Family Law Blog

6 Tips for Your First Meeting With a Divorce Attorney

Friday, August 10, 2018

Meeting with a divorce attorney for the first time? You are taking a major step, and it is important to be properly prepared. Here are five tips for meeting with your divorce lawyer for the first time.

divorce attorney

Know What to Bring 

Ask the lawyer which documents you need to bring along. You might need to bring various tax documents and other legal documents. Make sure you bring all of them so that the lawyer can be properly prepared going forward.

Prepare a List of Questions

Write down any questions that you may have so that you are prepared for the meeting. If a question pops into your head, write it down. This way, you won't leave anything out by mistake.

Be Honest

The lawyer is going to ask you various questions about your marriage, your history together, and so on. Be honest. There is nothing to be ashamed of; divorce lawyers are prepared for every scenario. Not leaving anything out means that your lawyer will be able to handle your case properly.

Coordinate With Your Spouse

If you are going to the meeting together with your spouse, make sure that you are working together. You may not be on the best of terms, but coordinating and working together will ensure that the entire divorce process goes as smoothly as possible without any hiccups. Of course, don't bring your kids to the meeting; it's totally unnecessary. 

Take Notes

Take notes during your meeting. You are going to be covering a lot of topics, and some of them may be new to you. 

Give Yourself Enough Time

Get to the meeting early so that you have enough time. You want to make sure that you can cover all aspects of the divorce process and not leave anything out.

Contact us today for more information. 

5 Tips for Making the Divorce Process Smoother

Friday, August 03, 2018

divorce papers

Going through a divorce is a harrowing process. There will always be tough times to get through. Here are a few tips for making the process easier.

Rediscover Yourself

After living with someone for so long, your identity becomes intertwined with that individual. When you break up with that person, you feel like you are losing your identity. That is why breakups and divorces can be so depressing. After a divorce, start rediscovering the person who you always were before you got married. Discover your passions, take up some new hobbies, and start enjoying yourself while you are alone.

Have a Support System

It is important to have a support system for when going through a breakup. You need all the emotional support you can get. Have a close family member or friend who you can talk to and who will not judge you. If necessary, go to a therapist who is trained in divorces and who can help you feel better.

Don't Get Bitter

It's easy to get extremely bitter after a divorce. Many people feel extreme emotions of hurt, anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge. However, try to avoid getting into bitter arguments with your ex. Keep things civil, don't be vengeful, and avoid escalating things unnecessarily.

Focus On the Kids

Always focus on what is best for the kids instead of how you can get revenge on your ex. Have the kids' best interests in mind. Try to maintain as much of a connection with them as you can.

Get Legal Help

You also need to get a good divorce lawyer who can help you navigate the process. Divorces are extremely complex from a legal point of view, and you need someone who will be able to help you out in your specific situation. Having a good attorney means that the entire process will be so much smoother. Contact us today for help.

How Long Does Rehabilitative Alimony Last?

Friday, July 27, 2018

There are many different types of alimony that may be used depending on the specifics of a divorce. However, most commonly, if you are going through a divorce, you may find yourself paying or receiving what is referred to as rehabilitative alimony or spousal support. Unlike permanent alimony, you may find yourself paying or receiving this for only a set period of time.

Rehabilitative spousal support is meant to not be permanent, but to "rehabilitate" a spouse so they can become self-sufficient after a divorce. However, as to how long it can last will vary. Sometimes, the courts can decide that it should be paid only for a set amount of time so the spouse can get back on their feet. However, rehabilitative alimony can also be tied to a specific goal such as graduating college or gaining sufficient employment.

Yet, if rehabilitative alimony is tied to a specific goal, it leaves room for a spouse to abuse that. They could take a year off their education or only take one class. If there is not a sufficient reason for this, you may be able to argue that you should no longer pay spousal support. Often in these cases, an ex-spouse will get a job and not have time for education, or not want to pursue it at all anymore. Usually, the rules for rehabilitative alimony can then be altered or dismissed depending on how much an ex-spouse is making at their new job or changing the rehabilitative alimony from "goal-based" to a set time limit.

While no one really wants to pay spousal support, doing so on a rehabilitative basis can often be preferable purely because it is not forever and they only need to pay for a set amount of time. If you are going through a divorce and want to make sure you are not paying spousal support forever, then contact us today.

Does a Custodial Parent Have to Show How Child Support is Used?

Friday, July 20, 2018

Child support can be a difficult issue. The idea is that non-custodial parents pay the primary caretakers so that they use that money to best provide for their child. Unfortunately, for some parents, they don't always use that money for their child, and it can leave non-custodial parents like they are being taken advantage of.

It is believed by many that child support should go to items that provide for the child, such as food, clothes, and toys. However, the truth is that child support can also technically be used for non-tangible items that go towards the child's well-being. Often child support is used towards paying rent, utilities, child care, and even the child's entertainment. Technically, these go towards caring for the child, but in doing so also aids the primary caretaker.

