What You Need to Know About Family Law

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

family law attorneys in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce isn’t the only part of family law. It includes laws of custody, domestic partnerships, stepparent adoptions and many other things one ought to know about. Here we’ll take a look at some of the matters that are included in family law.

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements

Sometimes when a couple decides to get married, they sign a contract stating the terms of what should happen if the marriage ends in a divorce. This is usually done to protect certain assets of the parties. These agreements are used when either party brings a large amount of wealth into the marriage and wants to ensure its security. Usually, people getting married for the second time make use of this contract in case things end up badly again.

A postnuptial agreement or a post-nup on the other hand, is signed after the couple has gotten married. It is similar to a pre-nup because it too helps in protecting both parties’ wealth and assets. Couples who have been separated for a while but get back together usually opt to sign a post-nup to ensure security.

Stepparent Adoption

The parental rights of one of a child’s birth parents are terminated by consent or court ruling, paving the way for a stepparent adoption to become a legal parent of that child. A stepparent adoption decree is then issued to the adoptees by the court, finalizing their legal right to parent the child.

The ending of parental rights can either be voluntary or involuntary.  If the parent agrees to his child being adopted, he waives his parental rights concerning that child but also is no longer responsible for supporting that child in the future.

Gestational carrier (surrogacy) contracts

Gestational surrogacy is an agreement in which a woman carries a baby for someone else who becomes the baby’s parent after his birth. The arrangement is made between the intended parents and the carrier and her partner. The contract carries details of the intended parents’ rights and about all custody matters. The contract also includes matters of financial compensation for the carrier and about the medical bills during this period, and their payment.  This area of family law is controversial and the number of family law attorneys versed in this area is very limited, so finding one to assist you requires substantial research and vetting to locate someone qualified to handle such proceedings.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”