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What To Do If You've Been Served Divorce Papers

Friday, January 22, 2021

Regardless of whether you expect them, receiving divorce papers is always a deeply emotional experience. On top of that emotional intensity, the legal path forward may be daunting or unclear. Here are some tips for the process, along with ways that the right attorney can help you navigate that path during this tough time.

Read the Papers Thoroughly

These papers often include important information regarding your divorce, such as temporary custody details and court dates, so be sure ‌you read and understand the papers in full. The papers will also include the date by which you must serve your answer to the divorce petition; if you miss this deadline, you may lose your chance to have a say in the divorce settlement. Reach out to our attorneys if you need any additional help or have questions about the information in your papers.

Serve Your Answer

Your answer must be served legally in order to be legitimate. To do this, you must speak to the clerk at your court and ask to use the Sheriff's office to serve your papers. A divorce lawyer can help you compose this answer, and can help in waiving the filing fee as well.

Reach Out to Counsel

If you have not already reached out to an attorney, this is the point where you should reach out to discuss next steps. A divorce attorney can guide you through reconciliation or going to court in the coming divorce proceedings.

Reach Settlement

Together with your attorney, you will negotiate the terms of your divorce with the other party. These terms will include issues such as custody, child support, and division of assets. It is more than likely that your divorce case will settle before your court date—according to a CBS report, only five percent of divorce cases in the US progress to trial. If your divorce case does go to trial, the right divorce lawyer will handle the entire process with you, maintaining your best interests in mind and winning you the outcome you need.

Take a Breath

Divorce is always a draining experience—financially, emotionally and mentally. Take care of yourself throughout the process by reaching out to your support group, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and engaging in the things you enjoy the most.

Need More Support?

Reach out to one of the many experienced attorneys at Jamra and Jamra, LLP for professional guidance throughout your divorce process.

Are Child Support Agreements Permanent?

Friday, January 15, 2021

After the end of child support deliberations, the judge will assign how much child support one parent must pay to the other parent in order to support their children. However, you may wonder how permanent this child support agreement is. Certainly you will be free from it once your child reaches their 18th birthday providing there are not any college education stipulations. Yet, child support agreements can be surprisingly flexible if your situation has changed.

It Depends on Your Situation

What you need to keep in mind about child support agreements is that they are based on your present situation at that time. If your situation changes for the worse, you are fully within your right to seek a modification of that child support agreement. Having one parent left destitute in order to support their children is not something that court wants. If you have lost your job and have been forced to take lesser employment, you can return to court and ask them to modify the child support agreement.

It merits mentioning that you cannot quit your job and should not try to get yourself fired in order to lessen spousal or child support commitments. It is not something the courts will look kindly on, and there are ways that they can find out what you are doing. However, if the situation is out of your control, then the agreement will likely be modified to fit your new situation.

Conclusion

While child support agreements seem like they are pretty concrete, they are in fact very flexible when life does happen. You want to support your children and the courts want to make sure you can do that sustainably. If you are going through the child custody and support process, and what to make sure you get an agreement that is fair to you, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help.

Fighting False Accusations in Child Custody Cases

Friday, January 08, 2021

Divorces are notorious for being messy. When children are involved, a divorce can get downright vicious. Unfortunately, when the claws come out, so, too, can the false allegations. Your ex-spouse could start flinging false allegations at you to get the upper hand. They need not be proven to be true, but can have negative effects. If you are concerned about false allegations in your child custody case, here is what you need to do.

Child Custody Cases

As child custody cases are not criminal court cases where evidence needs to be presented to support your guilt, you need to consider it the reverse. If you believe that false allegations will be thrown around, you need to gather evidence to support your innocence. Witness statements from caretakers and teachers if your child is of school age are particularly helpful when it comes to allegations of abuse.

