Family Law Blog

Will Adultery Affect Spousal Support in California?

Friday, May 18, 2018

There are many preconceived notions about divorce that we often learn from TV and other media. One of those notions is that if you cheat on your spouse, you are going to pay for it in the divorce. However, while this may be true in some states, it is not necessarily true in California.

California, like many states, is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. This means that nobody is to blame for the divorce no matter what their actions were. What they did will not affect the granting of the divorce or how much you get for it.

However, while a judge cannot take adultery or other bad behavior into consideration when it comes to whether or not to award spousal support, they will look at your financial situation. As an example, let us say that a husband and wife are divorcing because of adultery. The husband actually earns much less than his wife, which makes him eligible for earning spousal support. However, the husband was adulterous and before divorce litigation is over, he moves in with his new mistress. This act will cost him heavily, not because of his sleazy behavior, but because his financial circumstances have changed.

Spousal support is meant to very literally "support" your "spouse" after a divorce. If the husband in the above example earned less but was now supported by his mistress, he may now not be able to collect spousal support because he doesn't actually need any support.

This means if you are considering a divorce in California, the judge might not really care if your spouse cheated on you. However, they will care about the state of everyone's finances. In adultery cases, judges will also highly scrutinize a couple's finances to see if they discover one party is already in another relationship. Often, they suspect that finances may have been moved, hidden, or given as expensive gifts to a new paramour. If you are going through a divorce and need help, contact us today.

Can You Marry While a in a Domestic Partnership?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Often when choosing to solidify a relationship in the eyes of the law, people either choose a domestic partnership or marriage. While domestic partnership allows many of the same benefits as marriage, couples are not entitled to every benefit that comes with being married. While domestic partnerships are open to everyone, not just specifically to same-sex couples, many same-sex couples took advantage of what benefits they could get before marriage equality went through. Now that same-sex marriage is federally recognized, many same-sex domestic partners are wondering the same thing - can we get married without dissolving our partnership?

The simple answer is yes. If you are in a domestic partnership, even if from another state, you can now marry without first having to dissolve the partnership. It's kind of like upgrading to the full package if you choose to do so. However, this of course means you need to marry the person you are in a domestic partnership with. If you were a domestic partner with someone else, you will still need to dissolve that relationship before you can marry another. This is essentially much like a traditional divorce in process, although many find it much easier.

Once you have made the decision to marry, even if you are already in a domestic partnership, the process is still much like if you are still in no legally-binding relationship. You must apply for a marriage license at the County Clerk's Office and have it officiated within the time limit.

Thinking of Ending a Domestic Partnership?

While marrying in a domestic partnership is easy, not every domestic partnership ends in elevating the relationship further. In fact, sometimes these relationships end divorce. Unfortunately, just because you are in a domestic partnership doesn't mean dissolving it is going to necessarily be easier than a divorce from a marriage. If you are looking to dissolve a domestic partnership and need help, contact us today.

3 Financial Tips to Follow Before You Finalize Your Divorce

Friday, May 04, 2018


A divorce can suddenly flip your entire world upside down. You could go from having a dual income or relying on another person for support to having to fend for yourself with no assistance. Divorce can be an emotional time, but it's important that you take steps while you can to give yourself a leg up on the rest of your life. Here are some financial tips you should follow ahead of finalizing your divorce.

Get a Separate Bank Account

Many couples have their finances intertwined in a way that can make starting over after a divorce difficult. If you have always shared a bank account with your spouse, you need to open your own account. That's the easy part, the hard part may be getting your fair share of the money out of the shared account. This is where having a lawyer on your side can come in handy. He or she can make your case to the court as to how much of the total shared assets you should receive. Even if you don't think you're going to get that much, you still need to set up your own bank account and start putting money away as soon as possible.

Create a Budget

If you have always let the other person in your relationship handle your finances, the time to step up and be more responsible is right now. Figure out about how much money you expect to have after the divorce, including any support payments. Your lawyer can help give you an estimate of what might be possible, but always plan for the worst case scenario. Keep in mind that you may have expenses besides just your rent or car payment like utilities and an entertainment fund. These extraneous expenses that may have previously been covered by your spouse will now be yours to handle, so budget conservatively to plan for all contingencies.

Talk to Your Kids and Set Expectations

Divorce can be especially difficult on children. Even more so if their lifestyle is going to drastically change. It's possible that neither parent will be able to afford the same standard of living they had when they were a dual income family. Talk with your kids about the divorce. Be upbeat, but set expectations that money might be a little tight for a while. Don't let your emotions get the best of you here. Spoiling your kids with toys is not going to win them over in the long run. Be prudent about your financial decisions so that your family is secure.

Divorce can leave both spouses in a financial bind when some or all of the support they had counted on goes away. Be ready for the day the divorce is finalized by setting up an independent bank account, making a budget and talking to your kids about what you can and can't afford post-divorce. For more best practices, contact a local attorney today.

