Family Law Blog

Is It Possible To Reverse An Adoption?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The circumstances in which someone would want to reverse an adoption of a child are limited, but they have been known to happen. It is widely believed that once an adoption has been finalized, there is no turning it back, but that is simply not true. There are actually three circumstances in which it can happen. These include:

The Birth Parents Wish It – Having an adoption reversed and the rights of the birth parents can be difficult, and in some states, impossible. For the most part, if consent is given by the adoptive parents, a birth parent can regain their parental rights through a reversal.

The Adoptive Parents Wish It – Though much more rare, in some cases, the adoptive parents can file a petition with the court to reverse adoption. Typically, this is approved when a home is no longer in the child's best interests. For example, if the parents are getting a divorce, and neither could support their adoptive child alone, the adoption can be reverse.

The Child Wishes It – This is exceedingly rare, but in some cases when the child is old enough, they can reverse their own adoption. In these cases, the child wishes to be emancipated from their adoptive parents, but these cases are very hard for the child to win.

While reversal of an adoption is actually fairly difficult to do, it can be done. If you believe you have a valid reason to reverse an adoption and would like to learn more, contact us today. Typically whenever someone even considers reversing an adoption, they have solid reasons for doing so. Perhaps they lost custody of their children and want them back or because they care deeply for a child and want to see them better placed. Regardless, we can help you figure out the details.


Does Who Takes The Kids During Divorce Affect Custody?

Saturday, November 10, 2018

When a couple decides that their marriage is over, they may still live together due to a financial need. However, more common is that one party will move out of the family home. If, for example, a spouse decides to move out and take the children with them, does this affect later child custody?

In some respects, it can. If the other spouse has been doing well on their own raising the children, this can reflect well on them. However, the person that holds custody during a divorce doesn't always mean they will be granted sole custody. First and foremost, courts are most amicable to joint custody agreements unless there are threats to a child's safety. It is widely believed that a relationship with both parents is in the best interests of the child.

However, if you are seeking sole custody and your spouse has taken the children with them when they moved out, you can still have a case for it. When considering sole custody or primary custody of the children, the courts will want to place children in a home that has the most stable environment for them to thrive. However, this does not just mean financially, but emotionally as well. Will you be there when they get home from school? Do you have time to spend with them? Will they be happy and well-cared for? These are all questions a judge will consider when awarding custody.

If your spouse will need to work long hours to support the children while you have a stable job that allows you to be with the children more, your case for primary custody may be a strong one. If you are getting a divorce and seek primary custody of your children, contact us today. We can help look over your impending divorce and child custody case to advise you on the best possible route.

When Does Child Support End?

Thursday, November 01, 2018

child sitting on floor resting head on knees

If you are getting a divorce with children, there are a lot of considerations to make, primary among them, the payment of child support. Child support is put in place to help the primary custody holder, a now-single parent, help care for your child. However, you won't be required to pay child support forever.

Like in many states, California only requires child support to be paid until the child reaches the age of majority – the age of 18 – when they are legally recognized as an adult. However, there is a provision in place that requires payment to continue if the child is still in high school. So you may be required to pay past their birthday until they graduate or turn 19, whichever happens first.

If your child has certain disabilities, you may need to pay child support longer because, even at the age of 18, they may not be capable of taking care of themselves and will still widely rely on the primary custody holder as a caregiver. Furthermore, your ex-spouse may be able to return to court and ask for post-minority support. This will essentially ask you to make payments towards the child's college education.

If the child has gained acceptance to a school that is beyond the primary custody holder's means it is likely their request for post-minority support will be granted. However, post-minority won't be able to be used in order to essentially buy their way into a good school. Furthermore, if the child has not yet been accepted, it will be more difficult for the courts to grant this request.

If you are getting a divorce and about to go through the child support dance with your spouse, contact us today. Jamra & Jamra can help represent your interests to make sure that you don't get taken to the cleaners by your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

What Does Transmutation Mean In Property Division

Thursday, October 25, 2018

people signing documents at a desk

Property division is perhaps one of the most time-consuming aspects of the divorce. You never know how much stuff you have until an event like divorce has you needing to split it up. As a community property state, those divorcing in California need to split all property evenly, and one of the primary ways of doing so is through transmutation.

