When the stakes are high, you want quality representation and personalized service from a tenacious and seasoned litigator. Fred Silberberg specializes in a variety of aspects of family law. Please click below to find out more information about Fred’s services in a specific area of the law.
“I got referred to Fred by a well-respected attorney in a different practice. I could not have been more fortunate to find him. Fred commands respect by his peers and by judges; he is dedicated and will be your best advocate.”
— Z.D., Beverly Hills
Ending a marriage is never an easy course of action, and Fred Silberberg handles dissolution of marriage with a sensitivity and personal touch that is often absent in larger law firms. When the stakes are high, Fred promises quality representation and personalized service.
Divorce Negotiation and Litigation Services:
"When I filed for divorce I wanted a lawyer who knew the law to its full extent, would work diligently through all of the detailed levels of the situation and expedite the entire process so that I could happily move on with my life. Fred delivered above and beyond my lofty expectations."
Mark and Susan 's marriage was over. They had been living apart for three months. They had one child together, Annie. Mark had been very involved with Annie as she was growing up, but knew how attached she was to her mother. Mark always had concerns over Susan's ability to parent their daughter. Knowing that the marriage was at an end, and having observed how Susan treated Annie during the past three months, Mark did not feel he could allow the situation to continue. Susan was very angry with Mark and attempted at every possible moment to interfere with his relationship with Annie. When Mark told Susan he was filing for divorce, she told him that she would be leaving the area, taking Annie with her. She would give no further details.
As a result, Fred filed an emergency application with the divorce papers. Mark received temporary custody of Annie. This situation lasted for nearly a year, and Annie did well under it. Mark was awarded primary physical custody of Annie. Susan had reasonable visitation under certain restrictions to ensure that she would not flee with the child. Susan also underwent therapy and was better able to control her contemptuous feelings for Mark.
When assets begin to comingle, written agreements are essential to prevent complications down the road, even when neither party anticipates a separation. Especially when substantial assets are involved, both parties may want an agreement, but both are afraid to bring it up. Fred Silberberg specializes in drafting agreements that alleviate the potential financial stress, and introducing them in a matter sensitive to all involved.
"I had a cohabitation agreement prepared by Fred in 2012. I was very pleased with the extensive suggestions he provide to ensure that I was properly protected."
— G.W., Laguna Beach
After spending the majority of his adult life building his manufacturing business, Steven had acquired a substantial estate, including cash, homes, and investments worth well in excess of $50 million. Steven had three adult children from his first marriage and was living with Angela, 15 years his junior. They were contemplating marriage, but Steven was concerned that his property would not remain intact for his children should the marriage fail, or were he to predecease Angela. Angela, although she had her own property, had not worked since the two began living together.
In order to avoid any type of a "palimony" claim, and to preserve the majority of his estate for the children, Fred drafted an agreement which provided that Angela would not make any palimony claims against Steven. She would receive a fair allowance in the event of marriage, but would not have any claims against the bulk of Steven's property.
Child custody disputes are never easy, but when a disgruntled spouse takes the child into another city, state, or even country, the situation becomes exponentially more complex. These situations require an immense understanding of the laws at play, as well as a willingness to arrange legal assistance in the local jurisdiction or even employ private investigators. While difficult for the parents, these cases have the potential to be devastating for the child. Fred Silberberg is willing to use any means necessary to reunite the child with the custodial parent, while protecting the child’s emotional welfare at all costs.
Sunny and Roger had two boys. They had been divorced for 10 years, and Sunny had custody of the boys, with Roger having visitation. The eldest son had gone to see Roger for the weekend, but did not return. Initially he told his mother he wanted to spend some extended time with his father, and he now being 14 years old, she reluctantly agreed.
Unbeknownst to her at the time, Roger was planning to move across the country. Without any advance notice, Roger took the eldest child out of the state. Just before departing, the boy left a message with his mother saying that he was leaving for South Carolina and would call again at some point in the future.
