Overview

Bettencourt Family Law & Mediation is dedicated to providing high-quality legal services at an affordable price.  At Bettencourt Family Law & Mediation, you and your case will receive personalized attention.  

Our goal is to help you move forward through the big changes in your family, not to have you mired in conflict and endless litigation.  

Bettencourt Family Law & Mediation provides legal services for the following family law issues:

 

Divorce & Legal Separation

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Going through a divorce or legal separation is often a stress-filled situation that affects the couple involved as well as the entire family. During such a difficult and overwhelming time, it is important to hire an attorney who can help you navigate the complicated legal issues as your family changes. Such issues include:

  • Child Custody

  • Child Support

  • Child Visitation

  • Property Division

  • Spousal Support

 

Child Custody and Visitation

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Child custody and visitation decisions are some of the most emotionally demanding issues in a family law proceeding. Child custody issues can be difficult to resolve because both parents are concerned about the well-being of their children. Parents may also have different views on what is in their children’s best interests. When parents cannot agree on child custody, the matter must be decided by a family law judge. In all matters, family law judges will determine what is in the child's best interests. A family law judge will closely examine all the information available in order to protect the child's well-being. 

 

Second-Parent & Step-Parent Adoption

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Second-Parent Adoption

A second-parent adoption is an adoption where a child born to or legally adopted by one parent is adopted by the other non-biological or non-legal co-parent. This applies to heterosexual and same-sex partners. This process is done with consent of the legal parent without changing that parent’s rights and responsibilities. Once the adoption is final, the child has two legal parents with equal legal status as to the child.

Step-Parent Adoption

A step-parent adoption is where a stepparent wishes to adopt his or her spouse’s or domestic partner’s child. Often the step-parent petitions for adoption when the biological parent has been absent from and does not wish to participate in the child’s life. In cases, where the legal parent contests the step-parent adoption, hearings will be necessary for the court to determine if the adoption is appropriate. The court will likely consider whether the biological parent has failed to participate in the child’s life and/or provide support to the child. 

 

Mediation

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Divorce and child custody disputes do not have to involve litigation or drag on for years. Bettencourt Family Law & Mediation provides mediation services to clients throughout the Bay Area. 

Mediation is a voluntary, collaborative, and confidential process that gives people going through a dispute control over the outcome. Through mediation, the parties work towards reaching an agreement.  By contrast, litigation is an adversarial process that typically results in a judge making the important decisions in the case.

However, while mediation works in many disputes, it may not be appropriate for all. This is particularly true in situations where there is domestic violence, where one party refuses to cooperate with the dissolution process, or where communication between the parties is impossible. 

 

Guardianship

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The appointment of a legal guardian most commonly occurs when a caregiver, a grandparent or some other close relative or family friend is caring for a child because the child’s  parents cannot. If you are acting as a child's caregiver, and you're thinking about guardianship, you should seek an attorney to help guide you through such an important process.