Family Law Blog

Are At-Home DNA Test Admissible in Court?

Saturday, June 08, 2019

dna test

Whether you want to determine paternity or use your own DNA to prove something else, you may think to turn to a number of DNA testing kits that are sold to use as evidence in your family law case. These kits allow you to test DNA in the comfort of your own home, but unfortunately, the results of these kits won't hold up in court.

Even in family law court, which is not considered as serious as criminal court, a test needs to be legally admissible. Home DNA tests are not considered admissible in court. The primary concern is the test itself could have been tainted. Outside factors could have affected the test results because they were not handled in the correct manner.

Of course, the court may also suspect that you tampered with the test results. What it to stop you from using another's DNA and claiming it for your own? In official DNA tests, the chain of custody must remain unbroken to ensure the validity and authenticity of the test. With at-home DNA kits, there is no chain of custody, so literally anything could have happened.

If your family law case does hinge on DNA test results, you can take the at home tests to confirm the DNA. However, you cannot use those tests in court. Instead, you will need to recommend a DNA test to the court to confirm the results in an official capacity. So this doesn't mean your DNA results are a bust, you just need to go through the correct channels to make those results official.

If you are considering any family law case, be it custody, divorce, or child support, we can help you. Contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can offer in order to get the best results from your case.


Married, Divorced, Married, and Divorced Again – How it Effects The Process

Thursday, May 23, 2019

woman taking ring off finger

Some people just can't stay away from each other. They may have gotten married without thinking, gotten a divorce, realized they were still in love, married again, and years later it is divorce time yet again for one reason or another. For some, remarriage may last forever, but if it dissolves into divorce again, does this have any effect?

The honest truth is if you are divorcing someone that you divorced before, it may actually make the process faster. The asset division from the previous divorce can be withheld, so this means that they only need to divide that which was new in the second marriage. However, it can create some unique problems.

For example, if you got the house in your first divorce, you could argue that it is not marital property in the second divorce. However, your spouse could argue the exact opposite. Both parties may technically be correct and a judge will have to sort that out. Furthermore, they may want the house in trade for something else. Is it possible for it to be a bargaining chip?

Thankfully, while the division of the actual stuff may be more complicated in some regards, alimony will typically stay the same. You won't receive the same amount from the first divorce, however. Instead, the court will examine the two separate incomes. These may have changed since the first divorce happened, so someone may be paying or paying less depending on their income. Furthermore, if a spouse is now financially independent on their own, there may no alimony payment at all.

One divorce is messy enough, but if you are divorcing a person that you already divorced in the past, you know you need help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get the best possible outcome. It's okay to be confused in loved, but don't let a marriage ruin your whole life.

How Custody is Determined When Parents Live in Different Countries

Friday, May 17, 2019

When two parents divorce, they often want to live out their own dreams. For some, that could be moving to another country. However, just because they live elsewhere does not mean they also want to completely abandon their parental rights. The question remains, how does child custody work across borders?

As you can imagine, divorce where one parent is a foreign national or intending to move across borders is one of the messiest cases in family law. It could be that they take your child across the border and you never see them again. However, if the parent were intending to disappear your child, they probably wouldn't bother going to family court.

When hearing child custody cases that intend to take a child over the border for primary custody, the judge will take many things into consideration. Some may even grant custody to a foreign parent if they believe it is in the best interests of the child. For example, if they are living in a two bedroom apartment in the United States, but they would live in a grand mansion in Canada, that would be in the better interests of the child. Furthermore, the judge will also take into consideration the presence of extended family. They believe it is important to have a strong support network and will consider the parent that does have one more strongly.

If you are fighting for custody, it is also important that you bring up any potential issues you think may arise. For example, if the country has bad relations with the United States, the parent could sue for custody there and actually win. This means they could overwrite a U.S. custody ruling. Furthermore, if there is no international treaty, it may be difficult to get a child that goes there back if the parent decides to keep them.

If you are fighting for custody with a foreign parent and need help, contact us today.

Will Lying in a Custody Case Cause Perjury Charges?

Thursday, May 09, 2019

judge using mallet in courtroom

Lying in court is a dangerous game. Those who even think about it know that they can be charged with contempt or even perjury as a punishment that was made just for those who lie under oath. Unfortunately, criminal court is not the same as family court. If you take the stand in criminal court as a witness, telling blatant lies will have you facing criminal charges of perjury. However, as a civil court, if you lie in front of a judge in a custody case, it is unlikely you will face the same criminal charges.

While the charges of contempt and perjury were put in place to keep people honest, they are only used in criminal trials where another person's freedom depends on witness testimony. While the custody of your children can feel similar, the courts do not consider it the same.

