Thomas R. Barnes Attorney at Law

Get the answers you need from an attorney with over 20 years of courtroom experience in family law.

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Firm Overview

We offer representation in all the areas of Family Law including:
-Dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership
-Child custody and visitation including move-aways
-Child support
-Spousal support
-Prenuptial Agreements
-Paternity
-Contempt
-Restraining orders

In addition to representing clients in court we also provide mediation services for couples who wish to resolve their differences out of court.

Mr. Barnes has been practicing family law for over 19 years. He has extensive experience as a trial lawyer litigating the gamut of family law cases including high-conflict custody matters and high-asset property divisions. He has been recognized by the Speaker of the Assembly of the State of California, the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law, and Bet Tzedek Legal services for his contributions. He also serves as a court appointed attorney for minor children involved in high-conflict custody cases.

It pays to compare before you hire an attorney. Family law Is constantly changing. You need a lawyer who devotes most or all of his/her practice to family law or you risk agreeing to a bad settlement or obtaining an unfavorable court ruling.

Limited scope services available: In addition to offering representation from the beginning to the end of a case we also offer limited scope services and representation. This allows you to use what resources you have for the most important aspects of your case. We offer specific services such as representation at a single custody or support hearing without requiring you to hire a lawyer for the entire case. We also offer document preparation services in which we will prepare your court documents for fees starting as low as $750.00.

Many issues confront persons facing a divorce. Those issues include property rights, financial obligations to creditors, tax ramifications of a divorce, spousal support, and, most importantly, issues related custody of minor children. It is wise to educate yourself before making decisions regarding any of these issues. I strongly encourage people to have at least an initial consultation with an attorney to find out what your rights and obligations are before you make decisions that will affect the rest of your life, as well as the lives of others.

We offer assistance in cases ranging from simple, uncontested divorces to high-conflict custody and high-asset property disputes.

In addition to providing representation in contested cases we also provide mediation services. Mediation is an alternative to litigating your case. Mr. Barnes is a trained family law mediator. Many couples are able to settle most of all of their divorce issues through mediation. By resolving your differences through mediation rather than going to court you can save thousands of dollars in legal bills. Our office can mediate the entire divorce or specific issues such as custody or property division.

Practice limited to Family Law and Estates. By limiting the scope of our practice we are able to keep on the cutting edge of new legal issues. We are here to help you through a difficult time. We know you are probably anxious about your situation. The best way to deal with your anxiety is to get the information you need to make the right choices. You can call or email us with your question or to schedule a free office consultation.

Serving clients in Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Marina Del Rey, Playa Del Rey, Torrance and through out Los Angeles County.
Main Office

Main Office
4223 Glencoe Ave., Ste. A225
Marina Del Rey  CA  90292

Phone
  • 310-821-7745
Child Custody
More than any other area of family law a child custody dispute requires competent legal counsel.
Child custody disputes require not only current knowledge of the law but wisdom and judgment which can only come from years of experience in the courtroom. Because of his experience in custody matters Mr. Barnes often serves as a Court-appointed attorney to represent children in high-conflict case involving child custody.

You can obtain an order for child custody while your divorce is being processed by the court. You do not have to wait for a judgment.

We have experience litigating high-conflict custody matters as well as move-aways. In California, the court will make child custody decisions based on what is in the "best interest" of the child if the parents can't come to an agreement. In deciding which parent should have primary custody, the court will consider:

Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the nonresidential parent
The history of contact between the parents and the child
The health, safety and welfare of the child
The mental and physical health of the parents, including any history of continual alcohol or drug usage
The preference of the child, if the child is intelligent, understanding and experienced enough to express a preference
Evidence of child abuse

After the custody order is signed by the judge and filed with the court clerk, both parents are bound by it. If a parent is denied court-ordered access to a child, he or she may bring the issue back before the court. The judge may decide to modify the visitation order, order makeup visitation for the time missed and order counseling or mediation.
Child Support
Over 20 years of family law courtroom experience.
In California three primary factors have the greatest effect on the amount of child support a court orders. These factors are:

1. The gross monthly income of each parent;
2. The number of children; and
3. The amount of time the children spend with each child.

