Family Law Blog

Who Gets the Ring If the Engagement Falls Apart?

Friday, October 18, 2019

It is better to break out a rocky relationship before you say the legally binding "I Do", but that doesn't make less messy in some cases. If you broke off an engagement, then it is likely you are going to want to salvage whatever you can from the ending relationship, and often the cause of much debate as to who gets to keep the very expensive engagement ring.

Engagement Rings

These days engagement rings can be worth thousands of dollars, something that you might want back or might want to keep in order to sell or even just wear. However, the good news for the givers is that keeping an engagement ring from a broken engagement can be as difficult as getting that engagement ring back after a marriage ends.

Conditional Gifts

The issue with engagement rings taken back before legally binding marriage is that they are often seen as conditional gifts. A conditional gift is, as it sounds, a gift given on a condition. In this case, the condition is that there will be marriage. If there was no marriage, then as the courts see it, there is no reason for the person wearing the engagement ring to keep it. This conditional gift rule is used to protect things like family heirlooms that the owner may want back for more than just monetary reason, but it can save someone thousands of dollars that they may not want to give someone who is now considered an ex-girlfriend. You would hope that returning the ring would be a natural option, but sometimes it takes a family lawyer explaining a conditional gift to get it back.

Learn More About Who Gets the Ring

If you need help getting assets back after a breakup or a divorce, contact us today. The skilled professionals at Jamra & Jamra can help you understand the legal responsibilities of both parties so you can effectively fight for what is yours.

Can a Child's Testimony Make a Difference in Child Custody?

Friday, October 11, 2019

If it were up to both parents, their child would never enter the courtroom in their life, especially not during the messy divorce proceedings of their parents. However, when it comes to deciding custody, your child's presence may be necessary, especially if they are old enough to make their own opinion to be heard on the matter of their custody.

Requirements to Give Testimony 

In the case of very young children, the judge and the parents will work to decide custody alone. However, in California, if your child is above the age of 14, they can take the stand and let the judge know where they would like to go. Your child will give testimony to the judge on which parent they would like to live with. However, the final decision is still in the hands of the judge. If they believe that another placement would be in the best interests of the child, even if it goes against their choice, they will make it.

Judges Decide

It is important that your child knows that the judge will take their best interests in mind. If your child tries to convince a judge they want to live with one parent because they never punish them and let them eat ice cream for dinner, it is not likely to positively sway a judge's opinion. In fact, it may work against them. However, if they say they want to live with a parent because they feel that they have more time to spend with them, then this is likely to make an impact.

Learn More About a Child's Testimony in a Custody Case

If you are going through a messy child custody case and need a great lawyer to help you, contact us today. Jamra & Jamra can help you navigate this difficult process so you can get the best possible results, not only for you but for your children as well.

Should You Divorce Before or After Filing Bankruptcy?

Friday, October 04, 2019

Finances can put a major strain on your relationship with your spouse. If things get bad enough, it may even lead to your divorce, although there is usually more than just stress about the money involved in this decision. However, often divorce and bankruptcy go hand in hand. Doing both really is like starting a whole new life afterward, but the question remains, what should be done first?

Type of Bankruptcy

In truth, the answer is usually highly dependent on which type of bankruptcy you are going to file. If you choose the standard Chapter 7 bankruptcy, this is typically resolved in a few months. It is best to do this first, discharge your debts as a married couple, then get a divorce. It saves money on lawyer and filing fees. Unfortunately, you will want to talk it over with a bankruptcy lawyer first as your married income could be too high to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In this case, it may be better to get divorced first.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

However, if you choose Chapter 13 bankruptcy, this can last several years as you work on a repayment plan. This would mean you would need to put off divorce for years, and that might not be an option. If you get divorced while filing bankruptcy, then it adds a further layer of complexity. In this case, it would be better to get a divorce first and then file your Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Learn More About Divorcing Before or After Filing Bankruptcy

If you are about to get divorced or file bankruptcy, you are about to enter a complicated time in your life. Unfortunately, you will need the advice of two lawyers. For your divorce, contact us today. Jamra & Jamra are dedicated family law attorneys that can help guide you down the best path to help your divorce and other family law issues go as smoothly as possible.

Prenuptial Agreements Can Become the Solid Foundation for a Lasting Marriage

Friday, September 27, 2019

Prenuptial Agreements too often are depicted as a form of distrust, with the assumption that one person does not fully trust the other. Other times, people assume the couple does not want to share any of the wealth they might hold. Neither assumption is true. Indeed, couples who have a healthy relationship are building a solid foundation in preparation for their union by agreeing to a prenuptial agreement. 

