Family Law Blog

Signs a Child Needs Professional Therapy Following Parental Divorce

Saturday, July 13, 2019

child thinking

Children are always affected by divorce. Fortunately, the majority of kids whose parents' divorce work through the difficult emotions and grow into functional adults. Some children, however, suffer greatly when their parents dissolve their union. They could become overly stressed, angry, depressed, extremely shy and clingy and/or likely to self-harm. These young ones need professional help from counselors experienced in working with minors of divorced parents. There are many signs to alert parents that their children need therapy. Quicker action tends to result in the best outcomes. Here are common cues that a child needs help:

  • Expressions of sadness and/or depression that can include extensive crying, moping, demonstrating a flat affect, sleeping too much or not enough, changing in eating habits
  • Personality alterations such as a generally calm child becoming anxious, an obedient child suddenly acting out, or a reversion to "babyhood", acting much younger than actual age
  • Asking questions that reveal feelings of guilt, anger or fear
  • Engaging in compulsive behavior such as performing rituals like changing clothes more than once a day, counting things such as the number of peas on their plates or chronic reordering of possessions
  • Rapidly changing moods; happy to sad, anger to laughter or vocal to silent in a short space of time
  • Neglecting relationships with friends and siblings, might turn down invitations to activities normally enjoyed
  • Slipping grades, behavioral issues in school and/or missing classes or not turning in assignments
  • Frequent physical complaints such as stomach ailments and sore throats

A minor might display multiple signs of needing professional therapy. Once an alert occurs, take your child to a qualified therapist who can assess the need for treatment. Share your concerns with your ex, but, remember, if you are the custodial parent, you do not need your former spouse's permission to obtain psychological help for your offspring. To learn more about handling children's concerns after a divorce, including legal issues, please contact us.

Five Tips for Co-Parenting

Friday, July 05, 2019

Parenting is never easy. When in the middle of a divorce, the situation becomes much more difficult. Here are some suggestions for how to navigate the tricky road of co-parenting.

Stay Civil

Although civility can be difficult when there is bad blood between spouses, it is vitally important.  Almost nothing is more damaging to children than having parents talk negatively about each other in front of them. Additionally, try to refrain from bad-mouthing your spouse to other people. You will both need to interact with certain people that remain involved in your children's lives. If you have spoken poorly about your ex to those people, it will only make those interactions more difficult. 

Be Consistent

The more consistency between you and your ex the better. A divorce is a very difficult transition for children. Consistency between households will help them adapt to the new situation more successfully. Attempt to follow the same basic rules and adhere to similar values when it comes to the children. 

Work Together

Communicate with your ex as much as is necessary for your children's well-being. Successful co-parenting is impossible without reasonably effective communication. Children are not stupid. They know when their parents are at odds and it will likely make them more anxious. If you only look out for your own self-interests, the kids will lose.

Value Both Parents

You and your ex have a common goal: the health and happiness of your children. This is not a competition for their love. Unless there is a good reason (e.g., abuse, neglect), make sure both parents are getting significant time with the children. It is important for the kids to develop a relationship with each parent individually. Children need their parents in their life; they possess enough love for both of you.

Create A Parenting Agreement

The sooner you can work out financial and custody arrangements the better. In a time of uncertainty, people need structure. Parenting agreements provide a roadmap for each parent to follow. They also help establish expectations for the children and ease their concerns. If this cannot be done between parents on their own, mediators and lawyers can help facilitate the process. 

At Jamra & Jamra we want to help you deal with the difficulties of divorce. Please contact us today for all your family law needs.


Prenuptial Agreements Can Be Hard To Talk About, But Necessary

Friday, June 28, 2019

In today's day and age, most people have heard of a prenuptial agreement. Essentially it's a contract that two people enter into before they get married that outlines how their financial assets will be divided in the event of a divorce (or in the event of a death, since some agreements cover this as well according to How Stuff Works).

Talking about these things is not exactly the height of romance. But couples who make responsible decisions now, are the ones who reap the benefits of those decisions later.

If You Don't Decide, Then Someone Else Will

Facing adversity together, and seeing each other through tough decisions, can make you stronger as a couple. More importantly, though, if you don't make decisions about these matters then someone else is going to. In this way, it's a lot like what happens if you or your spouse end up on life support... you hope it doesn't happen, but that doesn't mean you don't want all the paperwork signed and dated beforehand in case it does come to that.

Because if things go well, you'll never have to worry about getting divorced. But if it turns out to be necessary, and you don't have a prenuptial agreement, now it falls onto the decision makers in your local jurisdictions. This can drag the process out much longer, and it often means that you now have to do things in ways that neither of you agrees with. You may not even have the ability to make certain decisions, depending on where you were married.

Prenuptial agreements solve so many issues, and take the stress out of already stressful situations. Not only that, but if you're not secure enough as a couple to go through that process, then you probably need it the most.

For more information on prenuptial agreements, and what they can do for your relationship, simply contact us today!


