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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.

Do You Need to Pay Child Support If You Are on Unemployment?

Friday, August 28, 2020

Hard times have hit everyone after the pandemic-caused economic dip. While things are slowly recovering, there are many who are still on unemployment and filing for it after businesses fail to recover from their loss in business. This can be a difficult time but is made even more so if you have child support payments to consider.

Unemployment Benefits

If you are on unemployment benefits, you will still be expected to pay your child support. Failure to do so can result in a court action that will often result in you paying even more punitively. The good news is that if your unemployment benefits prove significantly lower than your previous income, the courts will consider this. They may lower your expected payment until you can resume work. Once that is done, your current pay will be examined, and the payments will be readjusted again.

Child Support Payments

If you have lost your job and are ineligible for unemployment, your child support payments may be temporarily stopped, but that doesn't mean you won't pay. What happens is that the court will want you to document your ongoing job search to prove you are looking. Once you have found a new job, your child support payments will resume. They will also likely be higher as you make up for the missed payment from your period of unemployment. This is why if you have some savings during an unemployed period, it may be better just to continue payments. Especially if you expect your job search to be a short one.

Learn More About Paying Child Support If You Are Unemployed

Do you have child support payments and a difficult financial situation? Are you getting ready to go through a divorce? We can help. Contact us today to let the professionals at the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra help you with all your complex family law issues so you can get the best possible results.

Can a Pandemic Force Modification of Your Parenting Plan?

Friday, August 21, 2020

COVID-19 has had a profound effect on the world, and that extends into the sphere of family issues and family law. While you likely prioritized the safety of your child over any plans put in place by the court during the pandemic, with the loosening of the restrictions, you may find push back when it comes to adhering to what was set in place.

Contemption 

One of the biggest issues that some families will face now is having one party willfully neglecting the previously stated parenting plan. In many cases, parents put aside their differences and agreed to suspend the previous agreement to keep their children healthy. However, now that the world is getting back to normal, some will find that the other parent is not willing to go back. What do you even do then?

If there is no quarantine in place, neglecting the set parenting plan is contempt. You can then take your ex-spouse to court where the judge will weigh in on their willful contempt of a court-set parenting plan. The judge will examine the circumstances that have been going on. For example, if your ex-spouse was exhibiting signs of COVID-19 and refused to be tested, you will not be held in contempt for not following the parenting plan. You were prioritizing the health of your child just as the judge would have ordered. However, if they found that they were tested, and it was negative, yet you were still not complying, then the judge may order sanctions, make up time, and attorney fees to be paid.

Learn More About How the Pandemic Changes Your Parenting Plan

Do you have an ex-spouse that you feel is violating your parenting plan? We can help. Contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get your family back to normal and make sure all your family law problems are handled safely and professionally.

More Tips for Same Sex Marriages Ending in Divorce

Monday, August 17, 2020

When it became legal to marry someone of the same sex, many rushed to the alter because they finally could. However, others decided that they were fine the way that things were.  They decided not to change anything about their lives. 

However, once married, same-sex couples can also get divorced. It can be messy and complicated. Here are some more things to consider when getting a divorce.

Think About Your Children

If you have adopted children during your marriage, you have to consider their needs. You are going to have to come up with a good custody arrangement that works for everyone. If needed, you should pay child support so that your children can continue the life that they have been living.

Find a Way to Co-Parent Together

If you have children together, you are going to be in each other's lives for the rest of your lives. The sooner that you can get along, the better off you will be. It will also be much easier on your children if you are able to spend holidays and special occasions together.

Get the Help That You Need

If you are really struggling, you may want to talk to a therapist. He or she will help you find ways to cope with your divorce and all of the feelings that you are having. It can really make a difference in healing after a divorce.

Don't Give Up

Just because you are getting divorced doesn't mean that you are a failure. You are going to find someone again that makes you happy and ready to settle down again. You may even decide to marry again. In fact, many people are much happier in their second divorce because they really know what they want and need from their partner.

Find More More Tips for Same Sex Marriages Ending in Divorce 

If you have children, you need to consider them during your divorce. They need both of you in their lives so it is important to learn to work together so that they still have a good life. Then, if you are struggling, you need to get some help. There is nothing wrong with talking to someone as you adjust to this new time in your life. 