So if your ex-spouse decides to lie in your custody case, what does happen to them? Well, they probably won't be charged with perjury. Instead, it will be up to your lawyer to provide proof of their lies, and this in turn will likely have civil consequences. If they are caught in their lies, it will reflect negatively on them. Depending on the extent of their lies, they may face harsher punishments. For example, if an ex-spouse lied about their income, how much the work, and accused you of abuse, these multiple lies will probably lose them the custody case even if they are fit parents. Lying in court for their gain does not look great to any judge.

Are you starting a custody case and believe that your spouse may lie in front of a judge? Contact us today to see how the Jamra & Jamra Law Firm can help you get the best possible results so you can keep seeing your children.


Five Ways to Get Over the Ex

Thursday, May 02, 2019

So, the person you spent months or years with ended up not being right for you. Bummer. Perhaps they broke your heart, or you just couldn't handle some of their behaviors. Divorcing someone you were in a relationship with is never fun, but eventually, you have to move on in life. You might be asking yourself how to do such a thing when your life feels like it has been turned upside down. So, here is a list of five ways to move on after a divorce!

1. Do all of the things that you didn't when you were with the ex. They didn't like the beach? Well, it's time for a beach day! They hated Italian food? On tonight's menu are Zuppa and lasagne! Enjoy all of the little things you had to give up to make your ex-partner happy. 

2. Date. Yes I know, it's probably the last thing you want to do. Unless you plan to stay single forever then you need to get back in the saddle. Hopefully, you won't have to kiss too many frogs to find your prince or princess. 

3. Move somewhere you always have wanted to live. If there is nothing tying you to your current location, then why stay there? Maybe you moved to that city to be near your now ex, but really you want to live somewhere warmer, colder or less expensive? By all means, do it! 

4. Reconnect with friends and family. Everyone knows that a marriage takes up a lot of your time, and that is okay. Other relationships may be put on the back burner during your marriage but now as a single person, you can rekindle those relationships. Haven't seen grandma in a while? Shame on you! Get over there as soon as possible!

5. Go out as a party of one and become comfortable with your own company. When was the last time you went to a movie by yourself? Never? How about going to the gym or a concert sans spouse? It is time to get out there and enjoy yourself, by yourself. This is important, as it will help you become more comfortable with who you are as a person and you may develop interests you never knew you had!

Divorce is definitely not fun, there's no doubt about that. Sooner or later it's time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back out into the world. Hopefully, these five suggestions will help you do just that. Feel free to contact us for further help with your separation and divorce.

5 Methods of Collecting Past Due Child Support

Friday, April 26, 2019

Man handing over cash to woman

After a divorce, finances are often tight. Single parents often rely on child support payments to make ends meet. What options do you have if your ex stops paying court-ordered child support?

Under the federal Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, districts attorneys and state's attorneys have the authority to collect arrears child support on custodial parents' behalf.

States have several options to collect child support payments in arrears, including:

Wage Garnishment

Child support arrangements often carry an order for the support payments to be garnished from the obligor's wages.  However, this may not be as effective if the non-custodial parent changes jobs frequently or is unemployed.

Tax Refunds

If a tax refund is owed to the debtor parent, the custodial parent may be able to intercept the tax refund to collect the support payments owed. If the obligor has remarried, only his or her portion of the tax refund can be redirected. The obligor's new spouse is entitled to keep their full tax refund.

Contempt of Court

Non-custodial parents who do not make court-ordered child support payments can face a contempt-of-court charge. Someone found guilty of contempt can be subjected to fines or even jail time.

Revoking a License

If child support is delinquent, another method of enforcement is to have the state revoke the obligor's driver's license. Other professional licenses may also be withheld—for example, licenses for physicians, attorneys, or those working in trades such as plumbing. Business licenses may also be included in some cases. The option to withhold a license may not be available in every state.

Property Liens

When child support is in default, states may place liens on any real estate or automobiles owned by the obligor parent. A lien prevents the asset from being sold until the delinquent payments are made.

If you need help collecting child support in arrears, contact us to set up a consultation.  


Tips to Make Mediation Work

Thursday, April 18, 2019

man and woman going through divorce mediation

Though you may think that you need to go to court to get divorced, the truth is that there is a better way. Mediation can really save you time and money. It could also save your relationship, especially if you are parents. Parents who try mediation are often better co-parents because of it. They didn't spend months fighting through the court system because they found a way to make it work together.  

That being said, it isn't always easy. Here are some tips to make mediation work.

Choose the right mediator. 

Though any mediator will help you through this process, you need to make sure that you find one that you are both comfortable with. You may also want to make sure that he or she has helped others who were in a similar situation as you are. Some specialize in helping those who are dealing with cheating, have children involved, or are in a certain financial situation.