When Co-Parenting Is Not An Option

Thursday, June 13, 2019

mother and son

When co-parenting is not an option for whatever reason, whether it is because of domestic violence, child abuse, or maybe addiction, you are on your own. One word can kill your chances at happiness and having peace of mind. It is called guilt, and it will make your life miserable. It will also have an affect on your parenting abilities.

Most divorced parents feel like they have failed as a parent to some degree. That guilt will surface time and time again in ways you would never suspect, but if you are aware of it, you can eliminate it from your new life as a single parent. 

Here are three ways you can eliminate guilt and make your new beginning a positive experience for both you and your children. 

1. Depriving yourself so your children will have more is a big mistake. You have as much right to happiness as your children. Don't give up your bedroom because it is bigger. Don't be a chauffeur if it makes your life harder, and don't spend your last money to give your children things they don't need. You need to give to yourself and do more for yourself because you are just as deserving. 

2. Don't try to be both a mom and a dad. You can't be both. Your kids will need a positive male role model, so look to your brother, uncle, cousin, father, and even a teacher for that positive male influence. You will be surprised at how well received and appreciated this will be. There are other people in your children's lives that can offer emotional support besides you. 

3. Pull together and work as a team. Everyone should pitch in to take care of the home front. Teaching your children how to be self-sufficient will help them greatly when they transition into adulthood. They might not like it now, but your children will be grateful for these lessons when they become adults.

 You can call with any questions or concerns about your divorce so please  contact us

Are At-Home DNA Test Admissible in Court?

Saturday, June 08, 2019

dna test

Whether you want to determine paternity or use your own DNA to prove something else, you may think to turn to a number of DNA testing kits that are sold to use as evidence in your family law case. These kits allow you to test DNA in the comfort of your own home, but unfortunately, the results of these kits won't hold up in court.

Even in family law court, which is not considered as serious as criminal court, a test needs to be legally admissible. Home DNA tests are not considered admissible in court. The primary concern is the test itself could have been tainted. Outside factors could have affected the test results because they were not handled in the correct manner.

Of course, the court may also suspect that you tampered with the test results. What it to stop you from using another's DNA and claiming it for your own? In official DNA tests, the chain of custody must remain unbroken to ensure the validity and authenticity of the test. With at-home DNA kits, there is no chain of custody, so literally anything could have happened.

If your family law case does hinge on DNA test results, you can take the at home tests to confirm the DNA. However, you cannot use those tests in court. Instead, you will need to recommend a DNA test to the court to confirm the results in an official capacity. So this doesn't mean your DNA results are a bust, you just need to go through the correct channels to make those results official.

If you are considering any family law case, be it custody, divorce, or child support, we can help you. Contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can offer in order to get the best results from your case.


Married, Divorced, Married, and Divorced Again – How it Effects The Process

Thursday, May 23, 2019

woman taking ring off finger

Some people just can't stay away from each other. They may have gotten married without thinking, gotten a divorce, realized they were still in love, married again, and years later it is divorce time yet again for one reason or another. For some, remarriage may last forever, but if it dissolves into divorce again, does this have any effect?

The honest truth is if you are divorcing someone that you divorced before, it may actually make the process faster. The asset division from the previous divorce can be withheld, so this means that they only need to divide that which was new in the second marriage. However, it can create some unique problems.

For example, if you got the house in your first divorce, you could argue that it is not marital property in the second divorce. However, your spouse could argue the exact opposite. Both parties may technically be correct and a judge will have to sort that out. Furthermore, they may want the house in trade for something else. Is it possible for it to be a bargaining chip?

Thankfully, while the division of the actual stuff may be more complicated in some regards, alimony will typically stay the same. You won't receive the same amount from the first divorce, however. Instead, the court will examine the two separate incomes. These may have changed since the first divorce happened, so someone may be paying or paying less depending on their income. Furthermore, if a spouse is now financially independent on their own, there may no alimony payment at all.

One divorce is messy enough, but if you are divorcing a person that you already divorced in the past, you know you need help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get the best possible outcome. It's okay to be confused in loved, but don't let a marriage ruin your whole life.

How Custody is Determined When Parents Live in Different Countries

Friday, May 17, 2019

When two parents divorce, they often want to live out their own dreams. For some, that could be moving to another country. However, just because they live elsewhere does not mean they also want to completely abandon their parental rights. The question remains, how does child custody work across borders?

As you can imagine, divorce where one parent is a foreign national or intending to move across borders is one of the messiest cases in family law. It could be that they take your child across the border and you never see them again. However, if the parent were intending to disappear your child, they probably wouldn't bother going to family court.

When hearing child custody cases that intend to take a child over the border for primary custody, the judge will take many things into consideration. Some may even grant custody to a foreign parent if they believe it is in the best interests of the child. For example, if they are living in a two bedroom apartment in the United States, but they would live in a grand mansion in Canada, that would be in the better interests of the child. Furthermore, the judge will also take into consideration the presence of extended family. They believe it is important to have a strong support network and will consider the parent that does have one more strongly.