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

Tips for Same Sex Marriages Ending in Divorce

Monday, August 10, 2020

Now that it is legal, same-sex couples can get married. While many same-sex couples rushed to get married because they finally could, others didn't feel the need to change the way that they have been living for several years. Many already felt married by that point, so they didn't. They have continued to live the way that they always have.

However, once married, same-sex couples can also get divorced. It can be messy and complicated. Here are some things to consider when getting a divorce.

Time Is Going to Be a Factor

The length of time that a couple is married can really affect a divorce. Unfortunately, many same-sex couples lived together for many years before being allowed to be legally married. Some judges will count the year that you were legally married, though some will count the time that you lived together to determine the rest of the divorce proceedings.

Dividing Property

When dividing up property and assets, the state starts at the property that you owned together since 2013. Even if you lived together for ten years at that point, they will only count the property and assets that you got from that point on.

Hire a Lawyer

Don't forget to hire a lawyer.You should never go through a divorce alone. You need an experienced lawyer on your side to make sure that you are protected and can find a divorce settlement that works for you.

Meditation

Consider using mediation. Since the courts have their own way of dealing with your property and assets, many same-sex couples go through mediation. It allows you to end the marriage on better terms and divide up your assets the way that you want to.

Conclusion

Getting divorced is never easy. If you are in a same-sex marriage, it can be even harder. Legally, you could have acted married for years before you ever did get married. This can really change your divorce proceedings. For this reason, many same-sex couples try to go through mediation and settle everything outside of the court system. If you can work together to come up with a settlement, it is going to be much better for everyone.

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

Step Parent's Quick Guide to Teen Custody Questions

Monday, July 27, 2020

With the way modern families form today, custody and parenting questions can get pretty complicated. There are rock-solid families where the parents are not married, dedicated spouses raising step-children, and co-parenting teams with two to ten different family members working together. One of the most common "gray areas" of custody is the role of step-parents who may be acting as active parental roles with limited legal grounds to make decisions.

This is especially challenging for step-parents of teenagers who are often at least partially aware of their rights and have a great deal of choice in which parent they live with, if they choose to exercise that power. Being a good parent to a teenager requires a balance of giving space and enforcing boundaries, something that can be uncomfortable for even the most dedicated step-parent. You may be wondering where your real enforceable authority begins and ends. As a child custody attorney office, we're here to answer those questions as clearly as we can in general terms.

Your Parental Rights as a Step-Parent

If you have adopted your step-child, you have full legal rights as their parent, the same as a biological parent would. So, that should clear up a whole slew of teen authority related questions. If you haven't adopted your step-child, then your authority comes through the biological parent you are married to.

You are, effectively, functioning with implicit permission to exercise parental duties and make decisions your partner -- their parent -- would agree with. Much like a camp counselor has implicit permission to care for kids under their supervision. However, as the spouse of the biological parent, you also have some extended rights to sign things like permission slips for your step-children instead of their parent.

Your Step-Parental Rights Against the Wishes of Your Spouse

What about in cases where you disagree or are splitting up with the biological parent of your step-children? This issue comes up often with modern blended families. Particularly, in cases where the step-parent has become the more dedicated caretaker. Without a custody battle, your rights are usually still limited to anything that is an extension of the biological parent's wishes.

However, in a legal separation or divorce, step-parents who are a dedicated part of a child's life have a surprisingly strong chance of winning at least partial custody. Your custody rights will more likely be determined by what is best for the child, including your existing parent-child relationship. This is true even if you are not the biological parent. However, your custody rights do not overpower those of both biological parents.

There are very few situations where a step-parent is able to take full custody or make a decision directly against the wishes of capable and reputable biological parents.

Your Parental Rights Dealing With a Rebellious Teen Step-Child

So, your teen step-child, about whom you love and care, has shouted that you're not their real parent and can't make them do __X__. Now, you're wondering if they're right. As we said before, your parental power are an extension of their biological parent's rights. Therefore, if their parents agrees with the rule you are enforcing, yes. You can probably ground them, lock their phone in a drawer, deny their allowance, or forbid them from dating someone for a few more years.

