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Family Law Blog

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.

Domestic Partnerships Are Legal and Must Be Dissolved in Court

Friday, November 06, 2020

Many people, of all genders and ages, are holding off on marriage and, instead, choosing a domestic partnership that establishes many of the essential rights that married people have without legally being considered a 'marriage'.

Men and women who have been damaged by divorce in some way or couples who want the same basic rights as a married couple without the entire commitment of a legal marriage can choose to establish a domestic partnership.

Sometimes this is the best course for a couple, but occasionally these relationships do not work out. We can't all be Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. 

Why Were Domestic Partnerships Created?

A domestic partnership in California is currently defined as an established adult couple who are romantically involved and dedicated to each other while not being legally married. They choose to live together, share property, and even have children.

The couple registers as a domestic partnership for legal purposes, such as in inheritance or adoption issues, and the concept was originally adapted in California as an option that resembles a marriage for same-sex couples who were not allowed, until fairly recently, to be legally married. 

For example, Rick and Steve have been together, romantically, for thirty years before Rick finds out that he has terminal cancer. Before domestic partnerships, Steve had no legal right to make health or money decisions for the person he loves and has always cared for. Steve could not inherit the home he had shared with Rick for thirty years and many hospitals could ban him from his boyfriend's hospital room because he was not considered a legal family member.

Filing for a domestic partnership changed that and gave Steve and Rick the rights they deserve. But what happens if the domestic partnership we are in does not work out and we decide to separate? What do we do?

Separating While in a Domestic Partnership 

What many people don't understand is that a breakup of cohabitating sexual partners can be just as intricate as a legal divorce. A breakup of a legal domestic partnership can be just as intense even though the separation may follow a slightly altered, and constantly evolving, set of rules.   

Since the establishment of the relationship is a legal matter, then you must go through legal means to dissolve it. The dissolution of the partnership is a legal matter and you should acquire the help of an attorney who stays up-to-date on the ever-changing rules of the process.  

Conclusion

Our team at Jamra & Jamra, LLP, understand the domestic partnership laws behind the division of properties and businesses, child custody, and even issues surrounding domestic violence and other forms of abuse. We have direct experience with both homosexual and heterosexual dissolutions and we prefer a mediated process over a contentious fight.

No matter what, we will support you and protect your rights, even if that means going to court.

Contact us anytime and we can help you understand your position, your rights, and your responsibilities towards your former partner. We can outline what your next steps should be and work with you for a diplomatic end to your relationship. 

What to Expect From a Child Custody Hearing?

Friday, October 23, 2020

Ideally, a child custody hearing is something you never have to go through. However, because of that, it is a bit of an unknown that is likely causing you stress. What will happen? How will everything be sorted? For your specific circumstances, your lawyer can (and should) give you a full rundown on what will happen inside that courtroom, but here is what you can expect.

Child Custody Hearing in Court

In truth, most child custody hearings, when they make it to the courtroom, are almost all finished up. Due to how pressed the courts are for time, you do much of the planning, debating, and agreement outside of the courtroom with your lawyer, your ex-spouse, and their lawyer.

What you can expect is to form a parenting plan with your ex-spouse. This will be a lot of mediation on what is fair time that the child gets to spend with each parent. It is best that you go into very specific details. The more details that are covered in a court-approved parenting plan, the happier everyone will be. Be sure to cover things like holidays, school vacations, emergencies, transportation, and vacations.

When you do enter the courtroom, usually you don't need to be ready to debate your side. If there is any disagreement on issues that you and your spouse cannot agree on, the judge will weigh in to make a more final decision. This decision will be based on not so much what is fair to the parents, but rather what is in the best interests of the child. Other than that, the purpose of going to court is so the judge can look over the parenting plan and give it legally-binding approval.

Learn More About What to Expect From a Child Custody Hearing

Are you going through a divorce and need help navigating this difficult process? Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do for you.

Three Questions You May Have About Spousal Support

Friday, October 16, 2020

If you and your spouse are currently planning to get divorced, you might have questions about spousal support, sometimes referred to as alimony. Here's a look at three questions you may have.

What Are the Different Types of Spousal Support?

Spousal support is generally divided into two types, temporary spousal support and permanent spousal support. Temporary spousal support is being paid while the divorce is going on. Once the divorce is final, permanent, or long-term spousal support may be awarded to one of the partners.

