Family Law Blog

Co-Parenting Tips When You Don't Live Near Your Children

Monday, January 06, 2020

Co-parenting is hard when you live close to your ex-spouse. Add in some distance (a few hours), and it can become downright difficult.

It is a challenge whether you are the one who has your children or you feel like the one who was left behind. However, you have to find a new way to co-parent together. Here are some tips to help if you don't live near your children.

Stay in Touch Regularly

You should try to schedule phone calls and video chats regularly. You may want to do this weekly or even daily, depending on you and your children's schedules. Indeed, never miss this because you and your children need this time together.

Ask Questions

Make sure that you ask questions and really listen to the answers. Initiate conversation with your children by asking them about their day, school, and other events that are going on with their life. If they have something special going on, ask them to tell you all about it.

It is even helpful to learn all about the people in your children's lives. Find out the names of their neighbors, teachers, and friends at school. Ask about them on a regular basis, so that your children really feel like you are involved in their lives.

Get Together

Find ways to get together with your children. Though you may not be able to visit them every weekend, if you can occasionally travel to spend some time with them, it will mean a lot to them. If they are in a sport and they have a big competition, find a way to be there.

Conclusion

Though it is hard to be away from your children for long periods of time, you need to stay connected with them. Call and video chat with them regularly. Learn about their life and ask questions to find out more. Then, travel to them when you can. They will really appreciate seeing you there!

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

What Happens When Divorced Parents Disagree on Vaccinations?

Monday, January 06, 2020

Vaccines are highly contentious in the media these days. As they involve children, it isn't so far-fetch to believe that vaccinations could leak into your child custody case. However, whether or not your spouse needs to vaccinate your child isn't as simple as assigning parenting time. Indeed, it will need to be addressed if you disagree with their decision.

Joint Custody

If your state already has laws mandating that a child needs to be vaccinated if they are to attend public school, then it makes the case more clear. Instead, it could then become an issue of whether you want your child to be homeschooled or not. However, if there is no such law, then it becomes a case of parental rights. If you have joint custody, then you, even as the non-primary custody holder, still have a say in your child's medical and religious upbringing. As vaccines are denied for either religious or medical objections, you can maintain that you do or do not want them immunized in a divorce case.

Disobedience

If the court rules in favor to vaccinate your children, which is likely due to rampant outbreaks of wholly preventable diseases, and your spouse does not comply, they may be looking at several days of jail time for disobedience. You, as a custody holder, are also in your right to take your child to receive vaccinations when your parenting time comes around. In this case, your ex-spouse cannot go after you in court.

Conclusion

While vaccinations are the hot issue right now, if you are looking at divorce or a complicated child custody case of any kind, we can help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you navigate a complicated divorce case so you can get the best possible outcome.

Can Martial Misconduct Affect Your Divorce?

Monday, January 06, 2020

There is a certain belief that your conduct in a marriage can affect your divorce. It certainly can, but not often in the way we believe. As a no-fault divorce state, you need not declare any bad actions in terms of your reason for a divorce in most areas. Indeed, it doesn't matter if one spouse was adulterous or if you just stopped clicking, the state doesn't care. However, this situation is often confused with marital misconduct.

Financial Outcome

It is true you don't need a reason to get divorce in most states, but if there has been marital misconduct in a marriage, it can affect the financial outcome. When two people divorce, the courts like to keep asset and property division fairly equal between them. If the two parties can reach an agreement outside of court, some asset division can be unequal between the two, but still approved if not completely outrageous.

Assets

However, if there was misconduct in a marriage, it can affect how the assets are divided. It is important to remember that marital misconduct in regards to unequal asset division is not meant to be a punishment, but rather to reduce what has been an added burden on the spouse that acted in good faith during the marriage.

This means that a common marital misconduct situation - adultery - would not automatically mean that the spouse that didn't cheat would get more. However, if the non-cheating spouse can prove the adulterous spouse showered their extramarital partner with expensive gifts that put a burden on the family financially, it will be likely that the courts will give the spouse acting in good faith a larger share of the assets in the divorce.

Yes, There Is an Effect

So in truth, marital misconduct does affect the divorce. If you can prove that their actions were wasteful with marital assets or placed a stronger burden on you in the marriage, you may be able to get more when the remaining assets are split.

If you have a spouse that has been cheating, gambling, or that have an addiction and you are considering a divorce, contact us today. As veterans of family law, Jamra & Jamra can help you get through this difficult process.

Are Your Spouse’s Debts Split With You?

Monday, January 06, 2020

When divorcing, you may be more concerned with who gets various items or a decent share of the monetary assets. However, you should be just as concerned with the debts because, unfortunately, they can be your debts as well. Many who are divorcing forget that marital debt is split the same as monetary assets.

Marital Property

In most states, anything accrued during a marriage is considered marital property. This includes your debt. So while you may be fine with splitting your finances, you should also be prepared for the reality that you will receive a split of the debt as well after your divorce.

