Law Office of Cathleen E. Norton


The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton prides itself on compassionately handling clients; often complex and emotionally charged issues such as child custody and child support disagreements can be resolved outside of court when handled properly by an experienced San Fernando Valley divorce lawyer. We provide clients with common-sense solutions to their family law problems. Understanding how the law applies to your specific case will enable you to make informed choices about the right path for you and your family.

Cathleen E. Norton is a graduate of UCLA Law School. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Norton received her bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Women’s Studies from UCLA. She is an ardent advocate of education, and participates in continuing education classes in Family Law so that she can continuously deliver top-notch legal services to her clients.

In 2013, Ms. Norton was acknowledged as a Super Lawyer “Rising Star” which is a distinction only conferred upon 2.5% of California lawyers.

In addition, Ms. Norton contributes time to giving back to the community and has spoken at various bar events, has returned to UCLA Law School as a class lecturer, and is a “Top Contributor” on Avvo. Ms. Norton has a “Superb” 10.0 Avvo Rating, and has been honored with Avvo’s “Client’s Choice Award” in 2012 for client reviews.

Ms. Norton strives to deliver exceptional legal analysis to her clients, and she takes a pragmatic and cost-effective approach to litigation, understanding that the best approach is always well-thought out, purposeful, and strategic.


Divorces are complicated, primarily because they deal with some of the most important things in your life: your children and your money. The San Fernando Valley divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton are dedicated to achieving a successful outcome of your case.

Ms. Norton has 5-star client ratings, is ranked “Superb” 10.0, and has a “Top Contributor” Award on Avvo. As a UCLA Law School graduate, Cathleen E. Norton, Esq. has both the credentials and experience to represent you in all phases of your family law case. We help our clients transition through this most difficult time by developing a comprehensive case strategy tailored to specific client goals.

If settlement is possible, we attempt to resolve issues without litigation. Where litigation is inevitable, we fight for you in court. We become your advocate, and our job is to empower you with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about your life, your children, and your finances.

All divorces involve one or all of the following issues:

  • Child Custody and Visitation

  • Child Support

  • Spousal Support (Alimony)

  • Property Division

  • Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

Hiring an experienced family law attorney from the beginning of your case is the best way to avoid costly mistakes that you may unknowingly make on your own. Choosing the right divorce attorney is the best way to make sure your case is done right from the start. A smart divorce attorney will save you money in the long run.

Just as with any other important decision, do your homework–look for client reviews and credentials such as educational background and reputation in the legal community. The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton is confident that we will earn your business, and we welcome your questions. We are here to help you with your divorce. Call us at (818) 347-4200 for a free consultation or complete our case evaluation form and we will respond within 24 hours.

Child Custody

Child Custody Orders are essential when parents are going through a divorce. If parents do not have custody orders, then it inevitably lead to conflict about who takes the children to and from school, who can take them to the doctor’s office, who makes decisions about their education, and so forth.

Legal custody refers to the rights parents have to make decisions about health, education, and welfare issues. Legal custody can be sole or joint–and depending on the circumstances, one parent may have the right to make certain decisions pertaining to the children.

Physical custody, on the other hand, is usually what parents fight about. As it is commonly understood, physical custody refers to the amount of time parents spend with their children.

Like legal custody, physical custody can be sole or joint. The legal definition of joint physical custody is: each of the parents shall have significant periods of physical custody such that the children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents.

Sole physical custody is where the children reside with one parent, subject to the visitation rights of the other parent.

These legal definitions are significant and you should consult with an experienced family law attorney so you understand what your custodial rights are before entering into any agreement, as well as before any court hearing on custody and visitation issues.

Hiring an experienced divorce lawyer from the beginning of your case is the best way to avoid costly mistakes that you may unknowingly make on your own. A smart divorce attorney will save you money in the long run, especially where custody and child support issues intersect.

The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton understands that nothing is more important than the well-being of your children.

Child Support

Child support is a mathematical formula based primarily on 2 important factors: 1) the relative incomes of the parties; and 2) the amount of time each parents spends with the child or children.

Child Support does take into account other mandatory add-ons: for example, if you pay for child care so you can work, a portion of that amount will be added to whatever base child support is ordered. If you incur medical expenses which are not covered by insurance (i.e., co-pays, etc.), you may ask for those costs to be split between the parents. If you incur travel expenses related to visitation, then those costs can also be considered by the court.

Child Support Modifications are necessary when one parent increases or decreases the amount of time he or she spends with the children, or when either parent’s income changes. If you do not request a formal child support modification by the court, the amount of child support previously ordered will remain in effect until you do.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, also called alimony, is a payment made to one spouse from the other to maintain the marital standard of living. A spousal support order can be temporary or permanent, and the the factors upon which the court makes its order is based on different criteria.

When one spouse earns more than the other, then a court may make a temporary spousal support order based on a mathematical computation that takes both parties’ respective incomes into consideration. So, for example, if one party did not work outside the home during the marriage, then he/she will likely be awarded temporary spousal support pending trial or a final resolution of the divorce.

The San Fernando Valley divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton handle both amicable and hostile family law issues with efficiency; this enables us to strategically work toward a successful outcome of your case.

We are cost-conscious and strategic in our litigation approach, which leads to the best possible outcome for our clients when settlement is not possible.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence has a very specific legal definition and is used in family law courts to refer to “abuse” perpetrated by one spouse against another (between boyfriends and girlfriends, or between the parents of a child, for instance).

The legal definition of “abuse” is very broadly defined in the Family Code and includes emotional as well as physical and sexual abuse.

Family Courts take issues of abuse very seriously and, in fact, domestic violence restraining orders are given statutory priority over all other family law matters.

If you are the victim of abuse and fear for your safety, you are entitled to request a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.

If you are the perpetrator of domestic violence, you are entitled to due process of law, which means that you are entitled to defend yourself in a court hearing.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders can have an enormous impact on custody and visitation, as well as child support. So if you are faced with an abusive situation and need a domestic violence TRO, you would be well advised to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney.

Father's R ights

Father’s Rights Lawyers are advocates who represent dads with issues pertaining to custody and child support.

Paternity actions are those cases where parents were never married but have children together. Because there was no marriage, they cannot file for a divorce, but still need a formal Judgment of Paternity as well as court orders relating to legal and physical custody, as well as child support.

Many people feel that family courts are biased against dads, and they are looking for an attorney who understands the dynamics of Father’s Rights Cases.