If you are fighting for custody, it is also important that you bring up any potential issues you think may arise. For example, if the country has bad relations with the United States, the parent could sue for custody there and actually win. This means they could overwrite a U.S. custody ruling. Furthermore, if there is no international treaty, it may be difficult to get a child that goes there back if the parent decides to keep them.

If you are fighting for custody with a foreign parent and need help, contact us today.

Will Lying in a Custody Case Cause Perjury Charges?

Thursday, May 09, 2019

judge using mallet in courtroom

Lying in court is a dangerous game. Those who even think about it know that they can be charged with contempt or even perjury as a punishment that was made just for those who lie under oath. Unfortunately, criminal court is not the same as family court. If you take the stand in criminal court as a witness, telling blatant lies will have you facing criminal charges of perjury. However, as a civil court, if you lie in front of a judge in a custody case, it is unlikely you will face the same criminal charges.

While the charges of contempt and perjury were put in place to keep people honest, they are only used in criminal trials where another person's freedom depends on witness testimony. While the custody of your children can feel similar, the courts do not consider it the same.

So if your ex-spouse decides to lie in your custody case, what does happen to them? Well, they probably won't be charged with perjury. Instead, it will be up to your lawyer to provide proof of their lies, and this in turn will likely have civil consequences. If they are caught in their lies, it will reflect negatively on them. Depending on the extent of their lies, they may face harsher punishments. For example, if an ex-spouse lied about their income, how much the work, and accused you of abuse, these multiple lies will probably lose them the custody case even if they are fit parents. Lying in court for their gain does not look great to any judge.

Are you starting a custody case and believe that your spouse may lie in front of a judge? Contact us today to see how the Jamra & Jamra Law Firm can help you get the best possible results so you can keep seeing your children.


Five Ways to Get Over the Ex

Thursday, May 02, 2019

So, the person you spent months or years with ended up not being right for you. Bummer. Perhaps they broke your heart, or you just couldn't handle some of their behaviors. Divorcing someone you were in a relationship with is never fun, but eventually, you have to move on in life. You might be asking yourself how to do such a thing when your life feels like it has been turned upside down. So, here is a list of five ways to move on after a divorce!

1. Do all of the things that you didn't when you were with the ex. They didn't like the beach? Well, it's time for a beach day! They hated Italian food? On tonight's menu are Zuppa and lasagne! Enjoy all of the little things you had to give up to make your ex-partner happy. 

2. Date. Yes I know, it's probably the last thing you want to do. Unless you plan to stay single forever then you need to get back in the saddle. Hopefully, you won't have to kiss too many frogs to find your prince or princess. 

3. Move somewhere you always have wanted to live. If there is nothing tying you to your current location, then why stay there? Maybe you moved to that city to be near your now ex, but really you want to live somewhere warmer, colder or less expensive? By all means, do it! 

4. Reconnect with friends and family. Everyone knows that a marriage takes up a lot of your time, and that is okay. Other relationships may be put on the back burner during your marriage but now as a single person, you can rekindle those relationships. Haven't seen grandma in a while? Shame on you! Get over there as soon as possible!

5. Go out as a party of one and become comfortable with your own company. When was the last time you went to a movie by yourself? Never? How about going to the gym or a concert sans spouse? It is time to get out there and enjoy yourself, by yourself. This is important, as it will help you become more comfortable with who you are as a person and you may develop interests you never knew you had!

Divorce is definitely not fun, there's no doubt about that. Sooner or later it's time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back out into the world. Hopefully, these five suggestions will help you do just that. Feel free to contact us for further help with your separation and divorce.

5 Methods of Collecting Past Due Child Support

Friday, April 26, 2019

Man handing over cash to woman

After a divorce, finances are often tight. Single parents often rely on child support payments to make ends meet. What options do you have if your ex stops paying court-ordered child support?

Under the federal Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, districts attorneys and state's attorneys have the authority to collect arrears child support on custodial parents' behalf.

States have several options to collect child support payments in arrears, including:

Wage Garnishment

Child support arrangements often carry an order for the support payments to be garnished from the obligor's wages.  However, this may not be as effective if the non-custodial parent changes jobs frequently or is unemployed.

Tax Refunds

If a tax refund is owed to the debtor parent, the custodial parent may be able to intercept the tax refund to collect the support payments owed. If the obligor has remarried, only his or her portion of the tax refund can be redirected. The obligor's new spouse is entitled to keep their full tax refund.

Contempt of Court

Non-custodial parents who do not make court-ordered child support payments can face a contempt-of-court charge. Someone found guilty of contempt can be subjected to fines or even jail time.

Revoking a License

If child support is delinquent, another method of enforcement is to have the state revoke the obligor's driver's license. Other professional licenses may also be withheld—for example, licenses for physicians, attorneys, or those working in trades such as plumbing. Business licenses may also be included in some cases. The option to withhold a license may not be available in every state.

Property Liens

When child support is in default, states may place liens on any real estate or automobiles owned by the obligor parent. A lien prevents the asset from being sold until the delinquent payments are made.

If you need help collecting child support in arrears, contact us to set up a consultation.