Palm Desert Family Law Lawyer
Family Law Attorney Click here to learn about Barbara Click here to read our blog Click here to read testimonials Contact Kristal Law
Read what happy clients are saying about Kristal Law Visit our blog today

Indian Wells Divorce and Family Law

palm desert divorce attorney

We can make your options 'Kristal' clear!

Many attorneys and some judges view family law as the messy step-child of the justice system, despite the fact that for most citizens it is the only encounter (aside from a speeding ticket) that they will ever have with the legal universe. Barbara E. Kristal doesn't see family law in that way. She is immensely proud of her profession, and of the contributions it makes to the well-being and security of the members of her community.

Barbara has been practicing matrimonial law from her Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage offices since 1987, exactly because she loves the complex challenges of helping people to solve, and move beyond, crises that regularly arise over money, children, and 'control' when intimate relationships disintegrate. She only accepts cases involving dissolution, legal separation, annulment, paternity, and "family law" related disputes.

Over the course of almost three decades as a divorce professional, Barbara has accumulated a wisdom that promises to make her the right advocate for your family law based needs and concerns. There is no substitute for experience, but still - the experience of your attorney is not enough itself to assure the best possible outcomes for your marital dissolution or legal separation. At least two other attorney attributes are required: Compassion and energy. Barbara possesses both in abundance.

At this critical juncture in your life, you ought seek out an attorney who genuinely cares about all your circumstances. As is true for most professionals, it is empathy that fires up the interest required to accurately assess your circumstances, and to inquire into how best to unravel the complicated legal issues that are part of the "freight" of dissolving marriage or domestic partnerships.

Interview Now With Rancho Mirage Divorce Lawyer Barbara E. Kristal


In California, divorce is termed a "dissolution of marriage." Similarly, registered domestic partnerships (RDPs) legally end through a dissolution process that is identical in almost all respects to what occurs for married persons. In order to file for dissolution of marriage or an RDP, at least one party must have been a resident of California for at least six months, and of the county where they intend to file, for at least three months. Those who don't yet meet residency requirements are eligible to file for a legal separation instead, and then later convert that action to a dissolution proceeding.

A dissolution can only be granted once six months have passed between the date the other party was served with a Summons and Petition, or has otherwise appeared in the proceedings. In the interim, however, all kinds of temporary relief can be granted in terms of orders affecting money, property, and children. Also, it is entirely possible to resolve all issues by agreement at any stage of the proceedings, so that a Marital Settlement Agreement becomes effective even before the six months has passed and the termination of marital status. You just can't remarry again until the six months has passed (LOL, right?).

California is a "no-fault" state in the sense that either spouse has the power to terminate the legal relationship, without stating any grounds other than "irreconcilable differences". It does not matter that one spouse committed adultery, or was cruel and neglectful and so on, at least in terms of what must be shown to obtain a Judgment of Dissolution. However, Barbara recognizes that feelings about fault and blame often underlie the attitudes and emotions of family law litigants. She just doesn't want her clients stuck on them, since that path leads to greater conflict, more emotional suffering, and higher legal fees.

In order for married persons and domestic partners to obtain orders for alimony or partner support, child support, attorney fees, and/or the division of assets and debts, an underlying legal proceeding must be commenced. This occurs with the filing of a "Petition" for Dissolution or Legal Separation. Thereafter either party may file a Request for Orders (RFO) seeking temporary support awards, and fixing custody and visitation rights and obligations, among other relief, and a hearing will take place to determine those issues usually within 60 days or less. During the course of the proceedings, an in order for a dissolution to be competently managed, family law disputants must exchange information that identifies all assets and obligations, their respective income streams, and the claims and defenses that each makes. This process is generally described as "discovery". Most people have heard of depositions and interrogatories. Sometimes a lot more simply must be done.

Because California family law is complex, many different types of financial transactions may have to be analyzed depending upon the facts of each case - particularly in terms of identifying what legally admissible evidence exists to support or refute each claim. For instance, while California family law presumes that all assets and debts incurred between the date of marriage to the date of physical separation belongs to the community estate, there are a large variety of exceptions which sometimes depend upon the class of property affected (i.e., real estate verses personal property). In fact, the date the parties actually"'physically'" separated can lead its own controversy because of its impacts on how property is characterized (separate verses community).

As some unrepresented people discover to their disappointment or worse, arguing the law accurately requires a level of knowledge that takes years to acquire. Presenting the law and facts persuasively is fundamental. Other resources must often be integrated into the dissolution process. All cases involving business interests may require, and certainly will benefit from, the assistance of a forensic accounting expert. Barbara understands what it takes to prove or disprove a contested issue, and how to accomplish this in an economical manner. Her years in the community mean that she has an established professional acquaintanceship with most collateral professionals.

Ultimately, once Barbara has obtained the information she needs to evaluate your matters she will make her recommendations to you for review and discussion. This often leads to a settlement meeting or mediation with the other party and his or her attorney. In 95% of Barbara's cases, this results in an agreement that is signed and submitted to the Court as part of the Judgment of Dissolution. In the remaining 5%, a family court may be called upon to adjudicate the issues. Either way, Barbara will guide you fairly and competently.


Rancho Mirage Attorney Barbara E. Kristal has over 25 year's experience dealing with every type of Family Law issue. She brings a seasoned view to all her cases. Her helpful staff is ready to guide you through each phase of the process.

In order to make our time together most efficient, please fill out our Family Law Interview Form and bring it with you to your first consultation.

Contact an experienced Palm Desert Divorce Lawyer today to schedule your consultation

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Rancho Mirage Office:
Phone: 760-324-3212
Address: 69730 Highway 111, Suite 209, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

Palm Desert Office:
Phone: 760-779-4535
Address: 74075 El Paseo, Suite A-11, Palm Desert, CA 92260