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August 23, 2019
A divorce lawyer and family law attorney discusses separation, divorce, alimony, child custody, and other options with her clients.

How to Find the Best Divorce Attorneys in Santa Clara County CA

Dealing with divorce, adoptions, prenuptial agreements, child custody, alimony, and other matters can be emotional and difficult. You shouldn't go it alone. Instead, you'll want a qualified Santa Clara County family law attorney or divorce lawyer to help you make the best decisions and get the most favorable outcome for all parties involved.

Family law attorneys in Santa Clara County and divorce lawyers in Mountain View CA bearing The Prime Buyer's Report Top Ten symbol are those local divorce lawyers and family law firms proven by our independent research to have passed the Top Ten requirements for ability and value. In addition, our staff has called previous clients to verify high satisfaction with them for family law cases in Santa Clara County CA, including for division of property, child support, child custody and visitation, alimony, divorce mediation services and more.

Read on for more information about choosing the right divorce attorneys or family law representatives.

The TOP 10 Divorce Lawyers & Family Law Attorneys in Santa Clara County CA

Carpenter & Mayfield

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(408) 287-1916
730 N 1st St
San Jose, CA 95112
State Bar #68122
  • Prime Buyer's Report Top Ten
  • Better Business Bureau
  • NACC (National Association of Counsel for Children)
  • NLG (National Lawyers Guild)
  • SCCBA (Santa Clara County Bar Association)

Services: family law incl. divorce, child custody, divorce, guardianships, domestic partnerships…

Rusconi Foster & Thomas

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30 Keystone Ave
Morgan Hill, CA 95037

Areas Served: San Jose CA, Los Altos CA, Palo Alto CA, Cupertino…
Services: lawyers for dissolution of marriage, FLARPL, child custody & shared…

Paul Mousalam & Associates

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2445 Faber Pl
Palo Alto, CA 94303

Areas Served: Cupertino CA, San Jose CA, Mt View CA, Palo Alto…
Services: local lawyers for family law, marriage annulments, child & spousal…

James M Sullivan Law Offices

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225 N Santa Cruz Ave
Los Gatos, CA 95030

Areas Served: San Jose CA, Milpitas CA, Cupertino CA, Saratoga CA, Los…
Services: family law & divorce lawyers, alimony adjustment, child custody, arbitration…

JW Kellenberger Law Office

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900 Lafayette St # 6
Santa Clara, CA 95050

Areas Served: Los Gatos CA, Monte Sereno CA, Almaden Meadows CA, Cambrian…
Services: divorce, domestic partnership dissolution, annulments, child visitation, child support

Hopkins & Carley Law Corp

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San Jose, CA

Areas Served: Milpitas CA, San Jose CA, Warm Springs CA, Renaissance CA,…
Services: child support, spousal support agreements, division of assets, pre-nup agreements

Lonich & Patton

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1871 the Alameda # 475
San Jose, CA 95126

Areas Served: Campbell CA, Bucknall CA, Cambrian Park CA, Los Gatos CA,…
Services: family law attorneys for divorce, alimony, child support, division of…

How to Find the Best Divorce Attorneys in Santa Clara County CA

The state of California requires divorce and family law attorneys in Santa Clara County CA to be licensed by the State Bar simply as practicing lawyers, not in the specialty of divorce and family law specifically and its involvment in divorce, pre-nup agreements, child support, child visitation and child custody issues, alimony and spousal support, division of assets, etc.

So a state bar license is no guarantee that any particular family law attorney or divorce lawyer in Santa Clara County CA is experienced in family law or divorce law, is providing real value, or satisfying clients.

This makes it significant that all family law attorneys in Santa Clara County CA that bear The Prime Buyer's Report Top Ten symbol have been cleared by our research staff as passing all the requirements for Prime Buyer's Report Top Ten status, such as survey phone calls to previous clients to verify high satisfaction with their divorce attorneys or family law services, good complaint record, verified liability insurance, sufficient length of time in business, best business practices, and more.

Family Law Attorneys and Divorce Lawyers in Santa Clara County CA
Whether or not the parties in a marriage have children, a divorce (or dissolution of marriage) is handled in a branch of the court system known as family law. Often, lawyers who specialize in helping people through divorce are known as family law attorneys, divorce attorneys, or both.