Alternately, your teen step-child has made it clear that they want to live with you and not their biological parent after a breakup. Now, you're wondering if you can support them in that. Would be charged with kidnapping, or something similar? This goes back to the custody question. The teen can absolutely speak at a custody hearing and make a strong case for living with you, as teens get a lot of say if they explain themselves well and their reasons are good.

Additionally, if your teen step-child shows up on your doorstep and insists on staying, most courts would not consider this as a qualified kidnapping. But the teen may be forced to go back to their biological parent's home once found. 

Conclusion

As a step-parent, you exist in an interesting custody limbo unless you choose to step up and make yourself a separate entity in a custody battle. For the most part, as long as you are parenting with your spouse, you have all the parental authority you need to handle step-children and even rebellious teens. For more information about family law or to consult with a child custody attorney, contact us today!

The Child Support Process Doesn't Have to Be Scary

Friday, July 17, 2020

Unfortunately, just the words "child support" can strike fear in the hearts of fathers and mothers alike. It is a stigmatized government system that is often misunderstood and seen as a necessary evil. 

In reality, child support is designed to ensure children receive consistent and reliable support from both of their parents. This is best achieved by understanding each parent's current life circumstances and then guiding them how to best provide for their children in both homes. 

An Unbiased System

The system is set up to be unbiased. Payment responsibility and amounts are calculated using an impartial statewide calculation system. Items that impact responsibility and amount include:

  • Gross income
  • Expenses
  • Amount of time spent with child(ren)

With regards to the last item, it is important that each parent accurately documents the amount of time spent with their child(ren) in case it becomes a "he said/she said" situation at any point. The court looks favorably on a paper trail. Minimally, use a calendar to not only note sleepovers, but also rides to/from school, extracurricular activities spent together, visits and so on. An hour here and a couple hours there adds up quickly. It is particularly important to note when custody schedules are not being upheld and why.

Professionals Remove the Emotional Factor

Many amicable parents tend to handle the payment of child support on their own, trusting the paying parent to do so in a timely manner. Unfortunately, the relationship could take a turn for the worse for a wide variety of reasons, and withholding child support is often the first line of attack.  

This can be avoided by engaging with a professional right from the beginning. It takes the emotion out of the equation since the agency is in the middle acting as a non-partial gatekeeper, so to speak. Children's lives are kept more consistent and stable, which is of utmost priority.

Let Jamra & Jamra Help

Jamra & Jamra's Beverly Hills child support lawyers have been practicing family law in California for nearly 40 years. We are experts at providing guidance through complex and emotionally fraught child custody and child support scenarios.

Examples of services typically provided are:

Please contact us for a free in-office initial consultation. After a thorough analysis of the facts of the case, our lawyers will promptly offer all of the legal options available.

When It’s Time to Modify a Child Support Order

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Going through a divorce after establishing a family is stressful and upsetting. Sometimes the turmoil doesn't end when your divorce finalizes. Perhaps you and your ex-spouse settled on a child support agreement—perhaps the court ruled on an appropriate order. Either way, changes may occur that give cause for a change in your child support order.

Changes That Effect a Child Support Order

Have you or your ex-spouse experienced one of the following changes?

  • The income of one or both parents has changed
  • A parent has a child from another relationship
  • There have been significant changes in time the child spends with each parent
  • A parent becomes incarcerated
  • The child's needs change in cost, including but not limited to health care, child care, or education
  • There have been changes in any of the factors used to calculate child support.

For parents who have already been through the trials of a divorce, going back before a judge to argue with your ex can be dismaying. You've already gone through the proceedings once before. Still, the financial needs of you and your children are very important. As a parent, you want the best for your child, and if some occurrence puts a strain on your wallet, it is in your best interest to obtain a fair resolution. Whether that is with the cooperation of the other parent or without, having the correct child support is essential to the stability of yours and your children's lives.

Proceedings

Child support proceedings can transpire through multiple avenues. You may reach a new settlement with your spouse amiably, or you may have to take them to court. You may also involve your local child support agency (LSCA). The LSCA acts as a middleman between you and the court; the agency determines whether a modification to your child support order is needed based on both parents' financial records. If you and your former spouse are able to reach an agreement without the interference of an outside party, the LSCA may also file what is called a "stipulation" to the court of your agreement.

