Orange County Family Law Attorney

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Orange County Family Law Attorney

Family law covers a broad range of topics, but they all relate directly to the family makeup. Working with families and how the law affects their dynamics is our expertise. We know that few areas of life contain as much emotional energy as the family. These are serious issues that are tremendously important for all those involved. When working with a family lawyer, you want the knowledge, expertise, and experience that can give you a strong chance at getting what you are seeking from the legal process.

However, we recognize that you are going to need more than that. You are going to need a team that is respectful of how important these issues are while being able to give you the information you need with the care you deserve. At Cianci Law, we can provide both. We are specialists in family law and have the legal prowess you’re looking for. We also respect the role that these issues play in your life. If you need help with a family law issue, look no further and reach out to us today.

What an Orange County Family Lawyer Can Do for You

One of the things that makes dealing with the law so frustrating for many people is their unfamiliarity with it. When that unfamiliarity is paired with the serious consequences that the legal process carries, it can leave people feeling helpless and anxious. What a good lawyer can do, though, is help ease some of that. It’s our job to represent you in the legal process. More than that, though, we are there to advocate on your behalf. The complexity and unfamiliarity of the law mean that it is wise to let someone with knowledge and experience in the law fight on your behalf. We take that responsibility seriously. When we are in court representing you, we intend to do so with the same earnestness that you would yourself.

There are technical advantages to working with a family lawyer as well. Because family law is so expansive and in high demand, many of the processes rely heavily on forms and following procedures correctly. While these might be things you could try to do yourself, it would take an excessive amount of time to understand how to do it properly. Beyond that, if you make an error, it can cause tremendous delays. On top of that, you are going to be dealing with high emotions and stress with any family issue. A southern Orange County family lawyer can help with that. We have a nuanced understanding of every form and procedure. We can efficiently handle the paperwork and procedural process to help you resolve your case sooner and with less stress.

It’s the management of stress that is an underrated part of working with a lawyer. During the tense process of dealing with a family law issue, peace of mind can be difficult to find. If you have a skilled family lawyer at your side, though, you can at least know that every legal option is being considered and a thorough strategy can be executed in the name of your interests.

At Cianci Law, we believe that we have the perfect meld of all three concerns.

  • We don’t use the phrase “Creative Family Solutions” for no reason. Our expertise, knowledge, and experience in family law allow us to discover creative approaches to problems that might stall others.
  • Our ability to find creative solutions is rooted in efficiency and our understanding of the fundamentals.
  • Lastly, we want to make sure that those we work with understand both exactly the situation in front of them as well as the options available to them.


Divorce can be a difficult issue, but we are ready to help you throughout the process. We are ready to advocate for our clients in their divorce. In each of the steps of the divorce process, we can help you seek a resolution that you can be comfortable with.

  • Pre-Filing – Before even filing for divorce, there are going to be things that you are going to want to do to be prepared for the process. We can help you understand what documentation you will need to start gathering and what to prepare for financially through the divorce.
  • Filing – It’s important that your initial filing with the court be thorough. Our experience serves well in ensuring that your initial filing gives mention to every consideration.
  • Serving Papers – Your spouse must be served the divorce papers for the legal process of the divorce to begin. We can help you understand your options for serving.
  • Negotiation – Avoiding a divorce trial can often be a better option. A trial puts everything solely in the hands of a judge, who is more distant from the situation. A different approach, like mediation, can give you a greater say in the eventual separation agreement. We are able to negotiate on your behalf and help craft a fair agreement.
  • Trial – If an agreement simply can’t be negotiated, we are ready to argue your case in court.

Child Custody

Tensions often run high in child custody situations. The court, though, is bound by law to rule only in what they believe will be in the child’s interest. They will rule on two kinds of custody:

  • Physical – Where a child will primarily live and things like visitation rights are aspects of physical custody.
  • Legal – Decision-making for the child regarding things like religion, education, and medical options are aspects of legal custody.

In both cases, the judge may choose to award sole custody, where one parent alone is legally given custody, or joint, where the custody is shared. The judge is not required to give the same custody ruling regarding both physical and legal custody. That is why it’s not uncommon for one parent to be given sole physical custody but for both parents to be involved with joint legal custody. The judge is also prohibited from making custody decisions based on the sex or gender of the parent.

If you need someone to argue for your custody wishes in court, we are ready to do that. However, because it tends to allow for a little more involvement, many parents try to negotiate an agreement with each other. For a judge to sign off on that, it requires a solid parenting plan, which a family law attorney can help you write after they negotiate on your behalf.