Legal Documents

However, one of the more problematic allegations is lying on legal documents, especially if it is technically true. There is a reason you want to be absolutely truthful on legal documents, and that is because it is a crime not to be. If your ex-spouse uses the fact that you may have stretched the truth on legal documents against you, it can be particularly harmful and can be very difficult to defend. A judge sees this and thinks you may not be as diligent in respecting a child custody agreement either.

Conclusion

When you believe that false allegations may become part of your child custody case, the best defense you have is a great lawyer. They can work to unravel these allegations before they have a serious effect. If you are starting the child custody process, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you navigate these complicated waters.

Divorce: Mediation Versus Arbitration

Monday, December 28, 2020

Often used interchangeably, if you are seeking an out-of-courtroom resolution to a divorce, you may think mediation and arbitration are the same thing. While they serve a similar function, mediation and arbitration are different and may suit different needs for a divorcing couple.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is often a cheap solution to more amicable divorces. In mediation, spouses meet together or separately with a neutral third party mediator. This mediator will help spouses divide assets and work out compromises. As this takes place out of the courtroom, this method is often a cheaper and more flexible way to sort out the division needed for divorce.

The key aspect of mediation to keep in mind is that anything worked out is not legally binding. Essentially, they work out compromises that the divorcing couple will take to court. The judge will then make it legal. Thus, there is nothing to stop one party from changing the agreement if they choose.

What Is Divorce Arbitration?

It is simpler to think of arbitration like divorce court-lite. Mediators cannot impose resolutions, but an arbitrator can. Essentially, arbitration allows both sides to argue their standpoint and the arbitrator passes down a solution to the issue that is a legally binding solution. It will then be finalized by a judge later. Arbitration helps keep the courts from being clogged up with long and complicated divorce cases. Though not as affordable as mediation, it is still a cheaper alternative to constant court fees.

Conclusion

Are you getting ready to go through a divorce? The process is long and complicated, but worth doing for your own sanity. If you are looking at divorce and need help, contact us today to see what we at the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get through the process with as few headaches as possible.

What Is the Timeline Like for a First Time Divorce?

Friday, December 18, 2020

With any luck, the first divorce in your life will be the last divorce. However, like when you do anything for the first time, you may want to know exactly what the process looks like. Unfortunately, as a divorce can take months of simply waiting for things to move forward, it is not so easy to lay out a concrete timeline. Instead, we wanted to highlight events as they will happen. As to how fast they will happen depends on how busy your local court system is and how much other parties drag their feet.

Timeline for First Time Divorce

If you are wondering what the divorce process looks like, your lawyer should be able to walk you through every step of the process, but as a whole, it can be rather simply broken down.

  • One spouse gets a lawyer and will write up a petition for divorce to start the process. This will include what they want in terms of financial, custody, and property division.
  • The petition is filed with the court.
  • The petition is served to the other party, requiring their legal response. Without a response, the court assumes they agree with the terms. The response is how the served spouse wants to deal with the above issues.
  • Mediation for issues is pursued if desired. Otherwise, the court will require compiled information on finances and property to help make the division.
  • If a settlement is reached, there will be a court hearing to make the agreement final and binding.
  • If the divorce is not settled, both sides will argue their side in court to help the judge settle issues.
  • The judge grants the divorce.
  • Both spouses retain the ability to appeal the court's decision on the decided matters, but it is typically unusual to have that decision overturned.

Conclusion

A broken down timeline makes divorce seem simple. However, it can take months and making the decisions can be difficult. If you are looking at a divorce in your future, contact us today to see what the professionals at the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help.

3 Signs That It May Be Time to Consider a Divorce

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Deciding that it is time to end your marriage is one of the most difficult things that a person, or a couple, can go through. However, if lies, betrayal, or years of resentment have left you feeling detached from your marriage, you may find yourself wondering if it is time for a divorce. Yet, how can you know for sure if things are really over? If you are unsure about the state of your marriage, here is a look at a few common signs that a divorce may be in the best interest of you and your spouse. 