The term transmutation is brought up when a couple is negotiating the fair and equal division of their shared assets. It refers to situations in which one party gets an item of significant net value in which they need to agree to give up several smaller items to match the value and keep the division equal. An example is if one spouse gets the house, they may have to give a car, some antiques, and several pieces of furniture in return to make up the value. Transmutation also refers to instances in which they take separate property and include it into the marital property. Why would anyone do this? It is the same as the instance above, the spouse would rather trade their separate property in return to retain a certain high-value item from the marital pool.

Essentially, transmutation is just a large trading game to get what you want. However, all divorce property division needs to have a certain amount of equality. This means you can't negotiate for a spouse to trade everything they have so they can keep one thing if all the items they traded exceeded the value of that one thing they really want.

If you are going through a divorce, then you want a good lawyer by your side. For help getting your fair share out of a divorce, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help make sure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible.

Using Temporary Orders For Child Custody

Friday, October 19, 2018

happy children laying on bed playing on tablet

It isn't always the case, but divorce can take quite a long time to come to a conclusion. Even amicable divorces aren't exactly very speedy. Furthermore, the more assets and situations you need to sort out, the longer it will take. If you can't come to an agreement in mediation, waiting for court dates will take even longer.

All that being said, you still have a life to live. During a divorce, it is important to start transitioning to single life and shared custody of your children. You need to work out items such as visitation, custody arrangements, and even child support to keep your child well taken care of. However, a judge won't make a final order on these issues until the conclusion of the divorce – meaning until all the other stuff is settled too.

Thankfully, you can get temporary orders for child support and spousal support issues. These temporary orders are legally-binding agreements. Essentially, you can work out visitation, child custody, and even child support payments to be made on a temporary basis until the final order is put forth. A decent benefit of doing this is that it allows for a certain amount of trial and error before the final order is put in place. This means if a child custody situation isn't working out, it can still be changed before the final order is put in place, meaning you don't need to return to court and spend the money to do so.

If you are looking at what will be a long and ongoing divorce, it is best to take advantage of temporary orders. If you are starting a divorce, contact us. With children, you want to make them a first priority so you can get their lives on track while you figure out all the finer details.

Divorce and Self-Employment

Friday, October 12, 2018

Divorce is full of problems. That is just part of the process when you are ending a long-term committed relationship where two parties have become so involved in each other's lives. However, divorce when one spouse is self-employed it is likely to add more problems to the pile. While self-employment doesn't affect the divorce itself, it does affect the financial aspects of divorce.

Self-Employment and Hiding Assets

When one spouse is self-employed, a major worry is that they can somehow hide assets from the other spouse. This actually should be a worry as income from self-employment can be surprisingly well hidden, but often not hidden enough.

When one spouse is self-employed, if you have an amicable relationship, then hiding assets may not be a worry. However, if there is a lot of tension in your divorce, as there often is, it may be in your best interest to seek out the help of a forensic accountant. Often self-employed individuals are no stranger to shuffling money around to support their business, making the act of hiding assets not immediately apparent to the untrained eye. However, the help of a forensic accountant can help you make sure they are being honest.

Self-Employment and Spousal Support

One of the primary issues of self-employed spouses is not so much hiding assets, but rather gathering a concrete amount of income for spousal support. Often in self-employed professions, their amount of income can fluctuate rapidly. Furthermore, what is to stop them from taking less work during a divorce so it makes their income look smaller?

In this circumstance, often courts will not look at recent income, but rather average income. It functions much in the same way of a spouse who quits their job to take a lesser paying job to slip spousal support. The courts will examine past income and their ability to earn in order to work out spousal support payments. However, if they have always been a secondary earner to your primary earnings, you may very well have to pay spousal support to them.

Divorce is never a simple situation, and self-employed spouses make things even trickier. If you are divorcing and need help, contact us today.


Reasons You Might Want to Date Before Your Divorce is Final

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Going through a divorce can be devastating. You may feel like you are losing everything, including yourself. It can be a lonely and upsetting time. Because of this, many people start to date even if their divorce is not final. It doesn't help that many well-meaning friends and family may recommend getting right back out there, even if you don't feel like it.

So, should you date before your divorce is final? Here are some reasons why you might want to.

There are no legal reasons why you can't date during the divorce process.

 Legally, you are allowed to date and move on while you are still going through the divorce so if you are ready, there is no reason why you shouldn't put yourself back out there.

You are obviously going through a divorce for a reason so it can be really nice to feel special. 

Dating someone new is always special and exciting. They will work hard to impress you. You will probably dress up and try to look your best. This can really help you feel better, knowing someone thinks you are great.

It can also help your self-esteem. 