Is Permanent Spousal Support Always Permanent?

"Permanent" could be misleading. While it is sometimes permanent, changes in circumstances may also mean changes in the amount of money that is received through spousal support. If either party has a change in employment, the amount of money could go up or down. If the person receiving the money remarries, spousal support will end. If you are concerned about these factors or other factors concerned with spousal support, a spousal support lawyer can help.  

How Is Spousal Support Determined?

Several factors go into determining how much spousal support the person is given. One important factor is the length of the marriage. If you were only married for a short time, you might not get spousal support, or it may be smaller than it would be if you'd been married longer. Age, health, and how well each partner can continue to support themselves based on their current standard of living are also considered. If one spouse helped with the other's education or other work-related training, that may also go into determining the amount of spousal support awarded.

Have More Questions About Spousal Support?

You may have other questions about spousal support, and we are here to help you. Contact us if you need a lawyer experienced in spousal support cases or if you have any questions about spousal support.

The Benefits of Getting a Prenuptial Agreement

Monday, October 12, 2020

If you and your partner are planning on getting married, the last thing that you likely want to think about is the possibility that you will get divorced someday. However, the fact is that divorce rates are still extremely high, which is why it is important that couples plan ahead by getting a prenuptial agreement before the big day.

While prenuptial agreements (also known as prenups) are often thought of as something only the rich and famous need, the fact is that prenups can help protect couples from a variety of backgrounds in the event of divorce. If you are getting married soon, here are just a few of the reasons why you should consider getting a prenup. 

It Forces You to Look at Your Finances

One of the greatest advantages of a prenuptial agreement is that it forces couples to take a look at their finances. One of the most common reasons for problems in a marriage is that couples often go into marriage with different ideas and expectations about money, leading to fights down-the-road. However, during the process of creating a prenup, couples are forced to look at their finances, and this often facilitates discussions about money, which can actually help to prevent future marital problems. 

You Both Have Debt

Many people believe that they do not need a prenup if they do not have a lot of money; however, a prenup can be equally important if one or both spouses have debt. These days it is not uncommon for couples to enter a marriage with both parties having credit card debt, auto loans, and student debt. Getting a prenup can actually protect you from each other's debt, as the prenuptial agreement can outline who is responsible for what financial obligations in the event of a divorce.  

One of You Owns a Business

It is particularly critical that you get a prenup if one of you is a business owner. Oftentimes when a couple gets divorced and they own a business, this can leave the business in jeopardy of being torn apart. A prenup can then help to protect this premarital asset by outlining how much of the business each spouse is entitled to in the event of divorce.

Conclusion

Contact us to learn more about how a prenuptial agreement can protect you upon entering marriage. 

3 Unexpected Benefits of Prenuptial Agreements

Monday, October 05, 2020

If you've reached the point where you and your partner are considering marriage, it's important to take a step back and really look at the life you want to build together. While the goal of marriage might be to last the rest of one's life, that's not always how things work out. While divorce law can be messy and expensive (not to mention personally draining and stressful), a prenuptial agreement can nip proceedings in the bud.

However, there are additional benefits to a prenuptial agreement beyond the obvious.

1. A Prenuptial Agreement Helps You Test Serious Waters

It's hard talking about serious subjects, even with someone you love. A prenuptial agreement is one of those adult conversations, and how you and your partner react to it can say a lot about how you'll handle other issues in your relationship down the road. Acknowledging that you need to be ready for potentially negative circumstances, from serious injury and job loss to end-of-life planning, is important in a long-term relationship, and a prenuptial agreement is often an indication of how well your relationship handles that stress.

2. It Reduces Overall Stress

Even good relationships can only handle so much stress, and though it might seem counterintuitive, prenuptial agreements actually reduce the overall stress on a relationship. As Davidson Fraese points out, nailing down specifics eliminates that "what if?" feeling, and provides concrete answers for many of the questions about your future. Emergencies are much less scary when you already have a plan, and you know what's going to happen in the event that particular emergency happens.

3. It Keeps Business Ownership Separate (As Well As Finances)

When most people think of prenuptial agreements, they tend to think in terms of cash, and maybe property like cars, houses, etc. However, if you own controlling portions of stock, or partial interests in businesses, then your spouse may end up with some of that in a traditional divorce proceeding. So in this case a prenuptial agreement helps keep your business partners and employees clear of potential blow back from a future divorce, as Go Banking Rates points out.

