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Family Law Blog

Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights When the Biological Parent Doesn't Consent

Friday, September 25, 2020

While there are a number of benefits to a stepparent adopting their stepchildren, the process is not an easy one. A crucial step in the process before it can be made official is for the biological parent to consent to the adoption by surrendering their parental rights. Yet, too often the biological parent does not consent. If that is the case, can the adoption proceed?

If the biological parent does not consent to a stepparent adoption of their child and refuses to surrender their parental rights, you must seek to terminate those rights. This can be done by exploring three key avenues.

Abandonment

If you have an uninvolved biological parent, their rights can be easily terminated. If the parent has not communicated or financially supported the child for over a year, they qualify as having abandoned the child and will lose their rights.

Unfit as a Parent

If you choose to try to terminate parental rights through proving they are an unfit parent, the courts will hold a fitness hearing. They will examine various factors that go into this where in you can present evidence to support their unfit nature as a parent. In order to terminate parental rights this way, you must prove that they are abusive, neglectful, mentally unfit, addicted to substances, or have failed to visit for a certain amount of time. If the biological parent is incarcerated and will be for a long length of time, this can also qualify.

Proven Lack of Paternity

Specific to fathers of children, if the mother can prove that the child is not really the child of their supposed biological father, then that person will no longer have their innate parental rights. This can be quickly done by a quick paternity test.

Learn More About Stepparent Adoption

If you are attempting to adopt your stepchild or are having any other family law issues, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you navigate these difficult waters.

Who Pays for a Child's Health Insurance?

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Affordable Care Act states that all children under the age of 18 must be covered by health insurance. However, that is not always as simple as it sounds, especially for divorcing parents. In many cases, the child will also be covered by the health insurance that a parent may get through their work. Even if the parents are divorced, the children will still be covered by the health insurance of choice or if the non-custody holding parent only has health insurance. Unfortunately, if neither parent has health insurance through their work, the coverage becomes a little more complex.

A Judge Decides

If neither parent can cover health insurance for a child post-divorce from their job, they will have to buy health insurance for their child. Unfortunately, this can be costly – as much as $1,000 per month. Who covers this cost? While mediation can negotiate splitting costs or help decide the paying party, if you take it to court, a judge will make the decision simple.

Healthcare for the child, under the eyes of the judge, is necessary for the support of the child. As such, it will typically be factored into child support payments. This means that the custody-holding parent will likely be responsible for finding health insurance for their child, but the support-paying parent will be paying for it with their monthly support payments.

This is not an ideal situation for the support-paying parent. Health insurance is expensive and the support payer may not be convinced that their huge support payment is really going to solid health insurance. However, if it is discovered that the custody-holding parent is not being aboveboard, they can be taken to court for it.

Learn More About Children's Health Insurance

Are you going through a divorce or have any other family law issue? We can help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get the best possible results.

Can Child Support Agreements Be Made Outside of Court?

Friday, September 11, 2020

For many, the costs of divorce and separation are prohibitive. No one wants to go to court, and no one really wants to pays the court their fees for their service or for legal representation in the courtroom. However, much of divorce and child support negotiation can be done outside of the courtroom to keep things affordable.

In a Courtroom

There is no requirement that says child support and parenting plans need to be figured out in the courtroom in front of a judge. Often, you will want your lawyer to help suggest what is fair in terms of child support, but much of everything else can be figured out between the two parents outside of the courtroom.

Unfortunately, when it comes to child support agreements, you can't escape the need for a judge. Once a parenting plan and child support agreement has been figured out between two parents, it will need to be presented to a judge for their approval. When it comes to child support, the first priority of the judge is the well-being of your child. As such, they will make sure the agreement looks fair and it good interest to the child. They will then approve or reject it appropriately.

This is a necessary step, but while it may be an extra cost to you, it is to your benefit. Having a judge approve your support agreement will make it legally binding. If your ex-spouse violates it, then you can take legal action against them. This is why you want to make sure as many bases as possible are covered in the agreement.

Learn More About Making Child Support Agreements Outside of Court

Are you preparing to go through a divorce or have some other family law issue? We can help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get the best possible results.

A Breach of Fiduciary Duty in California Spousal Support Requirements

Friday, September 04, 2020

Divorces happen and the process is rarely comfortable or easy, especially when alimony is concerned. Alimony was created to lessen the negative effects of a dramatic transition on a person who doesn't have the immediate means to fulfill their needs after a divorce. Unfortunately, much like any other program created to assist people, it can be abused.

What do you do if you suspect that your former partner has somehow dishonored a spousal support agreement? What course of action can you take?

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Each spouse has a responsibility to the other when it comes to any and all finances and debts acquired during the relationship. It doesn't matter if the assets and debts were acquired together or alone. California takes fiduciary responsibility very seriously and all assets must be disclosed during the process of a divorce or the person hiding relevant information can be punished. 

breach of fiduciary duty refers to the act of hiding assets and manipulating income levels that are reported to the court system in the case of divorce. It is illegal to withhold any information and is considered a breach of contract and a breach of trust. 

What Do You Do?

If you suspect that your former partner may be hiding assets or somehow manipulating financial information, address any and all concerns to your divorce attorneys and allow them to investigate your claims. It is a lawyer's job to investigate all contentious issues in a divorce. If they can find a breach, you may be entitled to what your former partner is hiding. 

If you are accused of breaching a fiduciary trust, you need to contact your divorce lawyer immediately to clear up any misconceptions. Your attorney's job is to protect you and your interests and direct honesty goes a long way.

What you DO NOT DO is conduct outside investigations on your own. Evidence obtained illegally or nefariously can damage any arguments that you have and make you look bad in the eyes of the court. 

No matter what, it is essential to begin the process of your separation with a trusted and qualified attorney with a proven success record to back you up in every situation.  

Call Us With Your Questions

The experienced and supportive attorneys at Jamra & Jamra are here to ensure you get the fairest deal possible when it comes to your family. Contact us at 310-278-9001 to schedule your free consultation, and we can get started on your case.