In the world of family law, there are always at least two parties (occasionally more): basically husband and wife. Whereas in other areas of civil law the parties are known as plaintiff and defendant, in family law they are referred to as petitioner and respondent.

Any family law or divorce attorneys are qualified to represent either party. In fact, there is little functional difference in the designations of petitioner and respondent. Whichever party makes the first request to the court for a dissolution or separation is the petitioner; he or she petitions the court and the other party responds to the petition.

If there are children under the age of eighteen involved in your divorce, divorce lawyers or family law attorneys in Santa Clara County will also be able to negotiate custody, visitation and support issues as a matter of course.

Where divorcing parties are not fiercely divided over these issues, it is usually fine to negotiate an agreement and memorialize it through your respective counsel. If however, custody, visitation or support issues are contested, it may be best to be sure you have divorce lawyers or family law attorneys in Santa Clara County  that specialize in custody disputes.

It is worth noting that in California, dissolution of marriage are governed by a few rules that are good to familiarize yourself with before you consult with attorneys. California, and several other states, have "community property" laws which govern the way virtually all the money, property and objects that accumulate during a marriage will be divided in the event of divorce.

Community property laws do not affect matters of custody or visitation if your dissolution involves minor children. Community property is a complicated subject, and your attorney will be able to explain how it will apply to your individual case.

California is also known as a no-fault divorce state. That means any party can request a divorce and need not state any reason other than the catch-all irreconcilable differences. Most jurisdictions strongly favor this type of policy for divorcing parties, because it avoids unpleasant accusations which must then be argued and/or proven in front of a tribunal. This means that many allegations which divorcing spouses might find relevant, if not extremely vexing, and which may or may not be true, are irrelevant. Good divorce attorneys in Santa Clara County can explain how this will work in your individual case.

Finally, in California, a unique statute (Family Code Section 2033) allows either party in a divorce to retain counsel, irrespective of that party's ability to pay a retainer or fees. If you are demonstrably unable to produce the requisite funds to retain counsel, a family law or divorce attorney may agree to accept a partial interest in your house instead. These agreements are liens against an asset that many divorcing people have, a house, condo or other ownership of land. These liens are called family law attorney's real property liens, or FLARPL. An encumbrance (debt) for this purpose attaches only to the encumbering party's interest in the real property.

Some Family Law Attorneys in Santa Clara County Are Much Better than Others
The Prime Buyer's Report lists these divorce lawyers in Santa Clara County CA: Carpenter & Mayfield San Jose CA, Paul Mousalam & Associates Palo Alto CA, James M Sullivan Law Offices Los Gatos CA, JW Kellenberger Law Office Santa Clara CA, Rusconi Foster & Thomas Morgan Hill CA, Hopkins & Carley Law Corp San Jose CA, Lonich & Patton San Jose CA.

Other family law attorneys in Mountain View CA that might still be in business include: Schlepphorst & Emede San Jose CA, Hoover & Bechtel San Jose CA.

How to Find the Best Divorce or Family Law Attorney in Santa Clara County

Know What You're Looking For When Hiring Divorce Lawyers in Santa Clara County CA
Before you can decide if particular Santa Clara County divorce lawyers are right for you, it's best to have a clear idea of exactly what you're looking for.

  • In terms of dissolution of marriage actions, is yours a relatively big case? The best way to know this is to ascertain whether or not your marriage was long term. Longer marriages tend to be bigger cases.
  • Is either party a high earner?
  • Are there significant assets or very young children?
  • Was the marriage short term, with no minor children are involved, and few shared assets?
  • Are you looking for a one-on-one relationship with your divorce attorney, or is a large firm team strategy better for you?
  • Do you want a local family law attorney that will be able to take your case to trial if the need arises? (Many divorce attorneys specialize in trials. They often take cases from other family law attorneys who do not. Don't be alarmed if your attorney brings in an associate for trial assistance after having handled your case from the beginning.)
  • Would you prefer a local divorce attorney in Santa Clara County who specializes in mediation or collaborative law?

