Family Law Blog

Can a Spouse Trap You in a Marriage by Refusing Divorce?

Friday, November 15, 2019

Ideally, you and your spouse will both just eventually come to the conclusion that you are both unhappy and the marriage needs to end. You both get decide to get a divorce and the property division of it all is difficult, but done quickly and amicably. However, it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes one partner wants out, but the other wants so desperately for them to stay, which can lead to their refusal of divorce.

No, They Cannot "Hold You Hostage"

Fortunately, a spouse can't "hold you hostage" in your own marriage, so to speak. In the best case, their refusal to cooperate works out in your favor since failure to acknowledge divorce papers can be seen as a no contest divorce where you get everything. In the worst case, they do cooperate slightly, but actively work to slow the whole process down. While your spouse can certainly make divorce much more difficult, they cannot flat out refuse to divorce you. Even if they were to disappear suddenly in order to slip divorce proceedings, you could still progress.

A Lawyer Can Help

What often makes the difference in these cases is often the help of a knowledgeable lawyer. For every time that your spouse makes this process difficult, your lawyer will be able to best advise you on what you need to do next in order to take the next step forward. If your spouse is being difficult, it requires a bit more patience, but your lawyer can help you get to the finish line so you can continue to live your life after it is done.

Conclusion

If you are getting divorced, whether or not you have a difficult spouse that isn't cooperating, contact us today. The Law Firm of Jamra & Jamra is dedicated to helping you get the best possible outcome from your divorce or family law case.

Children's Issues During a Divorce: Smooth Visitation "Hand-Offs"

Friday, November 08, 2019

In the process of divorcing, children from the marriage often find their time split between two households. Often, one parent stays in the home while the other finds a new residence. Thus, for visitation to take place, a "hand-off" must occur. To ensure a smooth transition, divorcing parents need to set a routine that is beneficial to all.

Neutral Location 

The most natural location for the pick-up and return of a child is his regular home. Unfortunately, heightened emotions can necessitate a more neutral venue. In this case, it is often helpful to select a child-friendly place for the "hand-off". For example, consider a park with a playground is an option. If you believe your safety is at risk with your former partner, you can choose to make a police station the location for handing off your children.

Brief Transition

Keep the transition brief and amicable. Indeed, behave in an adult manner and avoid confrontation. Above all, don't take a new love interest with you when you pick up or return a child. Chances are, emotions are high and a newcomer's presence is not welcomed by the other parent, or more importantly, by the child.

Communication

Always communicate with your child about the details of a "hand-off". Knowledge empowers children and is reassuring. Let the child know when he is going and for how long. Also, let him take a couple of favorite things with him for the hand-off. Make it as simple for your child as possible. Be positive when he leaves for the visit and when he returns. Never "drill" your child about his visit with the other parent as this might make him reluctant to be "handed off" in the future.

Communicate with your former partner regularly regarding visits. Ask for cooperation and patience during the transition to and from visits. Your children deserve positive collaboration, especially during a divorce.

Conclusion

Contact us for more advice regarding children's issues during divorce. We are here to help.

What to Do When Your Child Wants to Live with the Other Parent After the Custody Ruling

Friday, October 25, 2019

When your custody case is finally closed, you hope it stays closed. However, that may not always be the case. As your child grows older, there very well may come a day where they want to go live with your ex-spouse, their other parent. In custody cases, if your child is old enough, their opinion will be taken into consideration. However, if a child that is too young at the time, they may grow older and decide they do want to live with the other parent. What do you do?

Child's Rights

It is difficult not to take this event personally, and you will need to handle it delicately. If you have custody of your child, you are within your right to continue to have custody of them. You are only obligated to give the other parent their due parental time with the child. However, if you do respect your child's right to choose, you and the other parent will need to return to court.

You both will need to return to family court in order to seek a modification of child custody. If both parents agree to a set modification, then the return to court is simply for the approval of a judge, which is likely to be granted. However, if the other parent is seeking modification by themselves, then it is going to be very much like your original child custody case.

Considerations

The judge will take a number of factors into consideration, including the child's opinion in order to decide custody and parental time. It is likely much has changed since the initial ruling, and your custody agreement could change if you do not set a plan with your family lawyer.

If your child is asking for a change of custody or you believe the other parent may be seeking modification in the future, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you sort out this difficult time.

Who Gets the Ring If the Engagement Falls Apart?

Friday, October 18, 2019

It is better to break out a rocky relationship before you say the legally binding "I Do", but that doesn't make less messy in some cases. If you broke off an engagement, then it is likely you are going to want to salvage whatever you can from the ending relationship, and often the cause of much debate as to who gets to keep the very expensive engagement ring.

