Nelson Kirkman

Nelson Kirkman We do divorce proceedings, separation, child custody and support, visitation, spousal support, modif At Paul J. Contact us today.

Family Law
From custody disputes to divorce proceedings, we will represent you in all facets of family law. Without question, some of the most emotionally-charged issues in all of law fall under the domain of family law. Are you having legal issues regarding marriage, adoption, divorce, or you are seeking custody of children? We focus much of our practice on family law, so we can guide you through

your issues no matter what they are. more

Child Custody and Paternity

In California, the court makes child custody determinations based on the best interests of the child. Generally, the court will determine which parent is best able to provide for the child's needs, including health, safety, and overall welfare. The court will also consider whether one parent has been the primary custodial parent in the past or is more likely to promote and provide open, frequent, and continuing contacts between the child and the non-custodial parent. When faced with difficult or contentious custody or visitation disputes, many courts rely on the testimony of a child custody expert or qualified mental health care professional in making a determination. Alternatively, the court may order partial or full child custody investigations through mediation and investigative services. Minor's Counsel

In some cases, the court will appoint a lawyer, known as a minor's counsel, to represent the child of divorcing parents. This can prove helpful in instances where a minor child has a preference as to which parent should be the primary custodial parent, or where the parents' wishes conflict with the best interests of the child. Child Custody Mediations

In most California courts, mediation is required before a court will hear a contested custody or visitation case. The purpose of mediation is to promote collaboration towards a mutually satisfactory custody and visitation arrangement. Mediation is facilitated by a trained social worker, without judicial interference, and outside of the presence of attorneys. In some counties, mediators can make recommendations to the court. In others, mediation is strictly used as a tool towards reaching a settlement. Most mediation agencies have the ability to recommend the appointment of minor's counsel or recommend a custody evaluation. Paternity

A paternity case is an action to establish a parental relationship, and can be used to establish parental rights, responsibilities, child support obligations, or to determine and resolve custody and visitation issues. Paternity cases are most frequently brought between parties who are not married. Often, the actions are brought by either a mother seeking child support or a father seeking to establish contact rights with a child where no marriage ever existed. A county district attorney child support division will sometimes bring a paternity suit in order to obtain and enforce a child support order. If you are involved in a child custody dispute or would like to establish or contest paternity, seek advice from an experienced Orange County divorce attorney. Nelson & Associates, LLP, we have effectively handled a wide range of child custody and paternity cases.

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Nelson Kirkman's cover photo

Nelson Kirkman's cover photo

Nelson Kirkman

Nelson Kirkman

Nelson Kirkman

Nelson Kirkman

Crazy Socks Make You Smarter!Do you want to be more creative and successful. The answer could be as easy as this!How do ...

Crazy Socks Make You Smarter!

Do you want to be more creative and successful. The answer could be as easy as this!

How do you feel about the socks you wear? You probably fall into one of two camps. Either black, blue grey will do, or socks are a way for you to show off your individuality, personality and non-conformed attitudes.

You think this is dramatic or crazy? Well, it turns out that new research demonstrates that novel and crazy socks you choose to wear not only reveal a lot about you, but also how you’re perceived by other people.

By wearing crazy socks, you’ll be perceived to have more authority and will probably end up being more successful.

Socks sit at the bottom of our trousers and are unassuming. They are almost secretive. They’re not the most obvious item of clothing. So it’s an opportunity to show off our individuality to anyone who happens to notice, without being obviously outlandish.

Research recently investigated the theory that people who are nonconformists are viewed as having higher status and more competent than those who conform to social norms.

People see those wearing wacky socks as being more brilliant, creative and successful.

Published May 31, 2017 By Lachlan Brown, Ideapod

Nelson Kirkman announces free domestic abuse legal help.

Nelson Kirkman, a Family Law Specialty Firm, announces help for victims of domestic violence beginning today. Free consults and filings. (949) 760-8888. Laura's House, Anabella Bonfa, Hon. Thomas Trent Lewis (Ret.), David S. Weinberg, Neil Sahota (萨冠军), Richard Barrett among many others have inspired me to do more.

How to Make a homemade mask.

My 10 and 12 year old daughters show how to make a homemade mask. And how to produce quite a professional video.

I want to thank Robert Pagliarini, CFP, EA and Forbes Columnist for asking me to comment on his engaging article, "A Pre...
Pacifica Wealth Advisors

I want to thank Robert Pagliarini, CFP, EA and Forbes Columnist for asking me to comment on his engaging article, "A Prenup for The Rest of Us: Rethinking The Premarital Agreement"

My latest article for Forbes . . . "A Prenup For The Rest Of Us: Rethinking The Premarital Agreement"

Untitled Album

Untitled Album

Divorce Tip # 12 - How to prove a Separate Property claim in Family Law Court.  In short, Separate Property:  is acquire...

