Frequently Asked Questions

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    Why Should I Hire San Jose, CA, Family Lawyer Shannon Birdsong To Protect My Family?

    Family issues are emotionally-charged events. Things like divorce, child support, asset allocation, domestic violence, and child custody can drastically impact your family’s future.

    At Birdsong Legal Counsel, your family is our family. We know the importance of family and what that means for your life. We give each case the care and compassion that it deserves. As you provide for your family daily, we want to offer our services to you. Birdsong Legal Counsel works with a diverse team of mental health professionals, and counselors, that deliver results for favorable outcomes for our clients. With these skilled professionals, we can craft a rock-solid case for you to win in or out of court. – Read More

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    Who Determines How Assets Are Divided In A Divorce?

    Generally, spouses are free to divide their property as they see fit in what is called a “marital settlement agreement,” which is a contract between the husband and the wife that divides property and debts and resolves other issues of the divorce. Although many divorces begin with a high level of acrimony, a substantial majority are settled without the need for a judge to decide property or other issues. However, if the division of property cannot be settled, then the court must make the determination. As a starting point, courts allow both parties to keep their “nonmarital” or “separate” property.

    In dividing marital or community property, California believes that marital property should be divided equally unless a premarital agreement specifies otherwise. That means that in general, with some exception, anything accrued or earned during the marriage is considered community property and will be divided equally, even if disproportionately earned by one spouse or the other. Parties can get creative in their equitable distribution choosing either in kind division (division each asset and debt in half) or awarding various assets and debts to each party to allow for an equal division of the marital assets and debts.

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    How Do Courts Determine Who Gets Custody Of Children?

    If the parents cannot agree on custody of their child, the courts decide custody based on “the best interests of the child.” Determining the child’s best interests involves many factors, no one of which is the most important factor.

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    What Is Joint Custody?

    Joint custody has two parts: joint legal custody and joint physical custody. A joint custody order can have one or both parts.

    Joint legal custody refers to both parents sharing the major decisions affecting the child, which can include school, health care and religious training. Other considerations under these types of custody agreements can include: extracurricular activities, summer camp, age for dating or getting a job, and methods of discipline.

    Joint physical custody refers to the time spent with each parent. The amount of time is flexible, and can range from a moderate period of time for one parent, such as every other weekend, to a child dividing the time equally between the two parents’ homes. In situations where the time spent with both parents will be divided equally, it helps if the parents live close to one another.

Birdsong Legal Counsel
DISCLAIMER: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.


Shannon Birdsong
2 N. Market St. Ste. 444
San Jose, CA 95113

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Phone: (408) 909-4586

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(9:00am- 4:00pm) PST


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