Family Law

Steven R. Pogue
Attorney at Law

"Family Law" is the broad name applied to all the following matters:

  • Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce)
  • Paternity (single parents)
  • Child Custody and Visitation
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support (sometimes called Alimony)
  • Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
  • Adoption*

Whether you are involved in or considering a divorce, or you need to establish or modify orders for custody, visitation or support, or anything related to domestic matters, it is well to know the law and have the assistance of a skilled, experienced professional to guide you.

Many issues of property division are extremely complex. The determination of community versus separate property is the subject of a large body of law. The calculation of those interests in such things as real property, pensions, IRAs and 401k plans, can be challenging and requires a sound understanding of the law and how it applies to the facts of a particular case. That information, and the resulting decisions, can mean the difference between a fair result and financial ruin.

Issues of child custody and visitation are difficult and emotional. By their nature, they require interaction with a person who is no longer an integral part of your life, but who is and will remain a significant part of the lives of your children. Long past are the days when it was automatic that Mother got the children and Dad saw them every other weekend. While that is still fairly common, the law views the parents as having equal right and responsibility to raise children, and there is no automatic preference for either parent. Cases where there has been abuse or extreme conflict are particularly challenging. Situations where there is substantial distance between homes, or where one parent wishes to move away with the children, present difficult problems that require a sound understanding of the law and the policy and preference of the courts. Many things that parents regard as significant are not a major factor in the determination, while things that seem less important may be crucial in the Court's decision. Overarching all of it is the fact that the Court is far more concerned with the welfare of the children than with the preferences (or even the rights) of the parents.

The calculation of child support has changed much in the last 20 years. In California, it is based in a complex mathematical equation that is written into the law, which considers three primary factors. Those are, the income of each parent and the relative percentage of time the child spends with each parent. That sounds simple, but much energy and argument goes into what is considered as "income," how the time-share is calculated and how other expenses should be shared.

The determination of spousal support requires the court to consider a great list of factors set forth in the law. The length of the marriage, the ability to earn, the impact of periods of unemployment spent rearing children and a host of other considerations weigh into what, in the end, becomes a decision guided by what the judge thinks is fair and proper under the unique circumstances of each case. Lengthy trials are held on issues of earning capacity, disability, marital standard of living and the appropriate duration of support. The landscape has changed dramatically as many women now earn more than their husbands and may find themselves required to watch money flow against the traditional direction for alimony.

Domestic Violence cases are tragic. Sometimes one party is the victim of years of unconscionable abuse at the hands of the other. Sometimes both engage in it. Sometimes, sad to say, it is invented or exaggerated to gain some perceived advantage in custody or support matters, or just out of spite. Whatever the case, the outcome of a domestic violence case affects all other interactions between the parties. A finding of domestic violence may negate the possibility of the perpetrator having custody or even unsupervised visitation. A restraining order may impact the ability of the parties to have normal communications. It may prevent one parent from participating in or attending events for the children or even school functions. Such cases may also be accompanied by criminal charges. In any event, understanding what is required to make or defend the case, and what is at stake, is vital to an acceptable result.

In all these things, it is almost always best to arrive at an amicable settlement to the extent that that is possible. The emotional and financial cost of litigating every detail is horrific, and should be avoided unless there is simply no other viable option. Sound advice as to what is a sensible settlement, and how that compares to the probable result of a trial, is essential to making an informed decision about the terms of any potential resolution.

Steven R. Pogue has over 15 years experience in all areas of family law. He understands the emotional impact of these life-changing situations. He knows how to deal with them compassionately but strongly, and is able to give a realistic assessment of what to expect, what to demand, and how to resolve or litigate complex issues.

*Adoption is generally considered part of Family Law, though in California it is done in a different court and many Family Law attorneys do not practice in that area. Our office does independent adoptions and step-parent adoptions.

© Steven R. Pogue
All Rights Reserved

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Pogue Calvert, LLP
373 Meridian Avenue, Suite B
San Jose, CA 95126

Located in San Jose, California, the Law Offices of Pogue Calvert, LLP represent clients in the communities of Alameda, Belmont, Burlingame,
Campbell, Cupertino, Dublin, Fremont, Gilroy, Hayward, Livermore, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Menlo Park, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Pacifica,
Palo Alto, Pleasanton, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Francisco, San Jose, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Saratoga,
as well as Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.

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