Divorce Tip # 12 - How to prove a Separate Property claim in Family Law Court. In short, Separate Property: is acquired prior to marriage, after separation, or by gift or inheritance. Proving that IRA, 401 (k) or $500,000.00 gift from your parents for the down payment on your first house - requires the spouse who is asserting the claim to prove it through financial records, deeds etc. In most cases banks destroy records older than 7 years. Keep monthly or quarterly statements in a safe deposit box or even on a designated G-mail account. Scan and email the entire escrow file showing deposits and closing statements. A little planning now can save thousands of dollars in attorney and forensic fees. # divorcelaw .


Who Will Protect my assets during a Divorce?

Divorce in Orange CountyThe First Critical StepsStep One.Starting a Divorce Action - What Happens First? Every divorce b...

Divorce in Orange County
The First Critical Steps

Step One.
Starting a Divorce Action - What Happens First?
Every divorce begins with one party filing documents with the Court and serving (personally delivering through a third party) those documents to the other party, (this includes spouses and domestic partners). Standardized forms are used in California. These are called Judicial Council Forms and can be found at . Just click the “Forms and Rules” tab.

A. Petition FL 100- This 3 page form describes what you are seeking. Divorce, Legal Separation or a Nullity. (The person filing the Petition is called the “Petitioner”. The other party is the “Respondent.”) There are twelve (12) sections on the Petition.

1. Legal Relationship- What is the legal relationship with the other party? Married or domestic partners.

2. Residency Requirements- California requires you to be a residence of the State of California for 6 months and for 3 months in the county in which you are filing.

3. Statistical Facts- Date of marriage and date of separation. Under California law there are some important issues related to the length of the marriage. Likewise, the date of separation is important. For example, all income after that date is one’s separate property. If contested the Court can bifurcate (divide or separate) this issue and have a trial just on date of separation.

4. Children- this is pretty straight forward for most. If there is a question of paternity or adoptions for any of the children-get legal assistance

5. Legal Grounds- California is a no fault State meaning you only need one of the two parties to want the divorce, the other cannot stop that process. Usually the grounds for divorce in this section are 5 (a) (1)- Irreconcilable differences.

6. Child Custody and Visitation- There are two forms of custody- 1). Legal (The right to make important decisions) and 2). Physical – (the right to physical access to the children.) California favors Joint Legal and Physical but each case is very different. For example, if there is domestic violence then the Court would likely give the victim sole legal and physical.

7. Child Support- This section simply gives notice that you will be seeking support. A “Request for Order” or RFO must be filed to schedule a Court date. This should be done concurrent with the Petition or Response or shortly thereafter.

8. Spousal Support- Similar to Child Support, this section gives notice that you may be seeking Spousal support or Alimony. An RFO (Request for Order) must be filed to protect your rights.

9. Separate Property- (See my post on separate property for definitions and examples) In short, if you have separate property, list it here. It is common to write a short statement that you will amend this section as you have more information.

10. Community and Quasi Community Property- In sum, Community Property is that which was acquired during marriage. Quasi-Community Property is property situated out of the State that is considered Community Property because the proceedings are in California. It is important to be accurate here. Amend this section as details emerge. At trial the Court will often refer to sections nine and ten to determine if sufficient notice was given to the other party of separate property claims.

11. Other Requests- This should specify your requests for fees and whether a former name is requested to be restored (e.g. maiden name) Here again, if attorneys fees are needed you must file an RFO to obtain a Courts ruling. Listing this on the Petition is only notice to the other side.

12. ATRO’s or Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders are list on the back of the Summons. It is important to understand what you can and cannot do. Read these carefully and get advice before acting.

B. Summons FL 110- A divorce, like other civil lawsuits, begins with notice to the other party that they have been sued by you and they have 30 days to file a Response with the Court.

C. Family Law Related Cases FL 105- A related case has been filed by one or both of the parties and/or minor children of the parties are involved in other cases.

D. UCCJEA Form FL 105- If you have minor children this form must be used. Each minor child’s birthplace, current residence and other cases involving any of the minors must be detailed.

E. Declaration of Related Cases L-1120- Orange County Family Courts require this local form to show if there are any other lawsuits between the parties (link to all local forms in Orange County is ), such as-

1. Domestic Violence action

2. Adoption action

3. Juvenile Delinquency or Dependency

4. Criminal

5. If another person, not a party to this divorce action, has physical custody or visitation rights.

F. A Blank Copy of the Response form FL-120- This is to notify the responding party what they are required to do to preserve their rights.

G. Proof of Service Summons FL-115- This must be signed by the person who served the Court filed documents on the Respondent.