Frantic, Sunny contacted Fred. They began looking for the child and ultimately found him in a small town. Fred petitioned the local court for orders requiring the child's return, which were granted. Sunny left California with the assistance of a professional recommended by Fred. She encountered difficulty in South Carolina and local counsel was brought in to assist. Ultimately, Sunny and her child returned to California.
There are many people in our society who would like to have children but cannot. Although it would seem that there are many children who need homes, it seems to be exceedingly difficult to find children for these parents.
Fred Silberberg is one of the few Certified Family Law Specialists in the area who also has experience in the field of adoption. He can assist singles or couples in locating a child and completing the process. If it seems difficult or impossible to find a child locally, Fred can help prospective parents adopt a child through a more remote source. The end result is the same — a family is formed.
Marie's husband, who had grown children of his own, passed away after a lengthy illness. Marie had always wanted a child, but her husband had not. She was interested in a child that others may not have wanted - one of a different race or having special needs. Although Marie had the qualities of being an excellent parent, she was a bit older than most first-time parents, and she was single. These factors made it extremely difficult to find an appropriate match.
After searching for months, Fred located a child who fit Marie's desires who had just been born in another state. Fred arranged for Marie to meet the baby and then obtained legal permission for her to bring the child to California, where the adoption process was supervised by a local social work agency. Six months after Marie brought her son back to Los Angeles, the adoption was finalized. Mother and son are now doing fine.
Situations arise where a court is called upon to either establish custody arrangements for a child for the first time, or where an existing arrangement should be changed. Unfortunately, parents do not always see eye-to-eye in this area. The process of resolving a custody dispute between parents can be extremely trying, from both an emotional and legal standpoint.
Fred Silberberg has significant experience in the area of child custody litigation. He has helped numerous parents — and their children — resolve these disputes both outside of, and through the court process. Working with families and mental health professionals, Fred ensures that the best interests of children — the innocent victims of these disputes — are protected.
Mark and Paula had been divorced for ten years. When they first separated, their daughter Julie was one year old. Mark had since remarried, and now had three other daughters. Paula had remarried and was now divorcing once again. During this period of time, Paula had primary custody of Julie. Julie would visit her father's house every other weekend, during summers and holidays.
Julie's performance in school began to decline and Paula was frequently away from the house. Paula was arrested for shoplifting and it was later uncovered that she had a substance abuse problem. Mark felt it was no longer in Julie's best interests to remain living with her mother. Fred moved for a change in custody, which was granted.
A long-term obligation to support a spouse comes with a considerable financial impact, especially when the paying party faces a change in financial, health, or living situation. Unfortunately, ending or modifying these agreements is incredibly complex, and no judge will respond to a call to “just end it.” That’s why Fred Silberberg approaches these cases by presenting a comprehensive strategy to the judge that lays out the justification for modifying or ending the payments, along with a detailed blueprint for executing the plan.
"Fred to represented me in an attempt to reduce my alimony payments to my ex-wife. Since I was married for close to 20 years, I thought I was destined for a lifetime of alimony payments. Fred clearly under promised and over delivered. He negotiated the permanent termination of my alimony payments and for that I am forever grateful."
— S.F., Westside
Barbara and Don had been married for 12 years. When they separated, Don agreed to pay spousal support to Barbara for a period of 10 years, after which time the parties agreed that support would terminate. Barbara had some emotional problems after the divorce, particularly after Don remarried. Just before the 10-year period expired, Barbara sued Don for both an increase in the monthly amount of her support, and an extension of time during which Don would have to pay support.
Fred established that Barbara had undertaken no efforts to become self-supporting, and that her emotional problems were not what she had thought. He successfully petitioned that Barbara's support be terminated.
In the State of California, child support payments are determined by a system of calculations, taking into account avenues of income, deductible interests and taxes, and amount of time caring for the child. When there are large assets or multiple sources of income involved, Fred Silberberg can guide the client through the process to ensure an appropriate payment amount is reached.
"Fred represented me in a very difficult dissolution, which included issues of spousal support, child support and evaluating my professional practice. I have been a lawyer for almost 40 years and have not yet seen his equal."
