Helping clients through tough Family changes


Family Law Suddenly, life has dealt you an unexpected hand. Family matters often involve issues filled with emotions and changes. When you are faced with an emotionally charged situation that calls for tough decision-making, you need an attorney who will listen and help guide you towards a new beginning.

Marie will take the time to ensure that you know what legal options are available to you so that you can determine which ones offer the best solutions.

Marie will take a client-centered approach. You are the focus; the representation is based on your needs. Marie handles all aspects of familylaw disputes from, establishing parental rights to custody, divorce, and post-divorce matters.

Premarital Planning

Are you planning on getting married and you want to know how to protect your assets? A prenuptial agreement can help you enter a marriage feeling secure that you have protected what was yours to begin with. 

Divorce and Related Issues

When you decide to file for divorce, you may feel that it will result in endless court appearances and only leave you frustrated. Well, not every divorce need end that way. In many instances, if parties are able to work together the divorce can be accomplished with minimal conflict.

Even when there is very little conflict the divorce process may involve many issues that could have a long-term impact on you, your children, and your finances. Working with the right attorney can ensure that your needs and the needs of your children are met. 

Post-Divorce Matters


You are divorced, now what? A common misconception follows that once a divorce is finalized, that is it. But such is not always the case. Sometimes there may be ongoing issues related to support payments or to property division. If your former spouse is not complying with the Court’s order then it is time to reach out to an attorney.

Staying current

Life is unpredictable, and from time to time it may be necessary to modify support or custody agreements. Generally, modifications are granted when you can show change in circumstance. Examples include a promotion at work that results in a significant salary increase or the remarriage of the parent receiving support payments. Custody or visitation terms may need to be modified, as well,when one parent is relocating, for example, or when the health of one parent deteriorates. 

Establishing Parental Rights

Before the court can make any determinations on custody, visitation, and support, it must first determine who the child’s legal parents are. Parental rights are established through paternity actions. When a child is born to a married couple paternity is not questioned. However, when a child is born outside of a marriage things become complicated.

Simply because the father is named on the birth certificate does not mean that he is the legal father of the child. This is another common misconception. There are two ways to establish paternity.  One way is to sign a voluntary declaration of paternity. The second, is to go to court and ask that the court issue an order.

Domestic Violence Protective Orders

Are you concerned for your safety or the safety of your children? A Domestic Violence Protective Order will prevent your abuser from harassing you at your home or at your place of employment. These orders have serious consequences in custody and divorce matters. If you are concerned about your safety, contact law enforcement first; however, for additional protection, call my office for help in obtaining a protective order.

If a restraining order has been issued against you it is critical that you contact an attorney who can guide you through this process and explain how a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) may affect your parental rights. Not knowing the consequences of domestic violence can severely impact your parental rights and ultimately the relationship between you and your children.

Marie Barnes provides service to both English and Spanish-speaking clients. Contact Marie at (415) 226-9624 for a consultation.