Every case is unique, but if you have a general idea of what services you're seeking from your divorce lawyers, it will make it easier for you to narrow your search and get the services that are right for you and your family.

Much of the information you need is available on the internet, including definitions of terms, divorce attorneys' records with the Court and Bar Association, and much more. See the article Consumer Resources for Family Law or Divorce Attorneys in Santa Clara County for more helpful tips.

Questions to Ask Local Divorce and Family Law Attorneys in Santa Clara County CA
Use the list of questions below to help narrow your search for the best local family law and divorce law firms in Mountain View CA and your area.

  • How long have the divorce attorneys been practicing family law in Santa Clara County?
  • How much are the retainer fees for the local divorce law firms and family law firms?
  • What hourly rate do the divorce attorneys and family law lawyers charge?
  • What are the divorce attorneys' case loads like? Will you be one of a few clients, or are they juggling a large load of clients?
  • How many people from the Santa Clara County law firms will work on a divorce case like yours (associate attorneys, paralegals, investigators, legal assistants, secretaries, etc)?
  • Who will be the principal on your case? Will that family law attorney be the one you'll be dealing with most often, or will they pass your case off to assistants? If so, are the fees less for dealing with assistants and paralegals, or will you still be paying for the principal lawyer's time?
  • Will the divorce lawyers take a family law attorney's real property lien (FLARPL) in lieu of fees?
    (See  the article How to Find the Best Divorce Attorney in Santa Clara County above, for an explanation of FLARPL.)

Divorces can be stressful. For that reason, it's very important that you work with a family law attorney that you can trust and who makes you feel comfortable.

  • Consider your first impression, beginning with the first phone call. Did you reach a person or an answering service?
  • Was your initial impression that you were dealing with competent professionals?
  • Did you feel respected and accommodated by the family law attorneys or divorce law firms?
  • If you were offered a consultation, did you feel at ease with the attorney?
  •  Did you feel he or she had confidence in your case?
  • Were you able to speak freely with the Santa Clara County divorce lawyers you spoke with?

It's likely that one or two names will rise to the top of your list after you have talked with Santa Clara County family law and divorce attorneys and considered the above questions.

First Impressions of Good Divorce Lawyers in Santa Clara County CA
Good divorce lawyers should listen carefully to what you're saying and ask relevant questions. If the Santa Clara County family law attorneys you speak with seem only to want to get you in the door, or try to make you sign a retainer agreement without hearing about your case, choose someone else.

You are not obligated to hire the first local divorce attorney you talk to.

When you've selected what seems to be the most suitable legal representation for you, make sure you understand the terms of your agreement with the Santa Clara County law firm. Check for any consumer complaints with the Better Business Bureau, and check to see if there are legitimate complaints lodged with the state and local chapters of the Bar Association.

Once you have retained your family law attorney, keep in contact with them and return their calls immediately to keep your case moving forward. However, remember that your case is rarely the only priority in the office. Throughout your case, you will have questions for your divorce attorney. Write them down and try to consolidate your questioning. Instead of calling every time you have a question for your lawyer, call once a week with all of your questions. This will also save you money in legal fees.

Dealing with Divorce Attorneys in Mountain View

Have a Plan Before Talking to Local Divorce Attorneys in Santa Clara County CA
When you find yourself needing a divorce lawyer in Santa Clara County or your area, it's a good idea to know what it is you want your attorney to do for you. Know what you hope to accomplish, and get comfortable with stating your requests and expectations. Ask yourself if you need a big team of lawyers, with multiple attorneys and support staff, or if you really need a partner to work closely with you and devote a significant portion of his or her time to you and your case.

Choosing between the big law firm experience and a small law firm or solo practitioner is a major first step. Know the advantages and disadvantages of each and plan accordingly.

Write Down the Facts Before Meeting with Santa Clara County Divorce Lawyers
Think through your divorce case. It is important to understand that local divorce lawyers in Santa Clara County and your area are trained to understand legal disputes dispassionately. This does not mean they don't care about you or your case.

To the contrary, many lawyers are dedicated to righting wrongs and finding equitable solutions to problems. It does mean, however, that your emotions are secondary to their job. You are hiring a divorce attorney to get results. Help them do their job by providing clear, factual, chronological information.

