Practice Areas

Nothing matters more than your family

Lewellen | Strebe provides knowledgeable services in all aspects of family law so that you can make the best decisions for you and your family’s future

Divorce

Divorce is the legal process that results in termination of the marital status as well as judgment on issues such as child custody, child and spousal support, and the division of property (assets and debts). After you are divorced, you are single again and free to marry or enter into a new domestic partnership. In a divorce, you can ask the Judge for orders such as child support, spousal support, partner support, custody and visitation, domestic violence restraining orders, division of property, and other orders.

“Our divorce attorneys have the sophistication, experience, knowledge and depth to handle a simple divorce, to high wealth matters.”

High Net Worth Cases:
Our divorce attorneys have expertise in complex business characterization, tracing, and valuation cases, including cases involving foreign assets, venture capital, intellectual property, professional practices (medical doctors, lawyers), residential and commercial real estate, primary and secondary homes, residential and commercial construction industry, marketing firms, restricted stock units and other complex compensation, among others.

Child Custody

When you separate or divorce, you may need to decide who will have “custody” of your children and how they will be taken care of. You may also need to decide on visitation, which means how each parent will spend time with the children.

Lewellen | Strebe divorce attorneys have expertise in high-conflict custody cases, and international custody disputes.

There are two kinds of custody orders:

  • Legal custody: who makes important decisions for your children’s healthcare, education and welfare; and physical custody, which means who your children live with.
  • Visitation: (also called time-share or parenting plan) the plan for how parents will share time with the children.

In California, either parent can have custody, or the parents can share custody. The Court  makes the final decision about custody and visitation, but usually will approve the arrangement both parents agree on. If the parents cannot agree, the Court will make a decision at a court hearing. In most counties, the Court will usually not make a decision about custody/visitation until after the parents have met with a custody expert from the court’s public program (Family Court Services’ mediator) or a private custody evaluator who is paid by the parties but acts as the Court’s independent expert.

Child and Spousal Support (original order/arrearages/enforcement)

Child support is the amount of money that the Court orders one parent to pay the other parent every month for the support of the child/children. California has a formula (called a “guideline”) for figuring out how much child support should be paid in all cases. Temporary spousal or partner support is typically determined by one formula, while post-judgment spousal or partner support is a more complex and multi-factored determination.

We assist clients with all aspects of child support and spousal or partner support, including complex cases involving high-income earners or self-employed business people and post-judgment modifications. Non-salary income (from investments, real estate or business ownership) can be difficult to identify and track. Our team has the expertise to identify sources of income and hidden income available for support.

In cases where one party is over-reaching on their claims about income levels, we know how to identify the true or reasonable amount available for support.

Legal Separation

A legal separation is an option for couples that do not want to get divorced, but want to make decisions on money, property, and parenting issues. Legal separation does not end a marriage or domestic partnership. You cannot marry or enter into a partnership with someone else if you are legally separated (and not divorced).

Couples sometimes prefer separation for religious reasons. If you file for a legal separation, you may later be able to file an amended petition to ask the Court for a divorce. In a legal separation case, you can ask the Judge for orders like child support, spousal support, partner support, custody and visitation, domestic violence restraining orders, or any other orders available in a divorce case.

Domestic Violence

We assist parties with obtaining domestic violence protective orders and opposing them.

You can ask for a restraining order in family court if:

  1. you and the abusive person are married or registered domestic partners, divorced, separated, dating or used to date, living together or used to live together (not just roommates), or related (parent, child, brother, sister, grandchild, grandparent, in-law), and
  2. the conduct at issue is subject to a domestic violence restraining order.

Modification / Set Aside of Court Orders and Judgments

The law allows for prior court orders and judgments to be set aside or modified under certain circumstances. This is often a complex procedural process that requires the proponent to make a specific showing under the applicable laws. Modification and set aside rulings are often difficult to obtain given the legal requirements involved. Our attorneys have the legal acumen to properly handle these difficult issues.

Premarital and Postmarital Agreements

A premarital or post marital agreement is a contract that specifies how a couple will treat their assets and income during marriage, in the event of divorce, or upon one spouse’s death. A written agreement allows a couple to decide these things differently than what is provided by California law. It can also provide certainty and avoid prolonged litigation in the future if the marriage ends in divorce.

Interstate and International Family Law

Lewellen | Strebe has unique expertise in international family law services. With increased residential mobility throughout the world, family law disputes now extended beyond state and international boundaries.

When such a family law dispute arises, especially involving custody, it is imperative that a parent acts quickly. Conflicting jurisdiction issues must first be resolved, or in many cases, litigated simultaneously.*

Clients with international custody or property disputes must be cautious to not act in a way that inadvertently surrenders or jeopardizes their rights. In these types of cases, it is imperative that you learn your rights in short order because time is of the essence, and the passage of time is often a prominent factor in these cases.

We have also had many cases where a parent hires us to help them prepare a “Hague Stipulation” to protect his or her parental rights, and retain jurisdiction in a particular country or state, when it is anticipated that the other parent will be traveling with a child, and the intent of the travel is unclear, or the intent could change after a parent and child leaves the country (or State).

We are specialists in interstate and international custody and divorce matters involving interstate custody disputes under the UCCJEA, interstate child support under UIFSA, and international custody and abduction under the Hague Convention and UCCJEA. Kimberly is admitted to all Federal District Courts in California.

*Where there is UCCJEA jurisdiction with the State of California but a parent has wrongfully taken, or retained a child, in another country. In other cases, the objective will be to contest California jurisdiction.

Paternity / Parentage

A paternity or parentage case is an action to either establish or disprove a parent-child relationship. A parentage judgment establishes rights to custody and visitation, child support, and other rights and obligations stemming from the parent-child relationship.