Attorneys Carolyn McBeath and Kathleen Smith have been working with clients and their legal needs as it relates to family law for a combined total of 32 years. We have dedicated our practice solely to family law and related issues as a team since 2006, with each of us working in family law as solo practitioners prior to that time. With our primary focus always being what is best for the children, our goal is to assist our clients in achieving their individual goals while maintaining an empathetic and professional relationship with all involved parties. Clients successfully moving forward at the end of this process means we have successfully done our job.
Choosing the right lawyer to handle your family law concerns can not only help you ensure your case is handled properly, but it can also reduce the stress associated with your divorce, child custody or support claims or alimony request.
Family Law Areas of Practice
Divorce - We are experienced family law attorneys who can represent you in a legal separation, or during a contested or uncontested divorce. We also offer divorce mediation to help you avoid the courtroom.
Child Custody – Determining who will be responsible for your children is one of the most stressful parts of any divorce. Our attorneys can help you create a parenting plan that puts the child’s best interest at the forefront. These plans will address custody and visitation, and will be enforceable to the extent of California law.
Child Support – Child support in California is based primarily on state guidelines that are used to calculate monthly payment amounts. While this is often considered the most fair approach, for families with special circumstances it may not always work. Our dedicated attorneys can help you negotiate a plan that best provides for your child.
Spousal Support – Spousal support is financial assistance paid to one former spouse to the other. This is also known as alimony. We can help you gain temporary support during the divorce, or assist you in continuing the quality of life you are accustomed to after the divorce.
Prenuptial Agreements – When one partner has significant assets, property or expected income, there is often a desire to keep this personal property from becoming a part of the community property in the event of a divorce. We can help structure enforceable premarital or prenuptial agreements that can help a couple avoid financial conflicts later.
Domestic Violence – Domestic violence cases are handled through family courts. We can help victims of this crime get a temporary restraining order against their violent partner and find the best way to get safe.
What makes McBeath & Smith stand out from other firms the practice Family Law in your area?
We work as a team in our firm. While each client will have a primary attorney, in order to support the goal of resolving our client’s issues in the most effective and efficient manner, we consult with each other to map out legal strategies and direction. Having practiced almost exclusively in Sonoma County throughout our legal careers gives us the hands-on knowledge of local rules and procedures, allows us to be familiar with the practice methods of our opposing counsel, to be familiar with our family law judges, and to be knowledgeable about which experts will be best-suited to provide us the necessary information for our clients’ particular situations. It is the goal of the state of California and the California judges to settle cases rather than to litigate cases. This is where we start – conflict resolution. If these measures are unsuccessful, then we will litigate the unsettled issues for our clients. It is our education, knowledge, experience and skills which are our basis for advocating complex family law issues for our clients’ unique circumstances – this is what we do.
What drove you to practice Family Law?
We both are very committed to helping families through the difficulties encountered when their lives are disrupted by the changes which occur when dealing with the types of issues we see in family law. Particularly, we want to do what we can to help lessen the impact of these cases on our clients’ children’s lives.
What do you find most rewarding about practicing Family Law?
There are many ups and downs in the family law arena – sometimes it seems like there are more downs than ups. But when we see the positive changes in both individuals and families resulting from finalizing a legal process and allowing them to move on, it is such an emotional boost for both the clients and for us. It is a reward to the heart.
How does a family law attorney help clients?
A family law attorney does much more than represent clients in court. They also serve as your advocate and your guide through the process. California laws attempt to help couples reach agreements through conflict resolution or mediation rather than through litigation. An experienced family lawyer will guide you through these processes, using their education and expertise to help you reach your objectives. If this is unsuccessful and a fair agreement cannot be reached, the attorney will continue to represent you in court.
How do you choose the best attorney for family law matters?
Selecting the best family law attorney to represent you is important as it can play a major role in your financial and emotional standing after the case is closed. The right lawyer can help secure your financial future as well as reduce your stress during the entire process.
A family law attorney should have experience working with clients who are facing legal separation, divorce, child custody or support negotiations, property division and protective orders in the event that spousal abuse or child endangerment has occurred.
Attorneys Carolyn McBeath and Kathleen Smith have been assisting Sonoma County residents with family law cases for a combined total of more than three decades. Having this kind of experience on your side can make the process of filing for divorce or fighting for child custody or support less stressful, as well as increase your chances of a positive outcome. Call to schedule an initial meeting with McBeath & Smith today. Contact us at 707-569-0912 for a consultation.