Learn More About a Child Support Order

No matter the route that is taken to reach new child support arrangements, it is always important to have a family attorney to ensure that all outcomes are in the best interest of you and your child. Please contact us with any questions you may have about your child support.

Can Contentious Couples Be Successful in a Mediation Setting?

Monday, July 06, 2020

Did you know that mediation is possible in divorce to keep even the most contentious couples out of the courtroom for the duration of their legal separation?

Correct mediation procedures allow for practical and flexible resolutions to problems. Otherwise, they are finalized in a courtroom at a higher cost by a judge who doesn't know or understand you and the dynamics of your family.

What Does Mediation Involve?

Mediation is an Alternative Dispute Resolution for divorcing couples who truly want what is best for their children and their futures. We back you up during your meetings with a neutral third-person, or mediator, and your former partner to come up with unique and personal compromises that both you and your former partner can agree on. 

Mediation can cover all aspects of divorce, including:

  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child and spousal support
  • Property and asset division
  • Business evaluation

According to Rule 5.210 in the California Rules of Court 2020, every mediator in California must legally be impartial towards each party and competent of all laws and regulations concerning the divorce process. We will be right there with you to ensure that the process is legal and that you are protected from giving more than you are able. 

Contentious Arguments

When you and your former partner argue, or disagree, about a situation, then the mediator will call for a break to cool down and discuss further options with your lawyers. The discussion can continue after a reevaluation of the situation from both sides or we can make another appointment and come back after a time of contemplation and consideration.

Mediation has worked well with many contentious couples. The process works around your schedule, not ours, and so decisions are not made hastily or out of exasperation. Arguments and even bickering are halted immediately and, with much contemplation, attacked creatively from a different angle. We want the process to be a smooth as possible and we are here to help you do that. 

Contentious couples can be very successful in mediation and sometimes the process can change your relationship with your former spouse into a more positive one, one that supports a positive co-parenting experience for everyone involved. 

What Can Jamra & Jamra Do for You?

Our legal mediation support is crucial and renders court appearances unnecessary. We can work together to create a binding contractual agreement that accomplishes everything a traditional divorce does in a quicker, more personal, and much more private way. 

California Super Lawyers at Jamra & Jamra L.L.P. Family Law Attorneys in Beverly Hills use creative and personalized strategies that focus solely on you and your protection during divorce proceedings, no matter what direction you decide to take. Family law can go one of two ways. We're prepared for both. 

Contact us for a free consultation and brainstorming session to discuss what could be our cost-effective and diligent plan of defense. We understand your needs and are prepared to stand by your side.

How Does the Length of a Marriage Affect Spousal Support?

Monday, June 29, 2020

There are many aspects of marriage to consider when calculating spousal support when filing for a divorce. However, one of the more crucial aspects is the length of the marriage. The length of your marriage not only factors into how much you get, but how long you will get it for, and even if you will receive spousal support at all.

Shorter Marriage

Typically, those who have been married for a long time, usually more than ten years, will receive a lengthy spousal support period. However, the length will also be extended if the spouse asking for support does not work or makes a small amount of income.

For example, if a grocery store worker divorced a millionaire after a year of marriage, they will likely get no spousal support from the marriage. They weren't married very long and were able to support themselves just a year ago. Now, they can do it again. Even if they quit their job during the marriage, it is one they could get again without much difficulty.

Longer Marriage

Now, take a dissolving 30-year marriage where one party is a sole earner and the other has been a house-maker for the past 20 years. It is likely that the non-working party will get a long-term or lifetime of spousal support. This is because they have been out of the workforce for so long that it would be difficult for them to become gainfully employed.

Learn More About Spousal Support

It is likely that your marriage falls in between these two extremes. Typically, what the standard couple will be looking at is a limited spousal support award based on the length of your marriage. This will allow the lesser earning party an adjustment period after the divorce, but the payments will end eventually.

Are you going through a tough divorce and need help? Contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get through this difficult experience.