You Constantly Feel Criticized or Put Down By Your Spouse

A clear red flag that all is not well in your marriage is if you are constantly put down and made to feel not good enough by your spouse. Constant criticism and emotional abuse from your partner can leave you feeling worn out and even depressed. If you feel as though you are constantly criticized or made to feel inferior, it may be time to consider a divorce. This abuse is not good for your mental health, and you should consider taking care of yourself by moving on. 

You Often Feel Lonely Even When You're With Your Partner

Over time, you may have noticed that you and your spouse have drifted apart. Through no one's fault, you may find that you no longer have anything in common, and you may not even have anything to talk about. This can leave you feeling lonely even when you are with your partner due to a lack of affection, closeness, and intimacy. If this is the case, it may be in both of your best interests to have a frank conversation about the condition of your marriage and whether a divorce may be the best option. 

Communication Has Fallen Apart

Towards the end of a marriage, it is not uncommon for communication to completely fall apart. You may even find that you are unable to have a simple conversation without things dissolving into arguments. Furthermore, these arguments likely don't get resolved, and you may find yourself arguing about the same things over and over again without finding a solution or common ground. This is often a clear sign of a relationship that has been damaged beyond repair. 

Conclusion

While it can be difficult to admit when it is time for a divorce, doing so can help you and your spouse to move on and heal from a broken relationship. However, if you plan on seeking a divorce, it is critical that you consult an attorney so that you have someone to walk you through this complicated process. Feel free to contact us to learn about how we can help you through this difficult time.   

Making the Grade: From Co-Parents to Virtual Classroom Co-Teachers

Friday, December 04, 2020

Educational decisions are typically custodial decisions to be made jointly by both parents. However, those decisions can be anything but typical when two co-parents must collaborate as co-teachers to facilitate at-home, virtual education. What if you and your co-parent cannot agree on how much parental supervision or cooperation a child needs? What if there are inconsistent resources or follow-through in each home? How can you ensure you remain equally involved in your child's education plan while still working within the parameters of your existing co-parenting plan?

Lesson One: Communication

Co-parents who are co-teaching must develop a plan for timely information sharing and decision-making. For example, it may be helpful to download a co-parenting communication app that provides a shared calendar for enrollment decision deadlines, assignments, and more. Then, even parents who are not on the same page can be on the same screen.

Lesson Two: Core Values

Not every parent understands the Common Core curriculum, but all parents understand their family's common goals and core values. If one parent is more available for supervised learning and the other parent has a rigid work schedule that cannot accommodate homeschooling, stop keeping score of hours and overnights and focus on the joint goal of successfully educating your child. Lean into your respective situations. Find creative ways for the homeschooling parent to get a break and for the non-schooling parent to be more involved.

Lesson Three: Continuity

For a child to have a successful virtual learning experience, there needs to be continuity between the "schools" in each home. So, if the child needs an internet connection for virtual learning, or a dedicated study area free from intrusion or interruptions, both homes should provide it. Allocating the responsibility and the resources for learning between both homes ensures fairness to both parents and gives the child security.

Conclusion

If co-parenting while co-teaching has you feeling overwhelmed or has left you with more questions than answers, you are not alone. Contact us at Jamra & Jamra for the thoughtful and specific guidance you need to ensure an A+ co-parenting experience.

Unique Issues With Same Sex Divorce

Monday, November 30, 2020

In terms of process, divorce is the same no matter whether you are a heterosexual couple or a same sex one. However, same sex couples do have two unique circumstances in divorce that they may face compared to heterosexual divorces. By knowing these potential issues, you can make sure you are prepared for them if they may be something you face in a same sex divorce.

Previous Domestic Partnership and Property Division

If you entered into a marriage when it became legal after years of domestic partnership, you may face some new difficulties when it comes to property division. While you did have a legal partnership prior to marriage, it may make property division work a little differently.

Property division and the establishment of shared property are strongly dependent on the date of the marriage. As such, it may be difficult for the courts to establish what is individual property and what is shared marital property if you were in a domestic partnership prior.