How an Attorney Can Help You Receive the Best Spousal Support Payment Possible

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Going through a divorce can be a very challenging situation.  For those that are going through a divorce and have been dependent on the income of their spouse, receiving a fair spousal support settlement is extremely important.  For those that are going through a divorce, hiring an attorney to ensure they receive proper representation is very important.  A divorce attorney can provide a range of services.  

Consultation

When you hire a divorce attorney to represent you, the first thing that they will be able to provide you with is a consultation on your situation.  The attorney will be able to review all aspects of your divorce and personal financial situation.  This will include reviewing sources of income for both parties, current assets, and expenses.  The attorney will then be able to explain what you are entitled to and what the forthcoming legal process will look like.

Negotiations

Since a divorce is a very challenging situation, avoiding going to trial is always a very good option. In most cases, the attorney will be able to handle all of the alimony and other spousal support discussions outside of the courtroom.  Your attorney will not only focus on ensuring you receive a fair spousal support payment for a period of time, but also receive long-term coverage including a share of retirement benefits. 

Litigation

If necessary, the attorney will also be able to provide assistance in the courtroom.  This can include building the case, presenting it in front of the judge and jury, and handling any deliberations.  This will ensure that you are prepared for the case and receive the best judgment possible. 

If you are going through a divorce, you should contact us to learn more about the services that we can provide to you.  Beyond making sure that you receive the right alimony settlement, we can also assist with the division of assets, child custody, and other challenges that come with divorce.  


What Happens If I Remarry Before My Divorce is Final?

Friday, April 27, 2018

In most divorce cases, remarriage isn't exactly a problem. Your divorce lawyer will advise you against even dating until the ink is dry on your final divorce papers. So in these cases, remarriage probably won't be an issue since it is likely you don't have a lot of prospects lined up. However, if you were married and your spouse disappeared, will you be forced to be married to them forever if you can't find them?

Some might feel that a marriage doesn't exist if they have not seen their spouse for years and might decide to marry again. However, if they do turn up, this will be classified as bigamy. In California, this is punishable with up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine. Obviously, that is something that you don't wish to suffer through.

Various circumstances can result in you entering a bigamous relationship, so what do you do then? In these cases, the most common defense is the claim that you haven't seen your first spouse for at least five years and believed they were dead. However, if your spouse does turn up, the best defense for bigamy is to quickly have your second marriage annulled so there is no longer an issue. Of course, you then have to go through a divorce with your first spouse and remarriage to your second if you so choose.

Bigamy is typically a very rare circumstance, but it is not completely uncommon. If your spouse runs off on you and you have no way to serve them with divorce papers, it can be frustrating. However, you may still have options. If you are charged with bigamy or need help divorcing a spouse you cannot find, contact us today so the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can talk over your options.

In California, Divorce Can Be Nobody’s Fault

Thursday, April 26, 2018

If you are contemplating a divorce, you may have many reasons for wanting to dissolve your marriage. If you live in California, however, you don't need to sit down and make a laundry list of all the things your spouse did that caused the divorce. There is no need to assign any blame or prove any wrongdoing on the part of your spouse.

The state of California is a "no-fault" divorce state. This means that couples who wish to divorce do not need to show evidence of misbehavior or transgression as the grounds -- the legal reason -- for the divorce. Fault is not a factor. In the majority of divorce cases in California, couples state irreconcilable differences as the grounds for the divorce. What this means is that you and your spouse can state that your marriage is beyond repair and, for that reason, you want to terminate the marriage. The other grounds for divorce in California is incurable insanity.

Each state has its own laws regarding divorce. In California, no divorce can be finalized until six months after the filing. If there is reason to believe that you and your spouse may reconcile, the judge in your case may stop the divorce proceedings for a period of up to thirty days.

While fault is not a factor in terms of the grounds for divorce in California, it can be a consideration for other aspects of a divorce settlement. The California courts can consider fault when making determinations regarding property division or awarding alimony.

Divorce can be complicated. If you have questions regarding the grounds for divorce, or any other aspect of the divorce process, contact us today. The experienced divorce lawyers at Jamra & Jamra work with you every step of the way to ensure the best possible outcome in your situation.


Will I Lose Military Benefits After Divorce?

Thursday, April 05, 2018

If your spouse is in the military and you are considering a divorce, the potential loss of military benefits shouldn't sway your decision. However, because couples often depend on these benefits, it is worthwhile to know what you will lose and what you will keep.

Military Benefits For You and Your Children

If you have dependent children from your marriage, they will still receive military benefits from your ex-spouse. Your children will be able to receive TRICARE health coverage until they are 22 or until they marry.