Step Two
Filing with the Court and Service
A. Filing the forms with the Court clerk. Bring the original and two copies (conformed copies). The Court clerk will ensure that all is in order and then file stamp the documents in the upper right corner showing the date of the filing and the case number you will use to fill all other documents with the Court.

B. There is a filing fee for the initial filing (called first appearance fee). Currently that fee is $435.00 just for your documents. The Respondent will be required to pay a like fee.

C. To comply with Constitutional laws on notice, your spouse or domestic partner must receive your filed lawsuit for divorce, legal separation or nullity. Until service has been completed and filed with the Court clerk, the Judge cannot make any orders or sign any stipulations you may have reached with few exceptions.

D. Anyone who is over the age of 18 years old (excepting yourself) may serve the papers to the other party. This includes relatives, friends, a registered process server or the County Sheriff.

Step Three
Fill Out and Serve Your Financial Disclosure Forms.
A. Schedule of Assets and Debts FL-142 and Income and Expense Declaration FL-150- California law requires each divorcing party to provide written information (called Disclosures) about your assets, debts and income and expenses. These documents may be served with the initial papers but no later than 60 days of filing your petition. (Note: The FL-142 is not filed with the Court. You must file the FL-141-Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure and Income and Expense Declaration.)

“Failure to disclose an asset can result in forfeiture to your spouse. The Court can also set aside or cancel any judgments entered into.”

B. These financial documents are extremely important. The purpose of the documents is to ensure both parties have knowledge of all financial matters so that “equal division” of assets and debts can occur. Failure to disclose an asset can result in forfeiture to your spouse or any judgment entered may be set- aside or cancelled by the Court.

C. If you own real estate you must provide the legal description, deeds and the latest lender’s statements. Vehicles require copies of title documents. Bank and investment accounts require the name, account number and a copy of the latest statement.

D. Separate property or Community Property?- each asset class has four (4) columns of required information.

1. Do you claim this asset as your separate property? Family Code § 770

(a) Separate property of a married person includes all of the following:

(1) All property owned by the person before marriage.

(2) All property acquired by the person after marriage by gift, bequest, devise, or descent.

(3) The rents, issues, and profits of the property described in this section.

2. Community Property Family Code § 760- “Except as otherwise provided by statute, all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in this state is community property.”

Step Four
What Next? What is an RFO?

A. An RFO (Request for Order) FL-300 is the basic form needed to request orders from the Court. Often one party may require temporary Spousal Support and Child Support to provide for themselves and children. There can also be a request for funds to obtain an attorney.

B. At any time in the proceedings you may settle your divorce through a written agreement. This is often called a Marital Settlement Agreement or Judgment. Many times one party may require temporary Spousal Support and Child Support during the divorce action. Support is a highly contested issue in California. Later I will discuss temporary support and support that is listed in the judgment (some call permanent support although that title is misleading)
We will be happy to answer your questions. Most people going through the initial stages of a divorce feel anxiety because they do not know what to expect or what rights they may have. Early advice and action can save thousands of dollars in legal costs.

About the Author
Firm founder Paul J. Nelson is a Certified Specialist in Family Law, and a highly experienced trial attorney who has tried hundreds of family law matters in Newport Beach and throughout Orange County. Mr. Nelson's courtroom experience, knowledge of California family law, and familiarity with local judicial officers and opposing counsel has helped him build a track record of successful outcomes for a wide range of clients.

Mr. Nelson has been designated as a Certified Family Law Specialist by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. He is the recipient of numerous awards such at The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys™ 10 Best List as well as The National Trial Advocates Top 100 Lawyers. He is a member of the Family Law Section of the Orange County Bar Association. He also belongs to the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California and the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.

When he is not practicing law, Mr. Nelson enjoys spending time with his wife and four daughters. He is also an avid cyclist, alpine skier, world traveler, and a licensed private pilot, which allows him to handle cases throughout the state.

Nelson Kirkman's cover photo

Nelson Kirkman's cover photo

Does remarriage impact how much child support I receive?January 30, 2018If  you married young and jumped right into havi...

Does remarriage impact how much child support I receive?
January 30, 2018

If you married young and jumped right into having kids, then it's possible that, over time, you found your feelings for your spouse waning. Now that you're older, you may feel as if you have a better grasp of what you're looking for in a partner and be ready to remarry.

The good news is that you don't have to sacrifice getting married again just because you wish to continue receiving child support to take care of your kids. You also don't have to tell your new spouse that you can't help contribute to buildling a life together, adopting or supporting their kids, or even introducing new ones to the mix because of a fear that you'll lose it.

Nelson Kirkman

Nelson Kirkman

Nelson Kirkman is a prominent Family Law Litigation Firm. Located in Newport Beach, Nelson Kirkman boutique firm focuses...

Nelson Kirkman is a prominent Family Law Litigation Firm.

