Diablo Document Preparation offers document preparation for your default or uncontested dissolution of marriage documents, adoptions, name changes, dissomaster printouts and more.
Family Law court can be confusing, with many courts having their own set of local rules. Diablo Document Preparation has experience working with many of the Bay Area courts and will do our best to make sure that you are kept apprised of all local forms that may be required in your case. We also offer flat rate fees so that if there are additional forms, they will be prepared at no extra cost to you.
Dissolution of Marriage
If you have decided to end your marriage and have decided to represent yourself, we can help. The divorce process consists of the intial petition, financial disclosures and then the final judgment. If you and your spouse agree on all issues surrounding division of property, support and custody, you may be able to move forward with a default or uncontested divorce, which may also avoid a court appearance.
Diablo Document Preparation prepares all of the documents required in each stage of your case, files them with the court and can arrange for service on your behalf.
Legal Separation is very similar to the divorce process, however, at the end the court will deem you legally separated which also means still legally married. Many people choose to go this route for religious or personal reasons. For some couples it makes sense to legally separate so that they can maintain health coverage or other financial assets.
Keep in mind that if you choose to legally separate; and then decide to file for divorce, you will be required to pay the court filing fee again for your new case, as well as submit all paperwork.
Marriage Settlement Agreement
A Marital Settlement Agreement or MSA is a document that outlines everything you and your spouse agree to in regard to asset division, debts, spousal support, child support, custody and visitation, additional costs for children of the marriage, taxes, retirement and how conflicts will be handled in the future.
MSAs usually are quite detailed; both parties must sign and sometimes they must be notarized.
A dissomaster is a program used to calculate guideline child support and spousal support. We can run the numbers in our office and provide you with a printout.
If a child is born to parents who are not married it is necessary to establish paternity, a birth certificate does not establish paternity. The child's father may sign a declaration of paternity in the hospital when he is added to the birth certificate. If this does not happen in the hospital it can be done after by completing a form, which must be witnessed by the hospital, agency accepting the document or in the presence of a notary public, the mother and father must both sign this document.
If the mother will not sign, or if there are questions about who the father is a court action may be started to establish paternity. There are several cases where this may not be required, contact our office if you have questions.
There are two types of custody; legal and physical. Parents with legal custody are responsible for making decisions about education, religion, healthcare, travel and where the child will live. Physical custody is who the children live with. Visitation refers to time spent with the other parent; some families have very detailed schedules, and others choose a more flexible parenting plan. Sometimes one parent will have physical custody and the other will have visitation, or each parent will share physical custody.
If you would like to establish custody or would like to make changes to a current order, we can help. It may be required that you and the other parent attend mediation, however, this can be a great avenue to come to an agreement which will benefit the children.
Step-parent adoptions are available for families where one parent is absent and the custodial parent has remarried. Oftentimes the new spouse wants to adopt the child, establishing a legal parent-child relationship. This will terminate the absent parent's rights and obligations relating to the child. If the absent parent agrees they can sign a termination agreement; however, if they refuse you will have to first terminate parental rights then move forward with the step-parent adoption. The step-parent adoption procedure will also include an investigation and an in-home visit by a social worker (usually provided by the Court). You will have to pay for this, and it can cost up to $750.00.
If the child has any Native American ancestry, it will be necessary to disclose this information and have the adoption petition served on the tribe.
Adult adoptions are common for step-parents or foster parents who wish to make their parental relationship official after the child turns 18. Once a child is 18 they are considered an adult for legal purposes, they can now enter into a contract, and can make decisions on their own behalf.
The process requires filing a petition with the court and a hearing before a Judge. The adopted person may elect to change their name and obtain a new birth certificate, however, this are optional.