Family Law Blog

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.  


Tips to Make Mediation Work

Thursday, April 18, 2019

man and woman going through divorce mediation

Though you may think that you need to go to court to get divorced, the truth is that there is a better way. Mediation can really save you time and money. It could also save your relationship, especially if you are parents. Parents who try mediation are often better co-parents because of it. They didn't spend months fighting through the court system because they found a way to make it work together.  

That being said, it isn't always easy. Here are some tips to make mediation work.

Choose the right mediator. 

Though any mediator will help you through this process, you need to make sure that you find one that you are both comfortable with. You may also want to make sure that he or she has helped others who were in a similar situation as you are. Some specialize in helping those who are dealing with cheating, have children involved, or are in a certain financial situation.

Have all of your paperwork together. 

Getting all of your paperwork together can be tedious. You are going to need information about the mortgage, your health insurance, any retirement accounts, and much more. However, if you don't have them when you come to mediation, it isn't going to help. In order to split up your things, you are going to need the information.

Don't be afraid to take a break. 

There are times when you are talking about things that are going to be hard for you. This is especially true when it comes to figuring out what is best for the children. Your emotions may get the best of you. Don't be afraid to ask for a break so you can compose yourself and try again.

When you are going through mediation, you need to choose the right person to help you through the process. You also need to make sure that you have all of your paperwork in order. If not, it will just slow down the whole process. Then, don't be afraid to take breaks when you need to. It is important so that you can come back refreshed and ready to try again.

Contact us for all of your legal needs. We will be glad to help you through this difficult time.

5 Factors to Consider Before Choosing A Divorce Attorney

Thursday, April 11, 2019

woman signing divorce papers

Once you start thinking about divorce, it pays to stay ahead of the curve. An experienced divorce lawyer will have valuable advice regarding actions you should take long before you file for divorce. This advice can save you time, money and heartache during an extremely stressful time. Retaining the right attorney can make a huge difference in how you fare in your divorce. It's important to shop around and make sure your time, money, and trust is being invested in the right representation. When the stakes are high, make sure you've considered the following factors before you make hiring decisions:

Cost

The first thing you'll want to know is how much the attorney charges. Most divorce attorneys will require a retainer fee and charge by the hour. These fee amounts will ultimately determine who you can reasonably afford to hire. You will want to get an estimate of the total amount you'll end up owing attorney but it's unlikely that he or she will be able to give you an exact figure during an initial consultation.

Experience

The attorney's work experience is a major factor you'll want to evaluate. You'll want an attorney who specializes in divorce and family law matters, as these proceedings have require a unique set of skills. A certification of specialization in family law is reassurance that you're dealing with someone who knows what they're doing. Additionally, each state has its own set of laws dictating divorce, and jurisdictions within a state may have their own local nuances in divorce proceedings. As such, it is important to retain an attorney who is familiar with the state law and the local practices in the county in which you'll file for divorce.

Reputation

One of the best ways to find a good attorney is to see who comes referred. Reach out to friends and family who have gone through the divorce process, ask which attorney they used and find out what their experience was. Even if their recommendations are out of your area or budget, it can be helpful to contact their offices and see if they can refer you to someone who may work for you. After you've spoken with a potential candidate, don't be afraid to do your research and ask around.

Convenience

Convenience shouldn't be a deal breaker in all instances, but you'll want to hire attorney who is easy to get in touch with and whose office isn't located in at unworkable distance. Finding a lawyer whose office is close to home, work, or your kids' school can make life much easier on you down the road.  

Comfort

The final factor may be the most important of them all. You will want to hire an attorney who you can feel comfortable around. Divorce cases are an understandably emotional process. Your attorney is a person who you'll depend on throughout this extremely tumultuous period. This is someone you will need to be excruciatingly honest regarding sensitive topics. As such, your divorce attorney will need to be someone you can trust.

 Going through a divorce is a difficult process. Don't make things any harder on yourself by hiring the wrong divorce attorney. Considering these five factors can help you find the right attorney for you. When you need an honest, experienced, and reputable attorneys handling your divorce, contact the lawyers at Jamra & Jamra today.


Shielding Children From the Effects of Divorce

Friday, April 05, 2019

parents getting divorced arguing with upset child

The disintegration of marriage brings about significant changes in the lives of a couple's children. Divorce can have lasting psychological and emotional impacts on children—but, there are steps that parents can take to alleviate these effects.

A divorce, from a child's perspective, is the crumbling of their most basic foundational structure. Life suddenly becomes confusing and unpredictable. Children may have to cope with two homes, separate holiday celebrations, and the introduction of their parents' new love interests. Their parents' divorce will stand as a major marker in their history. Everything that happens in a child's life will be categorized as a pre-divorce or post-divorce event. 

Emotional Effects

Children coping with a parental divorce may experience a wide range of emotions, including:

• Sadness

• Anger

• Low self-esteem

• Low self-confidence

• Rejection

• Conflicting loyalty

• Sense of fault

For younger children, divorce intensifies parental dependence. To the contrary, it will expedite independence in adolescent-aged children. While young children will revert back to infantile behaviors, like tantrums and thumbsucking, older children will push away from their parents with vigor.

Reducing the Costs of Divorce

The end of a marriage is treacherous to navigate for all parties. There are, however, a number of ways to help reduce the impact on children. With adolescents, the goal is to increase their responsibility to slow their separation from the family unit. For younger kids, the priority should be to establish a routine to restore the structure. A sense of safety comes from predictability in a family. 

It goes without saying, fighting in front of children should be avoided. Emotions are high during a divorce and can be tough to restrain. However, children should not witness their parents insulting or berating one another. This behavior only confirms their fear that the family is falling apart. Emotional issues should be worked out privately with a therapist or counselor. 

Divorce comes with a price—that means financial, emotional, and time costs. There could be extended negotiations for custody of the children, finances, and property. A family lawyer can help resolve disputes amicably. Parents should avoid involving children in financial or property-related disputes.

Behaving with civility will increase a child's confidence in his or her parents' ability to uphold a functioning, loving family. Establishing a routine and providing reassurance are vital to reducing the negative implants of divorce on children.

 

Need Help?

Jamra & Jamra focus exclusively on family law, offering the highest possible degree of attention in your divorce case. For assistance in your family law matters, please contact us today.