Law Firm today to discuss your options and determine whether legal separation may be a better alternative to filing for dissolution.   

Modification of Custody and Visitation

Children grow and change, as do parents' circumstances.  If you would like to modify your current custody and/or visitation orders, the attorneys of the Carlisle Law Firm can assist in evaluating whether or not it would be appropriate and beneficial to modify your custody and/or visitation orders.  Upon retaining the Carlisle Law Firm to assist you, our attorneys will prepare all necessary legal documents, prepare you for court ordered mediation and represent you at hearing.  For further information call the Carlisle Law Firm at (916) 782-2737 for a free 30 minute consultation.

Child Support

Pursuant to the California Family Code all parents have a duty to support their children.  If you are looking to establish a child support order of modify your child support obligation, please contact our office for a child support evaluation.  Determining the amount of child support due pursuant to California guidelines should only be handled by a legal professional.  There is software available for calculating child support, however, knowing how to properly use the software and knowledge of the law is essentially in properly determining child support.  There is no substitute for legal assistance in properly determining child support.

It is also important to note that in California a child support order is only modifiable by Court order whether achieved by agreement or court process.  A verbal agreement between two parents to withdraw a request for child support that has already been court ordered will not protect the paying parent from owing child support arrears.  To properly protect yourself as the paying parent, a properly prepared legal document will need to be submitted to Court for processing to enforce the agreement to modify support.  Any agreements made by parents on this issue can be handled out of court and the attorneys of the Carlisle Law Firm can assist you in this process.  Call the Carlisle Law Firm today at (916) 782-2737 to set up your free 30 minute consultation.  

Spousal Support 

California law provides for the support of either spouse under certain conditions upon separation of a marital couple.  Requests for spousal support can be complex and mistakes made early on in a dissolution or legal separation can effect your right to spousal support in the future.  It is important to speak with a legal professional before making decisions related to spousal support.  The Carlisle Law Firm can assist you in the establishment or modification of spousal support orders.  Call the Carlisle Law Firm today at (916) 782-2737 for your free 30 minute consultation.   

Step Parent Adoptions

California allows step parents to adopt their step children under certain circumstances.  If your child's mother or father has been absent from their life for more than one year, without providing for their support, that parent's rights may be terminated to allow the adoption of your child by their step parent.  Making a decision to adopt any child is a big step and should be carefully planned, call the Carlisle Law Firm today at (916) 782-2737 for a free consultation regarding step parent adoption.

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