Conclusion

For more information about marriage and divorce, simply contact us today!

Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights When the Biological Parent Doesn't Consent

Friday, September 25, 2020

While there are a number of benefits to a stepparent adopting their stepchildren, the process is not an easy one. A crucial step in the process before it can be made official is for the biological parent to consent to the adoption by surrendering their parental rights. Yet, too often the biological parent does not consent. If that is the case, can the adoption proceed?

If the biological parent does not consent to a stepparent adoption of their child and refuses to surrender their parental rights, you must seek to terminate those rights. This can be done by exploring three key avenues.

Abandonment

If you have an uninvolved biological parent, their rights can be easily terminated. If the parent has not communicated or financially supported the child for over a year, they qualify as having abandoned the child and will lose their rights.

Unfit as a Parent

If you choose to try to terminate parental rights through proving they are an unfit parent, the courts will hold a fitness hearing. They will examine various factors that go into this where in you can present evidence to support their unfit nature as a parent. In order to terminate parental rights this way, you must prove that they are abusive, neglectful, mentally unfit, addicted to substances, or have failed to visit for a certain amount of time. If the biological parent is incarcerated and will be for a long length of time, this can also qualify.

Proven Lack of Paternity

Specific to fathers of children, if the mother can prove that the child is not really the child of their supposed biological father, then that person will no longer have their innate parental rights. This can be quickly done by a quick paternity test.

Learn More About Stepparent Adoption

If you are attempting to adopt your stepchild or are having any other family law issues, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you navigate these difficult waters.

Who Pays for a Child's Health Insurance?

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Affordable Care Act states that all children under the age of 18 must be covered by health insurance. However, that is not always as simple as it sounds, especially for divorcing parents. In many cases, the child will also be covered by the health insurance that a parent may get through their work. Even if the parents are divorced, the children will still be covered by the health insurance of choice or if the non-custody holding parent only has health insurance. Unfortunately, if neither parent has health insurance through their work, the coverage becomes a little more complex.

A Judge Decides

If neither parent can cover health insurance for a child post-divorce from their job, they will have to buy health insurance for their child. Unfortunately, this can be costly – as much as $1,000 per month. Who covers this cost? While mediation can negotiate splitting costs or help decide the paying party, if you take it to court, a judge will make the decision simple.

Healthcare for the child, under the eyes of the judge, is necessary for the support of the child. As such, it will typically be factored into child support payments. This means that the custody-holding parent will likely be responsible for finding health insurance for their child, but the support-paying parent will be paying for it with their monthly support payments.

This is not an ideal situation for the support-paying parent. Health insurance is expensive and the support payer may not be convinced that their huge support payment is really going to solid health insurance. However, if it is discovered that the custody-holding parent is not being aboveboard, they can be taken to court for it.

Learn More About Children's Health Insurance

Are you going through a divorce or have any other family law issue? We can help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get the best possible results.

Can Child Support Agreements Be Made Outside of Court?

Friday, September 11, 2020

For many, the costs of divorce and separation are prohibitive. No one wants to go to court, and no one really wants to pays the court their fees for their service or for legal representation in the courtroom. However, much of divorce and child support negotiation can be done outside of the courtroom to keep things affordable.

In a Courtroom

There is no requirement that says child support and parenting plans need to be figured out in the courtroom in front of a judge. Often, you will want your lawyer to help suggest what is fair in terms of child support, but much of everything else can be figured out between the two parents outside of the courtroom.

Unfortunately, when it comes to child support agreements, you can't escape the need for a judge. Once a parenting plan and child support agreement has been figured out between two parents, it will need to be presented to a judge for their approval. When it comes to child support, the first priority of the judge is the well-being of your child. As such, they will make sure the agreement looks fair and it good interest to the child. They will then approve or reject it appropriately.

This is a necessary step, but while it may be an extra cost to you, it is to your benefit. Having a judge approve your support agreement will make it legally binding. If your ex-spouse violates it, then you can take legal action against them. This is why you want to make sure as many bases as possible are covered in the agreement.

Learn More About Making Child Support Agreements Outside of Court

Are you preparing to go through a divorce or have some other family law issue? We can help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get the best possible results.