However, while it doesn't matter how long you were married for children to keep their benefits, it does for you. As an ex-military spouse, you need to consider the 20/20/20 rule when it comes to whether or not you will receive benefits after divorce. This includes:

  • You were married 20 years
  • Your ex-spouse served for 20 years
  • You were married for 20 years of that military service
  • You are not remarried
  • You don't have a health plan through an employer

If all of the above are true, then you can still collect military benefits after a divorce. Under the 20/20/20 rule, you will be allowed full coverage until you are 62 years old or otherwise eligible for Medicare. However, even if you do not fully meet the 20/20/20 rule, such as you were only married for part of their service, you will still receive some limited benefits after divorce.

Are you going through a divorce with a spouse that was in a branch of military service, past or present? Contact us today to see what we can do for you. Military service doesn't so much change the divorce process, but it can affect what benefits you receive after the divorce. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you sort out how you will take care of yourself and your family after the divorce is final.


Vengeful Spouse in a Divorce? How to Protect Yourself

Friday, March 23, 2018

Even if a divorce is a mutual decision, there are very few spouses who take the filing of a divorce very well. A divorce may be like telling them that they failed or lost at something. It may be telling them that they aren't worth staying with. It may simply be telling them that you want half of what they think is theirs. No matter what it is, a soon-to-be ex-spouse can be a vengeful one. It doesn't even matter if some of what they do may technically be illegal, if it hurts you, they still may do it.

So when you have an angry spouse in a divorce, what can you do to protect yourself?

Monitor Your Finances

Until the divorce is final, it is likely you will still share much of your finances as if you were happily married. While removing assets from these accounts is illegal, you might find that your spouse is making a few more withdrawals than normal. Be sure to monitor them and if you are suspicious, bring it up to your lawyer.

Credit Freeze

It is highly beneficial to consider a credit freeze during a divorce if possible. While you may need that credit, a freeze does prevent your spouse from opening accounts in your name and otherwise trying to tank your credit.

Consider Staying in the Family Home

In many cases, one spouse may move out as soon as the divorce is filed. However, by leaving your spouse alone in the home can be a good way to lose all your physical property. Furthermore, if you have children it may be best to maintain a physical presence as well. This assures them that they are not the cause and gives your spouse less opportunity to poison them against you if they saw fit.

Are you going through a divorce and suspect your soon-to-be ex-spouse of being particularly malicious against you? Contact us today to see what we can do as your divorce lawyer to protect you.


Does a Father Have to Pay Child Support If The Children Aren't His?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

When a couple divorces and they have children, in most cases the father will be expected to pay child support to the mother. In these cases, the mother will be the primary custody holder of the children and it is the father's duty to continue to support the children financially, at least in part. However, what happens to divorcing couples where the father is not the biological father of the children in that family?

The law states that if the children of a dissolving marriage are not related to you by blood, then you are under no obligation to pay child support for those children. However, even if one child is not related to the divorcing father and another child is, the father will still have to pay child support for his biological children.

There can be a few small hurdles to overcome for a divorcing father that does not want to pay child support for children that are not biologically his. Often this can include simply taking a paternity test requested by the court. This is most common when the child's birth certificate does not have a father's name on it or even has your name on it. However, if you persist that you are not the father, the paternity test can prove this true or false. If the child's birth certificate does have another man's name on it, the paternity test may not be necessary, though it can easily clear up any arguments.

Unfortunately, if you argue against paternity and child support, this will mean that you do not have any legal authority or right to visitation of the child. If you fight against child support, there will be no chance of visitation enforced by the law. Your ex-spouse may be able to allow it, but that is unlikely.

Are you going through a divorce and don't want to pay child support for children that are not your own? Contact us today to see what we can do for your case.


Had Children Before Marriage? You're Perfect for a Pre-Nup

Friday, March 16, 2018

To many couples looking towards marrying, a pre-nup is pretty close to a taboo word to bring up. Some feel like it is basically saying that there is a chance that your love might die and you want to plan for when it does. However, this may be true for couples that are planning to get married and officially start their lives, but not all commitments work that way. In many couples these days, often couples end up having children before they even think of marriage, and this makes them a perfect candidate for a pre-nup if they decide to tie the knot.

When you have children before marriage, it lends a certain amount of practicality and logistics to your relationship. You might want to provide better for your kids so you choose a smaller, cheaper wedding. You might understand that your marriage might not last, so you choose a pre-nup.

For many parents that choose to get married after they have children, they will always choose the route that is best for their children, and this includes if that marriage doesn't work out. By crafting a pre-nup when you are still very much in love, both sides of the couple can make decisions with a clear, unclouded head. In this pre-nup they can put certain provisions, such as terms for child custody inside that can make it so both parents get a fair split of not just the assets, but the children as well.

While many may tout "doing things out of order," it has been found that having children before getting married actually has a better chance of those marriages lasting since both sides tend to not look at their relationship through rose-colored glasses. If you are a couple that already has children and are looking to officially get married, but still want a pre-nup set in place, contact us today.