Yet, even knowing this, there are some that pay child support that want to know exactly where their money is going. Unfortunately, most agencies do not monitor this. The way child support is calculated reflects the reasonable needs of the child and the ability of the paying parent to support them. However, if you suspect the primary caretaker of not using the money to supply the child's needs, such as going on extravagant vacations without the child or funding a new alcohol or drug addiction, you can bring it up with the courts. Often these issues go hand-in-hand with neglectful behavior and it can then become a custody issue. Often this can result in re-assigning custody to the non-custodial parent if the issue is bad enough.

If you suspect that your ex-spouse is abusing your child support payments for their own pleasure instead of providing proper care for your child, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra and Jamra can help you navigate the court system so you make sure you are not wasting your money and your child is being taken care of.

Does Remarriage Stop Child Support?

Friday, July 20, 2018

After divorce, time has a way of marching on. Even if you share children together, if you are no longer together, both the custodial and non-custodial parents may start to see other people and even consider getting remarried. However, does remarriage affect child support payments?

In many cases, it doesn't. You aren't paying for the care of your ex-spouse, you are paying for the care of your child. This means that even if a custodial spouse remarries, the non-custodial parent will need to continue the agreed upon child support payments. Often, if the non-custodial parent remarries, they will simply need to talk over their financial contribution to their child with their new spouse. If you are still actively involved in your child's life, you will still want to keep making payments until they reach the age of majority.

There is one occasion in which the non-custodial parent will be freed from child support payment responsibility, and that is if the new partner of your ex-spouse agrees to formally adopt the child. While many step-parents may like to formally adopt them, it does require the non-custodial parent to relinquish their remaining parental rights. Once this has been done, the non-custodial parent may be barred from contact with their child because they have no parental rights, which is why even though this is an option to escape child support, it is not always an option that non-custodial parents want to take.

It can be worked out with your ex-spouse, that if you are on amicable terms, you can still be involved in your child's life, but often they can very legally change their mind on this agreement later. While the animosity of divorce can fade with time, it is typically not a good idea to relinquish your parental rights of a child if you still want to be involved in their life.

For more information on child support, divorce, or other family law topics, contact us today to see what we can do to help you.

Will My Prenuptial Agreement Hold Up in Court?

Friday, July 06, 2018

Before any marriage, it is a good idea to consider the utilization of a prenuptial agreement. Although these agreements have a stigma attached to them where it looks like one spouse doesn't think the marriage will last, they are excellent tools in case it, in fact, doesn't work out. Often it works to protect both parties, but unfortunately, it isn't something that one spouse can use to give themselves an unfair advantage. A prenuptial agreement needs to be both reasonable fair and lawful in order for it to hold up in court. There are basic matrimony laws in which a prenuptial agreement cannot overcome. If you draft a prenup with gaining an advantage over your spouse in mind, there is a strong likelihood that it will be invalidated through the courts.

What You Can't Include in a Prenuptial Agreement?

If you want your prenuptial agreement to be upheld by the courts and not rendered invalid, you may want to avoid including certain aspects. Sometimes just certain parts of a prenuptial agreement may be rendered invalid, but if you put in too many inappropriate clauses, you risk the whole thing being thrown out.

  • Child Custody and Support - The court will always have the final say in decisions regarding child custody and the support provided by the other party, because it works in the best interest of the child and not the parents.
  • Right to Alimony - A prenuptial agreement cannot include a waiver for alimony in the event of a divorce.
  • Financial Incentives for Divorce - Despite the stigma, a prenuptial agreement isn't a document stating there will be a divorce, and thus it cannot have any financial incentives, or otherwise, encouraging divorce within. This also means detailing how assets will be split in the event of a divorce. Instead, it might be better to think a prenuptial agreement as a protection of assets you already have.
  • Rules About Personal Life - You want your wife to do the dishes every night? Is your husband in charge of all lawn work? While a comical and almost handy agreement, these sort of personal rules cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement. It limits personal freedoms and it will not hold up in court if you state that your spouse breached those terms.

So What is a Prenuptial Agreement For?

It is often better to think of a prenup as a protection for your current assets and not your future marital assets. For example, if you own family property or businesses, a prenuptial agreement can make sure they help stay in the family. It can also be a tool to protect a child's asset from a previous marriage or even protect yourself from a spouse's debt. Often in marriage, the assets are combined, but a prenuptial agreement helps make sure you retain what you had before in the event of a divorce.

If you want to learn more about prenuptial agreements or need representation in a divorce, contact us today.


How is Child Visitation Time Decided?

Friday, June 29, 2018

If you are splitting with your spouse, you might not care so much about the property and other assets in your marriage so much as you care about if you will ever get to see your children again. However, many going through this process are confused as to how the process of deciding visitation actually works. Who even decides? Is it the courts or is it the parents?

The truth is that when deciding visitation, it is a bit of both. When deciding child custody, the courts will always examine the facts and make a decision on what is best for the child. Ideally, they will want to prefer joint custody, but will decide a primary custody holder. Afterward, they will also recommend a visitation schedule.