In addition to the three primary factors there are other factors which have an effect on the amount of child support orders. Some of this other factors are:
-The amount of any mandatory union dues a parent must pay;
-Any free housing or other non-cash benefits a parent receives from working;
-Any cash gifts or distributions regularly received by a parent other than from working;
-The amount of mortgage interest and property taxes a parent pays; and
-Whether a parent is paying court-ordered child support for a child of another relationship.

By law child support must be paid before a parent pays any other debts including rent, car payments, food, or anything else. Therefore, the court does NOT take into consideration a parent's expenses when making a decision about child support (unless a parent will not have enough money left over after paying child support to afford food and shelter).

The factors discussed above are entered into an equation called the State Guideline Formula to generate "Guideline" Child Support. Unless the parents agree on a different amount the court will order the Guideline Child Support. It is very, very, very rare for a court to deviate from the amount of Guideline child support.

There are also mandatory add-ons to Guideline child support. There are:
-Child care costs necessary for a parent to work or go to school; and
-Healthcare expenses not covered by health insurance.

These add-ons are usually split evenly between the parents unless one parent makes much, much more than the other.

The obligation to support a child continues until the child is 18 and has graduated from high school or turns 19 whichever occurs first. No agreement between the parents can take away the power of the court to order child support.
Divorce
Get the legal advice and information you need in order to make an informed decision.
Do NOT rely on friends or co-workers they will only mislead or confuse you.

Many issues confront persons facing a divorce. Those issues include property rights, financial obligations to creditors, tax ramifications of a divorce, spousal support, and, most importantly, issues related custody of minor children. It is important and wise to educate yourself about these issues before making decisions regarding any of these issues. I strongly encourage people to have at least an initial consultation with an attorney to find out what your rights and obligations are before you make decisions that will affect the rest of your life, as well as the lives of others.

We provide services ranging from simple, uncontested divorces to representation in high-conflict custody and high-asset property division cases.

Here are some basic facts about obtaining a divorce in California:

1. You must be a resident of the state for at least 6 months to file for divorce in California. You must be a resident of a county for at least three months to file in that county. You can get a divorce in California even if you were not married in California.

2. The divorce process begins with one party filing a Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The six month waiting period for a divorce starts when the party that filed serves the other party with the Summons and Petition.

3. California is a no-fault divorce state. A spouse can get a divorce even if the other spouse has done nothing wrong. Also, a spouse cannot stop the other spouse from obtaining a divorce.

4. It takes at least six months for married persons in California to dissolve their marriage (get divorced). California Family Code Section 2339. If there are disagreements between the parties about custody, support and/or property division it will take longer to dissolve the marriage. Basically, the more serious the disagreement between the parties the longer it will take to get a divorce (and the more it will cost).

5. The court can issue temporary (also called pendente lite) orders while the divorce is being processed. The court can issue temporary child custody, support orders and attorney fees while the divorce is going on. The court can also issue temporary orders regarding use of the family residence and other assets of the parties pending final resolution of the divorce.

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Thomas R. Barnes

Experience & Credentials

Mr. Barnes has been recognized by the Speaker of the Assembly of the State of California, the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law and Bet Tzedek Legal Services for his contributions.

He also serves as a court-appointed attorney for minor children involved in high-conflict custody cases.

Areas of Practice:
Family Law; Child Custody; Child Support; Divorce; Domestic Violence; Visitation Rights; Trusts and Estates; Guardianship and Conservatorship; Estate Planning; Wills; Probate

Admitted:
1992, California

Law School:
Loyola Law School, J.D., 1992

College:
University of California at Los Angeles (B.A., 1980; M.A., 1984)

Membership:
Los Angeles County Bar Association; State Bar of California.

Born:
Los Angeles, California
Education
  • Loyola Law School
    Juris Doctorate , 1992
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