Adoption is an important process that is meant to allow children to have the opportunity to get the fulfillment of family bonds that they might otherwise be lacking. As is always the case with family law and children, whatever is most beneficial for the child will guide how a court will rule on matters of adoption. Because there are so many safeguards in the adoption process to protect the child, it can be complex and challenging to understand. Some of the adoptions we help people navigate include:

  • Stepparent Adoption – The spouse or domestic partner of one of the child’s birth parents petitions to adopt the child.
  • Agency Adoption – A licensed adoption agency or the California Department of Social Services helps process a case where the legal rights of the birth parents are terminated, and full rights are given to the adoptive parent(s).
  • Private Placement Adoption – The birth mother or parents together choose who will adopt the child.
  • International Adoption – A child born in another country is adopted and brought to California. Even if an adoption process was completed in the country the child was brought from, the adoption process must also be completed in California.
  • Adoption to Confirm Parentage – This adoption is for those who used reproductive services or surrogacy to have their legal parental rights established.
  • Grandparent or Close Relative Adoptions – Sometimes, a child’s grandparents, siblings, aunt or uncle, or first cousin will want to adopt the child.
  • Adult Adoption – This is for the adoption of those over 18.

Whatever adoption process you find yourself in, we understand how to guide you through it so that you can form your new family.

Restraining Orders

Domestic violence is one of the ugliest aspects of family law, but it is always a relief when we can do something to help protect victims from their abusers. It’s important to recognize the different forms that domestic violence can take, which include:

  • Physical Abuse – This could be all forms of physical violence, such as hitting, choking, grabbing, etc.
  • Sexual Abuse – Forcing someone into performing sexual acts or humiliating someone sexually are common forms of sexual abuse.
  • Economic Abuse – Creating a financial dependency on the abuser through preventing access to money is itself a form of abuse.
  • Emotional Abuse – This involves repeated belittling of the other person through humiliation.
  • Psychological Abuse – Intimidation, public humiliation, and other acts meant to cause embarrassment are psychological abuse.

A domestic violence restraining order can offer victims of this kind of abuse some protection. It does so by requiring certain things of the abuser, like:

  • Not allowing contact by the abuser with the abused or their children
  • Moving out of a shared home
  • Paying spousal support if married
  • Paying child support if the two parties have kids together
  • Restriction from having guns
  • Keeping distance
  • Stopping harassment

A violation of any of these things could lead to an immediate arrest. If you are a victim of domestic violence, we can help you seek a restraining order.

Pre and Postnuptial Agreements

A common issue in divorce is the matter of property division. There can be extensive debate regarding what is separate property and community property. A prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement is a way to reduce some of that disagreement if a divorce were ever to occur. While these agreements can be helpful, they can also be complex. Furthermore, they must be crafted correctly and with all the correct disclosures and formalities for a judge to treat the agreement as valid. We can help craft an agreement that meets the standards required and can help protect your assets if there is a divorce.


A guardianship is when someone other than the biological parent of a child has legal custody of that child. It is unlike adoption in that the parents do not forfeit their parental rights, and it’s possible for the parent to take their custody back from the guardian. In California, there are two kinds of guardianship:

  • Guardianship of the Person: This is when the guardian may make legal decisions for the child but also must provide for the child as well.
  • Guardianship of the Estate: The court orders a guardian to take over the child’s finances.

As with all things involving the courts and children, the court will only do what it believes to be in the interest of the child. Therefore, if you want to argue for guardianship, we can help you put together an argument showing how such an arrangement will be beneficial for the child’s welfare.


Surrogacy can be a valuable option for couples who can’t otherwise have biological kids on their own. While surrogacy is legal, it can be an incredibly complex process from a legal perspective. There are so many variations of surrogacy, including donors of eggs, sperm, or embryos. There are also matters concerning the surrogate herself. Each situation needs contracts to address parental rights in a way that gives the intended parents those rights. Most, if not all, of these contracts should be done before the medical process of surrogacy begins. We can help put together these contracts and aid you in the process of raising your family.

Providing Family Law Help That You Can Trust

At Cianci Law, we know that there are no simple, easy issues in family law. We’ve specialized in family law because we believe that we can have an impact on people’s lives and defend their interests. We want to be sensitive to the concerns and vulnerability that come with a family issue while navigating the legal process. Whether yours is a divorce, child custody, adoption, or another matter, we understand that the cases will likely be transformative in your life. That’s why we are ready to fight for you as you would for yourself. If you need help with a family law issue in Orange County, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Practice Areas



Child Custody& Support



Estate Planning

Estate Planning

Family Law

Family Law

Property Division




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