Marriage Is a Legal Contract

Besides being in love and wanting to be by each other's side for eternity, marriage is a legally binding contract. It is crucial to have an attorney involved with the agreement because an attorney can approach your marriage from a legal standpoint to protect your finances. Thus, eliminating any financial worries later on.

Making the Agreement Enforceable 

One of the key requirements of a premarital agreement is financial transparency. Full disclosure of both your assets and debts is a must. Otherwise, the notion that one person misled the other could surface and make the agreement invalid. It could create friction where there wasn't a problem.

Why Involve an Attorney

The law is complex at best, and there are laws in California that have certain requirements that must be met. There is a time-frame to consider before signing and the couple must understand completely all of the legalities before signing. An experienced attorney will ensure that the couple knows exactly what is involved and is in complete agreement before signing.

California law is very specific about premarital agreements, and if the agreement is one-sided, was signed too soon during the review period, or one of the parties waived the right to counsel, the agreement won't be enforceable later on. There are also special considerations having to do with spousal support or children if the couple plans on starting a family.

Learn More About Prenuptial Agreements 

If you and your fiance are considering a prenuptial agreement, please contact us. Our staff is highly educated and along with their experience gives them the expertise to ensure the beginning of your new life together will start on a rock-solid foundation to build a strong, healthy, and happy marriage. 

Are You Paying Too Much in Child Support?

Monday, September 23, 2019

The court uses a specific equation in order to calculate what is deemed to be the best child support payment. Unfortunately, this equation isn't perfect. It can turn out that you end up paying too much in child support, so much so that it seems more like your spouse is benefiting from having custody of your children. So what can you do when this happens?

Many Factors

In truth, the child support calculation should take into account your own income, the amount of time you spend with the child, and their unique needs. If you are spending quite a bit of parenting time, the support payments will be lower. However, typically you will see this child support go towards the benefit of your child without causing you financial strain.

Know You're Paying Too Much

If you are either being put under financial pressure to make these payments or notice your ex-spouse spending a lot of extra money without valid cause, then you are likely paying too much. If either of these events are true, you should contact your lawyer. You will then be tasked with gathering evidence of financial strain or that your ex-spouse is misusing these funds in order to obtain a lower payment.

Find out If You Are Paying Too Much in Child Support

The world tends to look down unfavorably on those that don't pay child support. However, in truth, the imperfect equation can make those payments far too high for some to bear. You will need to prove that it causes a burden, and the court will lower them if you have at least made an attempt to pay them when you can.

If you are having divorce or child support problems, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you navigate this difficult area of the law in order to get the best possible results. Don't suffer under this burden when there is still action to take.

Can You Increase Spousal Support?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

alimony payment

If there is one thing that is certain in life, it is that circumstances can and will change. This is why spousal support can be so fickle. The circumstances that were your life at divorce can often change over time, but the question is, will they affect spousal support. In truth, you can increase and decrease the amount you get from spousal support payments depending on what is going on in your life. These circumstances include:

Both Parties Agree

The most rare reason is both parties can agree to lower or raise an alimony payment. Even in the most amicable divorces, this is not likely to happen, but a signed document by both parties taken to the court is good enough reason for them.

Cost of Living Adjustment

If there was a clause in your divorce that states alimony will be adjusted for the cost of living, this can cause alimony to go up in order to adjust to the annual cost of living. This often solves any future need to modify spousal support, but it can be a difficult clause for both parties to agree on.

Escalator Clauses

Similar to a cost of living clause in a divorce decree, there can also be an escalator clause. This means that when the spouse paying makes more money, they have to pay more in spousal support. However, this clause can be a gamble as it can work the opposite way as well.

Temporary Loss

If you have become unemployed temporarily, your spousal support can be modified temporarily. The courts could rule that payments stop for a short while or that they just decrease until whatever is affecting the spouse's life changes.

While divorce shouldn't be about who gets the most, you always want your fair share. If you are going through a divorce, contact us today to see how the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help.

A Beverly Hills Divorce Lawyer Discusses Games Divorced Couples Play

Saturday, September 07, 2019

man and woman sitting on couch

After a couple is divorced, each person begins to settle into their new life, single and unattached. Some couples have difficulty with this new way of living, and even though they are legally free and unencumbered, they continue to banter back and forth for a period of time. This is out of fear of that long forgotten way of life of living single again. 