Engagement Rings

These days engagement rings can be worth thousands of dollars, something that you might want back or might want to keep in order to sell or even just wear. However, the good news for the givers is that keeping an engagement ring from a broken engagement can be as difficult as getting that engagement ring back after a marriage ends.

Conditional Gifts

The issue with engagement rings taken back before legally binding marriage is that they are often seen as conditional gifts. A conditional gift is, as it sounds, a gift given on a condition. In this case, the condition is that there will be marriage. If there was no marriage, then as the courts see it, there is no reason for the person wearing the engagement ring to keep it. This conditional gift rule is used to protect things like family heirlooms that the owner may want back for more than just monetary reason, but it can save someone thousands of dollars that they may not want to give someone who is now considered an ex-girlfriend. You would hope that returning the ring would be a natural option, but sometimes it takes a family lawyer explaining a conditional gift to get it back.

Learn More About Who Gets the Ring

If you need help getting assets back after a breakup or a divorce, contact us today. The skilled professionals at Jamra & Jamra can help you understand the legal responsibilities of both parties so you can effectively fight for what is yours.

Can a Child's Testimony Make a Difference in Child Custody?

Friday, October 11, 2019

If it were up to both parents, their child would never enter the courtroom in their life, especially not during the messy divorce proceedings of their parents. However, when it comes to deciding custody, your child's presence may be necessary, especially if they are old enough to make their own opinion to be heard on the matter of their custody.

Requirements to Give Testimony 

In the case of very young children, the judge and the parents will work to decide custody alone. However, in California, if your child is above the age of 14, they can take the stand and let the judge know where they would like to go. Your child will give testimony to the judge on which parent they would like to live with. However, the final decision is still in the hands of the judge. If they believe that another placement would be in the best interests of the child, even if it goes against their choice, they will make it.

Judges Decide

It is important that your child knows that the judge will take their best interests in mind. If your child tries to convince a judge they want to live with one parent because they never punish them and let them eat ice cream for dinner, it is not likely to positively sway a judge's opinion. In fact, it may work against them. However, if they say they want to live with a parent because they feel that they have more time to spend with them, then this is likely to make an impact.

Learn More About a Child's Testimony in a Custody Case

If you are going through a messy child custody case and need a great lawyer to help you, contact us today. Jamra & Jamra can help you navigate this difficult process so you can get the best possible results, not only for you but for your children as well.

Should You Divorce Before or After Filing Bankruptcy?

Friday, October 04, 2019

Finances can put a major strain on your relationship with your spouse. If things get bad enough, it may even lead to your divorce, although there is usually more than just stress about the money involved in this decision. However, often divorce and bankruptcy go hand in hand. Doing both really is like starting a whole new life afterward, but the question remains, what should be done first?

Type of Bankruptcy

In truth, the answer is usually highly dependent on which type of bankruptcy you are going to file. If you choose the standard Chapter 7 bankruptcy, this is typically resolved in a few months. It is best to do this first, discharge your debts as a married couple, then get a divorce. It saves money on lawyer and filing fees. Unfortunately, you will want to talk it over with a bankruptcy lawyer first as your married income could be too high to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In this case, it may be better to get divorced first.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

However, if you choose Chapter 13 bankruptcy, this can last several years as you work on a repayment plan. This would mean you would need to put off divorce for years, and that might not be an option. If you get divorced while filing bankruptcy, then it adds a further layer of complexity. In this case, it would be better to get a divorce first and then file your Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Learn More About Divorcing Before or After Filing Bankruptcy

If you are about to get divorced or file bankruptcy, you are about to enter a complicated time in your life. Unfortunately, you will need the advice of two lawyers. For your divorce, contact us today. Jamra & Jamra are dedicated family law attorneys that can help guide you down the best path to help your divorce and other family law issues go as smoothly as possible.

Prenuptial Agreements Can Become the Solid Foundation for a Lasting Marriage

Friday, September 27, 2019

Prenuptial Agreements too often are depicted as a form of distrust, with the assumption that one person does not fully trust the other. Other times, people assume the couple does not want to share any of the wealth they might hold. Neither assumption is true. Indeed, couples who have a healthy relationship are building a solid foundation in preparation for their union by agreeing to a prenuptial agreement. 

Marriage Is a Legal Contract

Besides being in love and wanting to be by each other's side for eternity, marriage is a legally binding contract. It is crucial to have an attorney involved with the agreement because an attorney can approach your marriage from a legal standpoint to protect your finances. Thus, eliminating any financial worries later on.

Making the Agreement Enforceable 

One of the key requirements of a premarital agreement is financial transparency. Full disclosure of both your assets and debts is a must. Otherwise, the notion that one person misled the other could surface and make the agreement invalid. It could create friction where there wasn't a problem.