Typically, if you had a domestic partnership prior to marriage, you will want to work out as much property division outside of the courtroom as possible to avoid unanticipated splits.

Child Custody

The child custody between same sex couples can be particularly difficult. As a rule, the law will always side with the biological parent over those unrelated to the child. You can imagine the issues this causes with same sex child custody cases. However, if the non-biological parent is listed on the birth certificate or has formally adopted the child, they will have more standing. However, the biological parent will always have more.

Due to these unique issues, it is always more beneficial for same sex couple to work out child and property division outside of the courtroom. The courts tend to take awhile to catch up with new legal precedents sometimes, and unfortunately, this is one of those times. If you are a same sex couple going through divorce and need help, contact us today. Let the professionals at the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra come to your aid.

Is There a Benefit to Choosing Separation Over Divorce?

Friday, November 20, 2020

When marital relations break down, often separation is a precursor to divorce. For some couples, during the time apart they decide that life without their spouse would indeed be better and choose to pursue a legal divorce. Other couples learn that they may be able to work things out. However, is there a benefit to choosing a longer term separation rather than just divorcing?

While it seems quite silly to choose separation over the permanency of divorce, it does have some benefits for couples.

Health Insurance

Not all divorces are vicious battles between two people. Sometimes you still care for your spouse despite not being good in a marriage together. For many, they choose separation because they require the health insurance from their spouse. Many remain separated simply to keep the health insurance but live rather separate lives.

Benefits

If a couple is together for more than 10 years, they can be entitled to a portion of Social Security or military benefits. Some couples may live separately through separation in order for the spouse to collect these benefits.

Money

Divorce is expensive. You may no longer wish to be married, but that doesn't mean you have the extra money to pay the legal and court fees for a divorce. As such, some couples live completely separate for years because neither has the money to divorce.

Religion

Some take the vows of marriage very strictly. Sometimes, their moral or religious beliefs do not believe in a divorce. That doesn't mean they need to live together. Indeed, some choose separation instead of breaking these beliefs.

Conclusion

Are you considering divorce? Do you have any other family law issue that needs the help of a skilled lawyer? We can help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you solve all your family law issues with as little problems as possible.

Making Sense of Custody Arrangements in the Era of COVID-19

Friday, November 13, 2020


Custody during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been simple. Parents accustom to a steady schedule of sharing the children have found themselves legally isolated either away from or enclosed with their kids. Whether you are the parent quarantined with the kids or missing your children for an unfair duration, we're here to help.

Quarantine and Custody Length

The fact that entire regions have been set under quarantine and ordered not to mix households has put a lot of pressure on divorced co-parents. We know that many parents are facing an extended time with their kids, past the normal exchange points.                                                                                                                  

Can You Trade the Kids Safely?

Yes, but only if you isolate for 14 days first. Both parents and the kids need to have 0 contact with others for 14 days - without symptoms - to be sure that it's safe to mix immunity bubbles. If you achieve a 14 day isolation, you can carefully exchange child custody.

What If One Parent Is Sick?

The good news is that children are very rarely harmed by this illness. However, they can carry the illness between parents, who are at greater risk. If one parent gets sick, move children to the other parent as soon as possible using the 14 day isolation rule.

Adapting Child Support to New Circumstances

Child support is calculated based on time supporting the kids each month. If COVID-19 has changed your schedule, you may need to adapt the child support terms. This can be done through online legal services to find the best possible solution for your current and near-future conditions.

Divorce Legal Services for New or Temporary Child Custody Terms

A divorce attorney experienced in child custody issues is the best person to help you with the current complex child safety situation. With a legal service, you can find the most mutually-productive and child-supporting solutions. Adapt your schedule, meet online, and make sure whoever is buying the kid's groceries receives the support they need. Jamra & Jamra is here to provide our expertise in guiding co-parents through this extended crisis.

Conclusion

Contact us to consult on your COVID-era child custody concerns.