Without a doubt, this change is not comfortable at first, and sometimes it is easier to try and hold onto that more familiar life, of having someone else around. Before your new life can get a firm foundation and, fully begin, divorced couples will play games with each other for a while until each finally accepts the break-up and moves forward. That is when the game playing usually ends.

Here are three games to look out for and to avoid if possible. 

Look at Me Now

 This game is usually played when one becomes thinner, healthier, dresses better, and in general is paying more attention to their physical appearance. That improved image is flaunted as a way of saying "Look at how much better my life is without you! Divorcing you is good for me".

The Better Parent

 Competing for being the better parent or the most liked parent by showering the kids with extravagant presents, or allowing them to break the rules the other parent sets.

Still Want Me? 

 The ex-husband becomes flirtatious with the ex-wife to see if she still wants him and will feign interest in her to see if he is still able to attract other women.

Divorce is filled with so much emotion, and even after the divorce is finalized, emotions can still run high and create problems for both involved. To learn more about divorce, please contact us.

Can a Divorce Be Stopped Once Filed?

Thursday, August 22, 2019

woman looking at paperwork

Once the divorce papers are filed, it seems very final, but in truth you still have a long way to go towards finally being divorced. As long as there has not been a final divorce decree issued by the court, you can still take that action back. You may decide that you acted in the heat of things or worked out some issues with your spouse. You as a couple could have also decided to stay together for the children. Whatever the case, you may still be able to take back a divorce filing once it has started.

The earlier you take action, the easier it will be to take back divorce filing. If you are already in court, it may be more difficult, but your lawyer can help make it happen. Most commonly, however, divorce filings are dissolved within the first few weeks of filing it. This can be done, in some states, via a form from the internet. However, the filer will probably want to go to the clerk where the divorce was filed.

Once there, they can ask it to be revoked, in which they will need to fill out the proper form that the clerk will provide. Once this is done, some states may require that the spouse that didn't file is served with a copy of the divorce dismissal. They will send this on your behalf to make sure they get it. If the spouse does not agree, then they are free to file for divorce instead.

While having a divorce filing revoked is somewhat rare, it can happen. If you want to revoke your divorce filing, even if you don't think you can, you should contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you walk through every step of divorce, including undoing the initial proceedings if necessary.

Obtaining Custody as an Unmarried Father

Thursday, August 15, 2019

father and daughter

Unfortunately, if a father is not married to the mother of his child, he doesn't come with the same inherit parental rights. In many cases, parental rights between two unmarried people are worked out away from the courtroom, but this doesn't mean they are legally binding.

If you are an unmarried father, you need to take steps to get your legal rights. The first course of action is for both the father and mother to sign the birth certificate. Once this happens, you will legally be entitled to parental rights.

If the mother refuses to put your name on a birth certificate, unfortunately, you will need to go to court. You can file with the court to have an official paternity test done. This will make your paternal rights legally binding. After paternity is officially established in the eyes of the court, the father can then seek to have custody of their child. In most courts, they believe in having two parents in a child's life. Unless the mother can prove that the father would provide a somehow dangerous environment, at very least visitation will be granted.

Unfortunately, if you don't wish to go to court and a mother will not sign acknowledgment of paternity, then there is not much you can do without legal intervention. Unless you go to court, it means both you as the father and your family will have no legal rights to visitation of your child.

If you are an unwed father and want to be in your child's life, contact us today. The family law system often seems greatly unfair to fathers, but that is not the case if the father is willing to go through the court system for their rights. The courts always consider the best interest of a child, and often that means having a relationship with both parents.

What to Do When Paternity is Filed Against You

Friday, August 09, 2019

man signing papers

For some men, there may come a day when they are served with a court summons to establish paternity. If you have not signed a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, then a woman can go through the courts to establish it formally through the court with a DNA test. If you have signed the acknowledgement, then you may also be served with papers demanding support for the child financially. Regardless of what you have been served with, what should your next move be when this happens?

When you are served, your first action should be to actually read the papers to discover what they want. They may be calling you in for a paternity test or they may be demanding child support. These are two different matters that require different approaches. However, the most important part of both is the time in which you have to give your answer. The complaint will be numbered and you need to either agree or deny each part of it. Unfortunately, you have a rather narrow time frame to do so. This is where your next action comes in.

After a complaint has been served to you, next you will want to get in contact with a family law attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you formulate a reply to the complaint and explain what each answer means. For example, agreeing to test paternity could also mean paying child support if it turns out to be true. Your lawyer will advise you on how best to answer for the outcome that you want to happen.

If you have been served with paternity or for any other family law matters, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra is dedicated to helping you get the outcomes you want so you can do what is best for your family.