Why Involve an Attorney

The law is complex at best, and there are laws in California that have certain requirements that must be met. There is a time-frame to consider before signing and the couple must understand completely all of the legalities before signing. An experienced attorney will ensure that the couple knows exactly what is involved and is in complete agreement before signing.

California law is very specific about premarital agreements, and if the agreement is one-sided, was signed too soon during the review period, or one of the parties waived the right to counsel, the agreement won't be enforceable later on. There are also special considerations having to do with spousal support or children if the couple plans on starting a family.

Learn More About Prenuptial Agreements 

If you and your fiance are considering a prenuptial agreement, please contact us. Our staff is highly educated and along with their experience gives them the expertise to ensure the beginning of your new life together will start on a rock-solid foundation to build a strong, healthy, and happy marriage. 

Are You Paying Too Much in Child Support?

Monday, September 23, 2019

The court uses a specific equation in order to calculate what is deemed to be the best child support payment. Unfortunately, this equation isn't perfect. It can turn out that you end up paying too much in child support, so much so that it seems more like your spouse is benefiting from having custody of your children. So what can you do when this happens?

Many Factors

In truth, the child support calculation should take into account your own income, the amount of time you spend with the child, and their unique needs. If you are spending quite a bit of parenting time, the support payments will be lower. However, typically you will see this child support go towards the benefit of your child without causing you financial strain.

Know You're Paying Too Much

If you are either being put under financial pressure to make these payments or notice your ex-spouse spending a lot of extra money without valid cause, then you are likely paying too much. If either of these events are true, you should contact your lawyer. You will then be tasked with gathering evidence of financial strain or that your ex-spouse is misusing these funds in order to obtain a lower payment.

Find out If You Are Paying Too Much in Child Support

The world tends to look down unfavorably on those that don't pay child support. However, in truth, the imperfect equation can make those payments far too high for some to bear. You will need to prove that it causes a burden, and the court will lower them if you have at least made an attempt to pay them when you can.

If you are having divorce or child support problems, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you navigate this difficult area of the law in order to get the best possible results. Don't suffer under this burden when there is still action to take.

Can You Increase Spousal Support?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

alimony payment

If there is one thing that is certain in life, it is that circumstances can and will change. This is why spousal support can be so fickle. The circumstances that were your life at divorce can often change over time, but the question is, will they affect spousal support. In truth, you can increase and decrease the amount you get from spousal support payments depending on what is going on in your life. These circumstances include:

Both Parties Agree

The most rare reason is both parties can agree to lower or raise an alimony payment. Even in the most amicable divorces, this is not likely to happen, but a signed document by both parties taken to the court is good enough reason for them.

Cost of Living Adjustment

If there was a clause in your divorce that states alimony will be adjusted for the cost of living, this can cause alimony to go up in order to adjust to the annual cost of living. This often solves any future need to modify spousal support, but it can be a difficult clause for both parties to agree on.

Escalator Clauses

Similar to a cost of living clause in a divorce decree, there can also be an escalator clause. This means that when the spouse paying makes more money, they have to pay more in spousal support. However, this clause can be a gamble as it can work the opposite way as well.

Temporary Loss

If you have become unemployed temporarily, your spousal support can be modified temporarily. The courts could rule that payments stop for a short while or that they just decrease until whatever is affecting the spouse's life changes.

While divorce shouldn't be about who gets the most, you always want your fair share. If you are going through a divorce, contact us today to see how the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help.

A Beverly Hills Divorce Lawyer Discusses Games Divorced Couples Play

Saturday, September 07, 2019

man and woman sitting on couch

After a couple is divorced, each person begins to settle into their new life, single and unattached. Some couples have difficulty with this new way of living, and even though they are legally free and unencumbered, they continue to banter back and forth for a period of time. This is out of fear of that long forgotten way of life of living single again. 

Without a doubt, this change is not comfortable at first, and sometimes it is easier to try and hold onto that more familiar life, of having someone else around. Before your new life can get a firm foundation and, fully begin, divorced couples will play games with each other for a while until each finally accepts the break-up and moves forward. That is when the game playing usually ends.

Here are three games to look out for and to avoid if possible. 

Look at Me Now

 This game is usually played when one becomes thinner, healthier, dresses better, and in general is paying more attention to their physical appearance. That improved image is flaunted as a way of saying "Look at how much better my life is without you! Divorcing you is good for me".

The Better Parent

 Competing for being the better parent or the most liked parent by showering the kids with extravagant presents, or allowing them to break the rules the other parent sets.

Still Want Me? 

 The ex-husband becomes flirtatious with the ex-wife to see if she still wants him and will feign interest in her to see if he is still able to attract other women.

Divorce is filled with so much emotion, and even after the divorce is finalized, emotions can still run high and create problems for both involved. To learn more about divorce, please contact us.