Recent Changes In California Family Law

California Family Law Changes Constantly

No society or government has been endowed with a perfect set of laws since Moses descended from Mount Sinai with two stone tablets in hand. Because our citizens and legislators can never be fully satisfied with any set of statutes, our legal codes change constantly.

At the law offices of Hugh O. Allen Attorney at Law, we have adapted to the changes in California's family law statutes for over 30 years. We provide caring, experienced, knowledgeable service for clients in Sacramento, California, and surrounding areas. Call 916-229-6847 today or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

Fiduciary Duty

For centuries, men and women have been viewed as having the highest of duties toward each other in marriage. This is a good example of fiduciary duty. In 2007, the case in re Feldman confirmed that the bond of marriage creates a fiduciary duty between divorcing spouses such that they are expected to deal honestly with each other, even in divorce. If one spouse lies or withholds relevant information during the discovery process, he or she can be forced to pay stiff sanctions to the other spouse. In Feldman, the spouse who withheld information from the other spouse was ordered to pay sanctions totaling over $100,000.

The Definition Of Marriage

Attorney Hugh O. Allen has been practicing family law under the traditional definition of marriage, as regarded above. For religious reasons and for personal interpretation of the law, he would feel uncomfortable defining marriage otherwise. However, California's Supreme Court ruled that the state's legal definition of marriage — a union between one man and one woman — was unconstitutional. This allows same-sex couples to marry, but it also raises profound legal questions. If families are rooted in marriage, then family law is rooted in the definition of marriage.

Therefore, if the definition of marriage is unconstitutional, does it follow that all of California's family law is also unconstitutional? Does California even have a "family law" to speak of?


Because it removes strain from the court system and can often resolve a divorce with less bitterness and contentiousness, mediation has gone from being perceived as a novel, unconventional approach to being considered fully mainstream. Before any divorce case is heard in court, the court now encourages couples to explore mediation as an option first.

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Other changes in the law are too numerous to mention, but have included regulations on smoking in houses with children, drug tests and international child custody regulations. If you would like to schedule an appointment with an attorney at the law offices of Hugh O. Allen Attorney at Law, call us today at 916-229-6847 or contact our office online.

This does not constitute a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.