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Family Law Blog

Some Child Support Myths Busted

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Child support is frequently misunderstood and, too often, feared. This is understandable since it deals with people's most precious assets - their kids and their money. In reality, the intention of child support is to ensure a child's well-being, in both households.

How well do you understand how child support works? 

MYTH

Given 50/50 custody schedule, there will be no child support payment by either parent.

BUSTED: Child support payments are not based only on the amount of time each parents spends with the child. Additional factors include gross income and certain expenses such as other child support payments or medical bills.

MYTH

The father always pays the child support.

BUSTED: Child support payments may be made by the father or mother and are determined by the amount of time each parent spends with the child, gross income and other eligible expenses.

MYTH

Once a child support amount is set, it never changes.

BUSTED: Child support may be modified when parental circumstances change. Examples include an increase or decrease in income, the birth of additional children, or unemployment.

MYTH

Only the child's parents are eligible to receive child support.

BUSTED: Parents, legal guardians, or any party receiving public assistance for a child may apply for child support.

MYTH

It's no big deal if a child support payment is missed.

BUSTED: Enforcement methods for nonpayment can be severe - driver's license/passport may be suspended or revoked, tax refund can be intercepted and a bank account levied.

MYTH

Dad is not listed on the birth certificate, so he cannot receive or pay child support.

BUSTED: Parentage can be assessed using genetic testing, which ultimately determines rights and responsibilities. It does not matter if the father is not on the birth certificate.

Conclusion

Still have questions or myths to be busted? The experienced lawyers at Jamra and Jamra are here to make sure you know the facts. You can learn more on our website about child support and child support modifications. Contact us anytime. 

Legal Marijuana Still Affects Child Custody

Friday, March 27, 2020

It may be legal in California and several other states now, but if you are divorcing and working on child custody, you may want to keep your marijuana use to a minimum. While the stigma is starting to wear off, the courts still look at marijuana use unfavorably despite being legal for any over 21 to use.

Marijuana Use

Certainly no parent is bragging about their marijuana usage, but your spouse could use it as a weapon to help their end of a child custody case. While it is legal, marijuana still affects you mentally and that can affect your care of a child. This means if they can show instances of your driving under the influence or your children getting hurt while you were high, it can strongly help their case to win custody of your children.

Furthermore, while it may be tempting to smoke in order to take the edge off a messy divorce case, it can leave you woefully unprepared for home visits that could affect your custody case. Overindulgence can be just as damaging. It is best to just keep use, even for medical matters to a bare minimum until your custody case is closed.

How This Affects the Case

If your spouse tries to bring your marijuana use into the case, you will also need to be ready to counter it. If you think this may become an issue, you will want to make your divorce lawyer well aware before it happens so they can formulate an effective strategy. If your spouse knows you used marijuana a lot, you can be pretty sure they will bring it up, especially if they get desperate.

Conclusion

If you are starting a divorce case and need help, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you get the best results from your divorce and custody case even when facing difficult situations.

Are Divorce Record Public or Private?

Monday, March 16, 2020

When you do anything in the legal system, you hope that the results will remain private. Unfortunately, they will likely be put on public record. This can be for public safety in terms of criminal records, but what about innocuous legal action like divorce? Are those records public or private?

Divorce Records

When you file for divorce in California and it concludes, those records will be filed with the state. By default, these records will be filed as public. What this means is that anyone interested in the case can obtain a copy of your divorce decree for whatever reason. However, only authorized copies are made to those mentioned in the decree. Any other copies are purely informational and typically used to establish some sort of identification.

Sealing the Records

If the public nature of your divorce decree makes you uncomfortable, you can pursue to process of having it sealed. The bad news is that it can be very difficult to get a divorce decree sealed. It will require a court order in which you need to persuade the court that you have valid reasons for sealing the record. Even if your ex-spouse agrees, you need to be able to justify your need for privacy.

Learn More About Sealing Divorce Records

In these cases, the reasons need not be particularly specific, but it can be difficult to find a valid reason that the court will accept. If you value privacy, you will want to work with your lawyer to document valid reasons to seal your divorce decree that the courts will accept.

If you are working towards divorce and want to make the best out of the process, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you get the best possible results so you can close this chapter of your life as smoothly as possible.

Can Spousal Support Be Paid Retroactively?

Monday, March 09, 2020

When divorcing, those who ask for spousal support, or alimony, from their spouse with more earning potential, they tend to view it as a prospective affair. Thus, the checks won't start coming until after the divorce decree has been finalized and will only be paid starting after the divorce is final. This is true, in many respects. You won't get your initial check until the divorce is finalized, but that first check could be a bigger one if you ask for payments to be paid retroactively.

Many States Allow It

While there are laws in some states that prevent it, many states allow for spousal support to be paid retroactively. This is due to the length that a divorce case can have. It can take months or even years to wrap up a messy divorce case. Yet, even amicable divorces work on the schedule of the courts. As such, you can receive support payments after the decree is final for when you were sorting it all out.

The inevitable question is how retroactive are we talking about? Some state statutes vary on this as well. In some, it is retroactive to the date the divorce was filed. Others will only make it retroactive to when you asked that spousal support be paid. Obviously, if you leave spousal support negotiations until the end, you could be shooting yourself in the foot in terms of retroactive payment. However, your lawyer should be able to help you make the most out of retroactive spousal support payments so you get the money that you need.

Learn More About Retroactive Spousal Support 

If you are looking to get your divorce started, you will need the help of a skilled divorce lawyer. However, getting spousal support paid retroactively will always be a fight. If you are starting the divorce process and need help, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do for you.

Is Health Insurance Covered By Child Support?

Monday, March 02, 2020

If you have won custody of your child, it is required that they are covered by health insurance. Indeed, failure to do so can result in serious criminal, civil, and even custodial penalties by the court. Unfortunately, that doesn't change the fact that health insurance can be wildly expensive, especially for single parents. As the custody holder of the child, you are required to procure health insurance for them either through your employment, the government, or independently.

Finances

Parents can only stop a health insurance plan if the costs become cost-prohibitive. This means that the costs will exceed 5% of their income. However, from there, they must find a new health insurance plan within their range as soon as possible.

For parents that are struggling with healthcare and insurance costs, it may be best to return to court in order to ask for more money from the other parent. If it can be shown that the cost of maintaining health insurance for your child is creating a financial burden, then the child support required from the other parent may be raised. After all, it is child "support". Thus, it is meant to help support the raising of that child by a parent who is not financially beholden to the other parent through marriage or another relationship.

Learn More About Health Insurance and Child Support

Unfortunately, proving that health insurance upkeep is creating a strain can be difficult. This is when you will want a good family law attorney at your side to help the courts make the decision by gathering the right evidence. If you are struggling with child care costs or starting a messy uncoupling process, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get the best possible results.