Before Marriage

However, in order for the debt to be split, it has to fit the right criteria. For example, if your spouse went to college before you were married, their student loans would not be considered marital debt. They accrued it before marriage and thus they are solely responsible for it. However, if they solely racked up large credit card debt during the marriage, you would both be responsible for it because it would be considered marital property.

Specific Criteria

There are circumstances in which you will be able to argue that marital debt is not actually marital debt and, thus, should not be split. For example, if you can prove that your partner racked up a large amount of debt frivolously or without your knowledge, the courts may hold them solely responsible. The most obvious example may be a gambling debt. However, so long as you can prove that the debt was created without your knowledge and without your benefit, anything can fit this criteria. Thus, saving you from a large split of the debt.

Conclusion

Are you going through a divorce and need help? Contact us today so the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you navigate this difficult process and get the best possible results.

Changing Your Mind After the Divorce Papers Are Signed

Monday, January 06, 2020

In most cases, once the divorce papers are signed, there is really no going back. It is difficult for couples to reconcile once a party has gone through the trouble of having divorce papers drawn up, but it is not impossible. However, once the process has been started, can you stop it?

Modification

The answer depends on why and when you want to stop it. For example, if you want to stop the divorce filing to change the terms of the divorce papers, you have limited options. If the court has already approved them, you will need to file for a modification or appeal.

Cancellation

If you want to cancel the divorce papers after filing, then you have more options. If your divorce is still in the very early stages, you are within your right to withdraw your divorce petition. If the petition has not been filed by the county clerk yet, you can simply withdraw it and end your divorce before it even starts.

Withdrawal

If you cannot withdraw your petition from the county clerk because it has already been filed, you will need to file papers for voluntary dismissal. This can be done at any point during the divorce process and involves filing forms that ask the court to dismiss the case. If you and your spouse have reconciled, this can be done. However, it does involve a filing fee, but you do not have to give any explanation for why you want your divorce case to be dismissed.

Conclusion

Are you considering a divorce? This is not something should be done frivolously, and there are fees involved to prevent that. However, if you are serious and ready to file, contact us today to see what we can do for you. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra is dedicated to helping you get the best possible outcome from your family law cases.

What to Do When You Are Both Violating a Custody Order

Monday, December 02, 2019

Typically, you hear about one parent rather habitually violating the custody order. This gives the other parent the higher moral and legal ground. As such, that parent would then consult with their lawyer and take the other parent to court. Yet, it doesn't always work out that way. What if one parent starts to violate the custody agreement and the other parent starts to violate it back? There is no one with high moral or legal ground here, you are both breaking the law, so what now?

Your first step should be to consult with your lawyer. They will most definitely tell you to cease that retaliatory action right away. You then may have to wait to further establish your ex-spouse's habitual custody violations before you can take them to court.

Custody Agreement

Alternatively, there is a more peaceful option. If you can both agree, you can head to court, not for litigation, but to modify your custody agreement. Not all custody violations are necessarily done maliciously. Sometimes, what was put down on paper doesn't really work out in reality or circumstances change. If you believe you can amiably set a new schedule, even if both of you have technically violated this agreement, you can still head to court and ask for modification. If both parties agree to a new schedule, the court will approve it quite quickly.

Learn More About Violating a Custody Order

If you or your ex-spouse is violating your custody order that was set by the court, it is a problem, and it is against the law. If you want to get things in order, you should contact us right away so we can advise you on the best course of action to take. In some cases, mediation or even just a letter to the parent in violation could be enough to get your life in order, so let us help you explore all your options.

Does Moving Out Affect Property Division?

Friday, November 22, 2019

Divorce is one of those high tension scenarios that often make it one of the worst times in a person's life. As this is such a stressful time, it is no surprise that one person often decides to move out. However, does this make a difference in the case of property division? Does abandoning your house mean you lose assets?

With Children

In divorce with children, moving out during the process can be harmful to custody. It shows that daily interaction with your children isn't such a high priority for you. However, what about when you don't have children and are just worried about the property division? While moving out doesn't hurt you quite as much in this respect, often you can shoot yourself in the foot by doing it.

Depends On What You Leave Behind

You may be in a hurry to get away from the fights, and this may drive you out with nothing but a suitcase full of clothes. This is the main problem. If you moved out fully prepared with your financial documents, family heirlooms, and anything that is separate, non-marital property, then you would be fine. However, if you leave all that behind, it can become a hostage or a target for your spouse. Thus, they essentially have control over everything in that home as you have abandoned.

While big items like real estate can't be so easily disappeared, small items are less likely to be noticed by the courts. Don't be surprised if things start to disappear.

Contact Your Lawyer

If you believe that your spouse is maliciously hiding or selling off your assets inside a house, you need to contact your lawyer right away. They can help walk you through what you need to do to protect your property.

Conclusion

If you are starting divorce proceedings or have other family law problems, contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can do to help you make the process go as smoothly as possible.

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.