Services

Divorce

Divorce

Every family law situation is unique. Lisa Sterling Arnquist draws upon the full range of legal services to tailor a solution to your individual situation....

Child custody and support issues

Nothing is more important in family law, than protecting the children.  Whether this means protecting their emotional, physical or financial health, our firm will champion their cause fiercely and effectively....

Enforcing court orders and visitation rights

When the other party doesn't follow the court order and believes that they are a law unto themselves... there are consequences.  Sometimes just the threat of litigation, with a request for attorney's fees to be paid by the offending party, will scare your ex into compliance and give you and your kids back your peace....

Establishing parental rights

When you and your baby-mama or baby-daddy have gone your separate ways, how are you going to share time with your little one?  Its time to know your rights.... preferably BEFORE you separate.  Moms and Dads have equal rights in California unless it can be shown that spending equal time with one parent would not be in the child's best interest....

Questions of paternity

If you have questions regarding paternity, there are important rights you need to know and several short deadlines with which you need to comply.   You may be held financially accountable for a non-biological child if you hold yourself out as a parent to that child and/or you miss your window of opportunity to challenge paternity.  Don't wait to learn about your legal obligations concerning children who may or may not be yours, born in and out of wedlock....

Name and birth certificate changes

For many reasons, a parent may wish to change a child's name, or add a party's last name to the legal name of the child.  Many times, legal names on birth certificates need to be changed, or a father's name needs to be added to a birth certificate.  There are many long-term advantages to name changes and additions of a father's name on a birth certificate, the result of which can be serious financial consequences which affect rights of inheritance; it can also just make your life easier when enrolling children in schools and in other programs, as well as making traveling with your children more streamlined and trouble-free. ...

Legal separation

There are advantages and disadvantages to filing for a legal separation versus filing for a divorce.  Find out which works best for your unique situation....

Restraining orders

Sometimes one needs greater protection than simply separating from the relationship and a restraining order is warranted.   A party seeking a restraining order has a high burden of proof that a restraining order is necessary, even more so, if children are involved.  The courts do not hand these out easily, as they can seriously affect custody and parenting time, as well as future employment opportunities.  Restraining orders are serious business and whether you are seeking one, or having to defend yourself against one, an experienced lawyer is vital to ensure the best result....

Step-parent adoptions

I call the step-parent adoption court, "happy court," and although these cases present some of the most rewarding and joyful experiences in family law, they aren't often a piece of cake!  Biological fathers and mothers are frequently "Missing in Action" or not willing to sign off on the step-parent adoption paperwork and can therefore present issues which stop an adoption in its tracks.  Sometimes a hearing is required to terminate  parental rights, which carries a very heavy burden of proof for the petitioning party.  Wise legal counsel can guide you through the adoption maze and over the hurdles, helping you to realize your family's goals of more unity, stability and happiness....

Out-of-state/country move-away

There are many reasons why a parent must move out of the area... new jobs, new relationships, or simply a better support system (which often includes a more economical envioronment) are sometimes elsewhere.  If the opposing party still resides in the jurisdiction, you will have the burden of proving that it is in your child's best interest to go with you when you move, and this is often a steep and slippery slope which the Court's take very seriously and so should you!  Learn your rights and what "ducks you need to have in a row" prior to filing for your move-away request, and have the best legal counsel there to help you put on your strongest case and to have the best chance at success.  ...

Mediated and collaborative settlement

Sometimes parties just need to hear about their rights and receive good legal advice to be able to move through the divorce or legal separation process, smoothly.  Sometimes, parties just need assistance in preparing and filing the appropriate legal forms with the courts.  Sometimes parties can't communicate well with one another and need an attorney to provide the "voice of reason," to be able to settle things swiftly and amicably.  Our office provides mediation services and collaborative dissolution and takes pride in our ability to assist couples going through the divorce and separation process to lay down their weapons of acrimony and blame and to focus on the present, and on what is truly important, such as the children, or getting through the culmination of many years together with dignity and peace of mind....

Modifications of Judgments and current orders

In family law, just about any court order may be modified by a judge or through stipulation of the parties.  If the other party does not agree with the change you are seeking, and a court hearing is required, you will have the job of proving that there has been a change in circumstances since the last order was made, that now mandates the modification.  Presenting your evidence with clarity and in a way that reaches your particular judge, is essential if you hope to persuade the court that your change is necessary and in the best interest of those involved.  Good attorneys will save you much time, money and heartache bringing their wealth of experience to your case which can put you and keep you on track and sailing smoothly in the right direction for many, many years to come....

DCSS liens, Driver's License suspensions and bank account seizures

If you're behind on your child support payments and have received a letter from the Department of Child Support Services threatening you with any number of "bad" things such as:  suspending your driver's license; intercepting your tax returns; putting a lien on your house; seizing your bank accounts or 401k, taking your passport, or the myriad new methods they always seem to be coming up with to annoy you, harrass you and take your money, its time to know your rights and what you can do to stop the seemingly endless ways they find to punish you.  There are programs available such as the "Compromise in arrears program" which can actually reduce your debt to zero in some cases, if you are not capable of paying  what you owe (to the county) within five years.  There is also the option of having the court set a low payment on arrears, sometimes only $5 per month, if you can effectively show that you cannot afford to pay more.  The truth is that there are options available to you, you are not just utterly at the mercy of Child Support Services.  I'll help you find the light, a beacon in this stifiling and sometimes hopelessly dark process where you can recover your dignity (and finances) and have some breathing space to get your life back on track....

Collecting on judgments and support awards

If  you have a child support, spousal support or Judgment award which the other party has not paid, or complied with, you have remedies and often the court will order the non-complying party to pay your attorney's fees and costs for having to take him to court to fultill the terms of the order/Judgment.  Very often a letter threatening to take your ex to court where you will be seeking attorney's fees and costs will do the trick and he or she will comply with the terms of the order.  Also, wage assignements are  your right and are relatively simple to put into place.  If neither of those options gives you the relief you are seeking, then know that the remaining offending parties almost always comply with court orders when dragged into court and forced to face a recriminating judge who tacks on interest (currenlty 10%) as well as attorney's fees.  Finally, for those who still refuse to pay what they've been ordered to pay, or to turn over what they have been ordered to turn over, there are writs of execution, liens which can be placed on property and seizure of assets which can all assist you in your collection efforts.  Hiring an experiened lawyer gets results!...