Once primary custody rights have been assigned, the actual realistic visitation schedule will be sorted out with the parents. Obviously, if one parent decides to move to a different town, it may not be feasible to have visitations every weekend. That schedule could disrupt the child's school and life schedule. Instead, it may be decided that they visit every other weekend with longer stays over school holidays.

However, if the primary custody holder is not adhering to the recommended visitation schedule, unfortunately for the non-primary custody holding parent, they have little choice but to return to court. Before returning to what could be an expensive court battle, it is important that the non-primary custody parent seek the advice of a lawyer to look over the original court orders. If the courts laid out a visitation schedule and the primary custody holding parent is technically still in compliance, you will not have much of a case.

If you are going through a divorce where child custody is likely to be an issue, then you need to contact us today. What you need more than anything else is skilled legal counsel to make sure that you still get to see your kids again after divorce.


What to Consider Before Moving Out of Your Marital Home

Friday, June 22, 2018

woman moving out of house

If you and your spouse have made the decision that divorce is the right option, there is a lot for both sides to consider. If the decision for divorce was made due to contention in the relationship, you may be eager to move out of the marital home to ease some of that negativity. However, before you do so, there are some considerations that you need to keep in mind. By simply moving out, you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Ownership Rights

When you move out of your marital home, you aren't relinquishing your ownership rights, but it can affect how property is divided later. Furthermore, while not living in the home, you still have to maintain insurance and pay the mortgage. Only when the home is refinanced or sold does this take you off the hook. Your lender doesn't much care if you are living there or not.

Custody

When custody is decided, the courts will want to impact the child's life as little as possible. This can often mean they will want them to stay in the same home that they know. If your spouse is the only one living in that home, it may give them an edge in the custody battle.

Finances

This is probably the most important aspect to consider. You both may want one person to move out of the family home just for a little space to craft your new lives. However, divorces are expensive and you both might not yet have the funds to support splitting into another household. If you are paying rent for an apartment and a mortgage, it will severely drain marital finances, and no one wants that.

If you are starting the divorce process and need help making sure you get what is fairly yours from your dissolving marriage, contact us today.

Modifying Child Custody in Calfornia

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Few issues in divorce become as emotionally-charged as matters concerning a couple's children. While couples can often be more open to compromise on many other considerations, child custody can quickly become quite contentious when the parents have differing opinions. 

California state law makes the health, safety, and welfare of children the primary concern for courts in making decisions relating to child custody. Both parents are assumed to have equal rights to custody. 

Couples may enter into joint custody agreements. Joint legal custody refers to both parents having decision-making powers regarding a child's health, safety, and welfare, while joint physical custody refers to equal time relating to both physical custody and decision-making issues. Joint custody schedules typically involve parents using alternating weeks or series of days every week.

In other cases, parents may agree to make one party the primary custodial parent while the other is the noncustodial parent. A noncustodial parent sees a childless often than a parent with joint custody, usually on an every other weekend schedule with a night or two of dinners that do not include overnight stays. 

Problems can arise in custody agreements as the result of any one of a number of external factors. One parent may need a schedule adjusted because of a new job, or one parent might not be complying with the original custody order. 

In order to modify a child custody order, the parent submitting the petition will need to prove a significant "change in circumstances." Courts may require couples to agree to mediation before a court hearing when one party seeks to modify a child custody order. 

If you need to modify a child custody order or your former partner is seeking an adjustment you do not agree with, you will want to contact Jamra & Jamra as soon as possible. Our experienced family law attorneys can work to help you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.

Ways to Dissolve a Marriage in California

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Getting a divorce can be very emotional and stressful for the parties involved. However, understanding the legal requirements can help you put things into perspective. There are two ways to dissolve a marriage in California and both have very different requirements.

The first way to dissolve a marriage is by filing for Divorce. Each state has its own statutes for divorce.  Some states have fault-based grounds for divorce such as adultery, desertion or cruelty. However, California has is a non-fault based state. This means that you must state that there are irreconcilable differences.  

Another ground for Divorce in California is incurable insanity. You must prove that at the time of filing the petition your spouse has a permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. The court requires testimony from medical doctor or psychiatrist.  

Before the court will enter a judgment for divorce either you or your spouse must have resided in California for 6 months and 3 months in the county where the case is filed. 

The second way to dissolve a marriage is by filing a petition for an annulment. The California statute sets out several conditions that could nullify a marriage. A marriage may be voidable if you can prove incapacity, inability to consent, bigamy, fraud, consent obtained by force, incest, or either party or both were of unsound mind. The court can also award you attorney's fees if it finds that you are the innocent party.  

Divorce and annulment cases can be very complex and difficult to handle on your own. You should enlist the help of a qualified attorney to help you. Jamra & Jamra is a law firm with skilled attorneys who can help you sort out the complexities of your divorce case. If you need help navigating the process for dissolving your marriage contact us today.