Remember to communicate your desires clearly. Your goals, dates of marriage and of separation, names and ages of any minor children, basic information about your financial situation and any other documents you think might be relevant to your case are great to bring with you when you are interviewing potential separation or divorce attorneys, and in your first meeting with any lawyers that you retain.

Having these pertinent details at the ready from the start can help you and your divorce attorney immeasurably in the first stages of your case.

It's Referred To As The Practice of Law for a Reason
The law is always changing. There is seldom a single answer to any question or legal dispute, and this includes divorce settlements and child custody cases. Attorneys and counselors at law in Mountain View CA and throughout Santa Clara County are working with this ever-changing material, and they are human beings. This reality means that divorce law is truly practice and not art or mastery.

Choose Experienced Family Lawyers and Divorce Attorneys in Santa Clara County
While the practice of law is a practice, you still owe it to yourself to find an experienced attorney or lawyer that can best represent your position in your divorce or family law case. This might not mean hiring the divorce lawyer that's been in business the longest, but instead finding a local family law attorney who can demonstrate a strong track record of success in family law cases for many clients.

Ask the Divorce Lawyers Questions About Possible Outcomes
Knowing what to expect is always the best way to feel comfortable, and that's true when hiring Santa Clara County divorce attorneys or family law lawyers. Be sure to explain what you'd like to see, and be prepared for the range of responses.

There is never a guaranteed outcome in a legal dispute. In fact, any divorce attorney who promises a particular result is probably acting beyond their ethical responsibilities. Ideally, your attorney can describe some possibilities. For instance, if you want to be able to buy out the existing mortgage on your home, your attorney ought to be able to tell you whether that is a realistic possibility. If you want to have primary custody of your children, your attorney ought to be able to tell you if the court is likely to be sympathetic to your wishes.

Your attorney can also probably explain what, if any, child support or spousal support you may have to pay or are likely to be entitled to based on your unique position.

Resources About Family Lawyers or Divorce Attorneys in Santa Clara County CA

Regulatory Bodies & Trade Associations Related to Divorce Lawyers in Santa Clara County CA
BBB Better Business Bureau
The State bar of California
Collaborative Practice California www.cpcal.orgACFTL American College of Family Trial Lawyers
AFCC Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
AAML American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
ISFL International Society of Family Law
FLA Family Law Association
NAFLA National Academy of Family Law Attorneys
NLA National Lawyers Association
NLG National Lawyers Guild

Media Related to Divorce Lawyers in Santa Clara County CA
Attorney At Law Magazine
ABA Journal - The Lawyer's Magazine
Family Lawyer Magazine

The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the Top Ten Divorce Lawyers and Family Law Attorneys in Santa Clara County CA within the following zip codes:

95009, 95002, 95013, 95011, 95031, 94309, 95152, 95160, 95056, 94023, 94302, 95151, 95159, 95055, 95044, 95042, 95150, 95158, 95052, 95026, 94042, 95115, 95157, 95173, 95021, 94039, 95109, 95156, 95172, 95015, 94035, 95108, 95155, 95170, 95038, 95106, 95154, 95164, 94088, 95036, 95103, 95153, 95161, 95071, 95101, 95119, 95127, 95135, 95051, 95014, 95037, 94306, 95118, 95126, 95134, 95050, 95008, 95035, 94305, 95117, 95125, 95133, 95046, 94089, 94040, 95032, 94304, 95116, 95124, 95132, 95148, 94087, 95030, 94301, 95113, 95123, 95131, 95141, 94086, 94024, 95140, 95112, 95122, 95130, 95139, 94085, 94022, 94043, 95111, 95121, 95129, 95138, 95070, 95020, 95110, 95120, 95128, 95136, 95054, 94303 and 94041

The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the Top Ten Family Lawyers and Divorce Attorneys in Santa Clara County CA within the following cities:

Blossom Valley, Campbell, Cupertino, East Palo Alto, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Monta Vista, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Mountain View, Mt Hamilton, Mt View, Palo Alto, Permanente, San Jose, San Martin, Santa Clara, Saratoga, Stanford, Sunnyvale, Alviso, Coyote, Holy City, New Almaden, Redwood Est and Redwood Estates