Located in Newport Beach, Nelson Kirkman boutique firm focuses on our client's needs and goals to effectively and efficiently get results.

Not everyone needs a bulldog attorney, but for those who do- call us. We settle cases with preparation for trial. We try cases that will not settle.

Divorce Tip # 32- The Court Shall Consider relevant factors in fashioning a Child Custody Arrangement.The key factors th...

Divorce Tip # 32- The Court Shall Consider relevant factors in fashioning a Child Custody Arrangement.

The key factors the Court considers in making a child custody order are found in California Family Code Section 3011.

1. Health, safety and welfare of the child.
2. Any history of abuse by either parent
3. The nature and amount of contact with both parents
4. Use or abuse of controlled substances.

In most cases the first and third factors are the key to a Court's order. The health, safety and welfare of a child can include almost any factor deemed relevant by the Court. Seldom are the health and safety of a child litigated. The Court's consideration of the "welfare" of a child is very broad. Discuss these facts with your attorney early in your case.

The nature and amount of contact with both parents does not necessarily put a full-time working parent at a disadvantage. Be prepared to tell the Court about school, activities and educational issues of each child.

Keep a log of activities if you are considering filing for divorce. An accurate contemporaneous log will assist you and your attorney to prepare your case.

Judges have a substantial amount of discretion to fashion custody plans. Early preparation will help you achieve your custodial goals.

Our office is located between the 405 and 71 freeways just East of John Wayne Airport.

Our office is located between the 405 and 71 freeways just East of John Wayne Airport.

Nelson Kirkman's cover photo

Nelson Kirkman's cover photo

Nelson Kirkman's cover photo

Nelson Kirkman's cover photo

Nelson Kirkman's cover photo

Nelson Kirkman's cover photo

Nelson Kirkman

Nelson Kirkman

Nelson Kirkman's cover photo

Nelson Kirkman's cover photo

Very interesting article from Psychology Today.
Divorcing a Narcissist

Very interesting article from Psychology Today.

Interesting article from Psychology Today. When Ellen entered her first therapy session with me, she held a card in her hand that she’d printed out from Somecards.


4100 Newport Place, Suite 250
Newport Beach, CA

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Our Story

Honarary Chairman Business Advisory Council 2009

O.C's Most Talked-About Lawyers Orange Coast Magazine 2008

Certified Legal Specialist, Family Law State Bar of California, Board of Specialization 2008

Honorary Chairman Business Advisory Council 2008

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Less than 1 week until the OCBJ General Counsel Awards!
Who do you think is going to win?
Check out the nominees here:

Thank you to our sponsors: Greenberg Gross , Rutan & Tucker , Latham & Watkins , Knobbe Martens , , O'Melveny , Stradling , Troutman Sanders LLP , CDF Labor Law LLP , Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Careers , , , DJM Financial , Nelson Kirkman

Who do you think is going to win the General Counsel Awards? Check out the nominees here:
We hope to see you at the event on November 18th at the Irvine Marriott.

Thank you to our sponsors: Greenberg Gross , Rutan & Tucker , Latham & Watkins, Knobbe Martens s, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC , O'Melveny, Stradling , Troutman Sanders LLP , CDF Labor Law LLP , Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Careers , , , DJM Financial , Nelson Kirkman

Divorce Tip # 22 - In California Does it Matter Who Files for Divorce First? No!....

Since California is a no-fault State for divorce actions most divorce attorneys agree there is no advantage to file first. The first to file is called Petitioner and the other is Respondent. At trial usually the Petitioner will put on their case first and have last say at closing argument.

1.) If property is in danger of being unilaterally depleted by one party, a divorce filing puts into effect automatic temporary restraining orders more commonly known as ATROS.

ATROS are standing mutual court orders to both parties that become effective upon service of the summons in a dissolution and remain in effect until judgment. They are found in California Family Code Section 2040 and are summarized on the back of the divorce summons.

2.) If you live in different counties then filing first likely will keep the case near you negating the need to travel for every court hearing or trial.

3.) If you live in different States you likely will litigate in California. There are many exceptions to this but understanding the options is certainly helpful.




Other Divorce & Family Lawyers in Newport Beach (show all)

Pacific Trial Attorneys Law Offices of Michael Saboorian & Associates Newport Family Law & Mediation Group McArdle & Vosskuhler, PC Domestic Violence Legal Center - Criminal Law & Restraining Orders Talkov Law Carrie E. Foglesong The Goldberg Legal Group Law Offices of John S. Cowhig, APC Stegmeier, Gelbart, Schwartz & Benavente, LLP Harris Family Law Firm, APC. MCNAMEE MEDIATIONS Glasser Mediation & Collaborative Divorce Law Offices of Saylin & Swisher, LLP