— M. C., Malibu
After a decade of marriage, Phil and Leanne filed for divorce, leaving Leanne custody of their young child, with Phil paying child support. Phil owned multiple businesses with multi-millions in annual earnings, some of which covered business expenses, and some going toward personal income.
After reviewing Phil’s finances, Fred advised him that putting his income as-is into the child support calculations would lead to an astronomical figure, far beyond what was reasonable for a small child. He helped Phil itemize his income to report a more modest figure. He analyzed the parents’ lifestyles to find an appropriate amount to support the child, without giving a huge windfall to his ex-wife. With these points in mind, Fred helped Phil secure a much lower payment obligation.
Even when couples live together without marriage, cohabitation situations can still create legal implications. Although California is not a “common law” state, palimony suits can still arise when the two parties separate. These cases are difficult, as they require proving some form of mutually understood palimony contract, be it a verbal agreement, or some form of shared responsibility.
Fred Silberberg has a comprehensive understanding of the legal parameters of these situations. He is experienced in preparing agreements to clarify cohabitation situations as well as handling lawsuits arising from palimony contracts.
Rodney and Marie lived together for a number of years, and when things cooled down romantically, they mutually agreed to end the relationship. However, since Rodney was constantly traveling internationally for business, he agreed to let Marie stay in their home. After a year, Rodney asked Marie to move out, and she responded with a lawsuit. She claimed their cohabitation represented a legal contract, and she should have a right to some of Rodney’s assets.
Her claim would require some kind of proof this agreement (be it verbal, written or otherwise). Representing Rodney, Fred ferreted out the truth in Marie’s claims and showed there was no existence of any proven contract. Since all bills, legal documents, etc. were in Rodney’s name and there was no verbal agreement, Marie’s suit was thrown out of court. Rodney’s assets were protected.
With the U.S. Supreme Court recently finding that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right guaranteed under the 14th Amendment, the legal landscape affecting partners of the same sex has changed dramatically. Same-sex couples now enjoy the same rights, and have the same legal and financial obligations as heterosexual couples. For these reasons, members of the LGBT community intending to marry need to understand the rights and benefits that come with marriage, as well as the legal ramifications in the event of separation or divorce.
Marriage equality is now a fact of life in the U.S. Notwithstanding, there are still varying levels of acceptance toward same-sex relationships. As a happily married gay father, Fred fully understands the issues that members of the LGBT community face and is able to provide insight that others may not. He offers a safe, comfortable place to discuss these issues.
There are emerging legal issues affecting family formation, disputes over genetic material, embryos, parentage, and assisted reproductive technology law (ART). From in vitro fertilization (IVF) to surrogacy, breakthrough medical techniques have expanded the possibility of biological parenthood to a wide diversity of individuals and couples. While creating parenting opportunities once thought unattainable, these cutting-edge medical technologies have also introduced a host of legal complexities and uncertainties.
Unlike most family law attorneys, Fred Silberberg is leading the legal dialogue surrounding these matters. In a recent landmark case, Jason P. v. Danielle S. 226 Cal. App. 4th 167., Fred, who represented actor Jason Patric, obtained a major change in parentage law. As a result of Fred’s arguments, fathers, who would have otherwise been considered sperm donors, are now, for the first time, granted parentage rights. Fred is also the attorney for Sofia Vergara who is being sued by her ex fiancé for the rights to embryos that they created together. Fred has established his firm as the go-to source in all parentage and family formation matters, including: preparation of legal documents relating to surrogacy, sperm donation, egg donation, and parentage.
Neal and Martin recently got married and wanted a child that shared their genetic material. In order to make this dream a reality, Martin’s sister donated a number of eggs to the new family. Fred drafted a document transferring legal rights to the embryos. He then helped the parents find a surrogate, drafting and negotiating the contract asserting the child’s legal parentage and the obligations of each party. In addition, he established an escrow to handle payments to the surrogate parent and monitored her progress on behalf of the parents.
Click here to learn more about our services in ART law.