Getting dressed up and going out can make a person feel a lot better. Too many people get depressed after a divorce where they just spend all of their time at home, alone, and in their pajamas. By getting cleaned up and polished, you will feel so much better.

While some people think that you need to get right back out there during a divorce, others believe that you need to wait. As long as you feel ready (and have put your marriage behind you), there is no legal reason why you shouldn't. It might actually help you feel a lot better because who doesn't feel better when they are dressed up and spending time with an attentive person?

Contact us for all of your legal needs.


When Child Support Deviates From the Formula

Friday, September 28, 2018

When it comes to child support, the award isn't just a random guess on how much financial support a parent receives. Instead, judges will use a specific formula to decide how much child support is awarded. This means that in many cases you can sit down with your lawyer and do a pretty close calculation on what sort of child support you will be entitled to or need to pay. However, there are some deviations to the formula that can affect it. These deviations include:

  • Special Needs - If your child has special needs, then the expenses of their care may be far greater than other children. This means that costs due to their disability will need to be factored in.
  • Extraordinary Expenses - Similar to special needs considerations, if your child has any medical, psychological, or educational needs, this may cause a deviation. For example, if your child is accepted to a gifted program, that may merit a deviation.
  • Sufficient Debt - This doesn't have anything to do with the child at all. If you parted with your spouse and share a sufficient amount of debt, this can affect child support payments. Obviously, if you have to care for a child and pay your share of joint debt, it can affect how the child is cared for.
  • Time Spent - As the ex-spouse paying child support, spending more time with the child may lower the payment necessary for child support. Obviously, if you are watching the child while the other parent is at work, this should and does lower your financial obligation.

If you are going through a divorce with children and would like to learn more about the whole process, contact us today to see what we can do for you. It is a difficult time, but the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help.

Defining the Assets: Is a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement Better?

Friday, September 21, 2018

people signing prenuptial agreement on table

While many may be familiar with prenuptial agreements and what they entail, postnuptial agreements are often a mystery to many. These agreements are actually the same thing, the difference being when you enter into them. A prenuptial agreement is something set before marriage while a postnuptial agreement is drafted up after the couples have already tied the knot.

While both agreements have their uses, you may wonder if it is better to get an agreement after you are already married or if you should do it before. In general, postnuptial agreements have their good uses, such as defining the care of any children that pop up or protecting yourself from a spouse developing addictions or problems with the law. However, in most cases, if you want a nuptial agreement, it is better to lay out a prenuptial agreement.

It is a common stereotype that prenuptial agreements often cause strife in a relationship. While it is not the case for every couple, it can be true. If you can't agree to the terms of a prenuptial agreement and your relationship isn't as strong as you thought, you simply can just not get married. The obvious downside of a postnuptial agreement is that if you don't agree, you are still married and would have to divorce in order to end the relationship.

Furthermore, in many cases, courts do not uphold postnuptial agreements as easily as they uphold prenuptial ones. You need to be very diligent in its drafting and signing in order for the courts to find it valid. It is because a postnuptial agreement is made during a marriage where it is difficult to walk away from that courts view them as less ironclad than prenuptial agreements.

If you are considering creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, contact us today to let us help you.

Can Spousal Support Be Extended?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

After a marriage is dissolved via divorce, often the separating parties agree on a payment between them at the end of the marriage. In spousal support, one spouse agrees to pay the other spouse a certain sum in order to support them during the transition to single life. In most cases, these payments are designed to support the spouse until they become independent, but what happens if spousal support runs out and you still cannot support yourself, can you get it extended?

Spousal support is divided into three categories - Rehabilitative, Permanent, and Lump-Sum. A lump-sum payment is paid all at once and thus no recurring payments are necessary. Rehabilitative payments are made so the ex-spouse can seek employment or finish college in order to become self-supporting. Finally, permanent spousal support payments are common after long marriages where the ex-spouse did not have the ability to develop skills in order to seek employment.

In both lump-sum and permanent spousal support, an extension won't be needed. However, when a spousal support agreement is agreed upon by the divorcing couple or put in place by the courts, they often come with modification clauses. These clauses can mean no modification - thus no extension - is possible or can only be modified if certain criteria are met. In most cases, modification clauses are used so that one party doesn't get taken advantage of. For example, if an ex-spouse is gainfully employed, the spousal support may be modified so that it can be stopped because they no longer need it. However, this modification can work the other way if one spouse has not found employment and needs an extension.

If you are divorcing and want to make sure spousal support will be in place to take care of you, contact us today. Let us help you get the best possible outcome from your divorce.