Have all of your paperwork together. 

Getting all of your paperwork together can be tedious. You are going to need information about the mortgage, your health insurance, any retirement accounts, and much more. However, if you don't have them when you come to mediation, it isn't going to help. In order to split up your things, you are going to need the information.

Don't be afraid to take a break. 

There are times when you are talking about things that are going to be hard for you. This is especially true when it comes to figuring out what is best for the children. Your emotions may get the best of you. Don't be afraid to ask for a break so you can compose yourself and try again.

When you are going through mediation, you need to choose the right person to help you through the process. You also need to make sure that you have all of your paperwork in order. If not, it will just slow down the whole process. Then, don't be afraid to take breaks when you need to. It is important so that you can come back refreshed and ready to try again.

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

5 Factors to Consider Before Choosing A Divorce Attorney

Thursday, April 11, 2019

woman signing divorce papers

Once you start thinking about divorce, it pays to stay ahead of the curve. An experienced divorce lawyer will have valuable advice regarding actions you should take long before you file for divorce. This advice can save you time, money and heartache during an extremely stressful time. Retaining the right attorney can make a huge difference in how you fare in your divorce. It's important to shop around and make sure your time, money, and trust is being invested in the right representation. When the stakes are high, make sure you've considered the following factors before you make hiring decisions:

Cost

The first thing you'll want to know is how much the attorney charges. Most divorce attorneys will require a retainer fee and charge by the hour. These fee amounts will ultimately determine who you can reasonably afford to hire. You will want to get an estimate of the total amount you'll end up owing attorney but it's unlikely that he or she will be able to give you an exact figure during an initial consultation.

Experience

The attorney's work experience is a major factor you'll want to evaluate. You'll want an attorney who specializes in divorce and family law matters, as these proceedings have require a unique set of skills. A certification of specialization in family law is reassurance that you're dealing with someone who knows what they're doing. Additionally, each state has its own set of laws dictating divorce, and jurisdictions within a state may have their own local nuances in divorce proceedings. As such, it is important to retain an attorney who is familiar with the state law and the local practices in the county in which you'll file for divorce.

Reputation

One of the best ways to find a good attorney is to see who comes referred. Reach out to friends and family who have gone through the divorce process, ask which attorney they used and find out what their experience was. Even if their recommendations are out of your area or budget, it can be helpful to contact their offices and see if they can refer you to someone who may work for you. After you've spoken with a potential candidate, don't be afraid to do your research and ask around.

Convenience

Convenience shouldn't be a deal breaker in all instances, but you'll want to hire attorney who is easy to get in touch with and whose office isn't located in at unworkable distance. Finding a lawyer whose office is close to home, work, or your kids' school can make life much easier on you down the road.  

Comfort

The final factor may be the most important of them all. You will want to hire an attorney who you can feel comfortable around. Divorce cases are an understandably emotional process. Your attorney is a person who you'll depend on throughout this extremely tumultuous period. This is someone you will need to be excruciatingly honest regarding sensitive topics. As such, your divorce attorney will need to be someone you can trust.

 Going through a divorce is a difficult process. Don't make things any harder on yourself by hiring the wrong divorce attorney. Considering these five factors can help you find the right attorney for you. When you need an honest, experienced, and reputable attorneys handling your divorce, contact the lawyers at Jamra & Jamra today.


Shielding Children From the Effects of Divorce

Friday, April 05, 2019

parents getting divorced arguing with upset child

The disintegration of marriage brings about significant changes in the lives of a couple's children. Divorce can have lasting psychological and emotional impacts on children—but, there are steps that parents can take to alleviate these effects.

A divorce, from a child's perspective, is the crumbling of their most basic foundational structure. Life suddenly becomes confusing and unpredictable. Children may have to cope with two homes, separate holiday celebrations, and the introduction of their parents' new love interests. Their parents' divorce will stand as a major marker in their history. Everything that happens in a child's life will be categorized as a pre-divorce or post-divorce event. 

Emotional Effects

Children coping with a parental divorce may experience a wide range of emotions, including:

• Sadness

• Anger

• Low self-esteem

• Low self-confidence

• Rejection

• Conflicting loyalty

• Sense of fault

For younger children, divorce intensifies parental dependence. To the contrary, it will expedite independence in adolescent-aged children. While young children will revert back to infantile behaviors, like tantrums and thumbsucking, older children will push away from their parents with vigor.

Reducing the Costs of Divorce

The end of a marriage is treacherous to navigate for all parties. There are, however, a number of ways to help reduce the impact on children. With adolescents, the goal is to increase their responsibility to slow their separation from the family unit. For younger kids, the priority should be to establish a routine to restore the structure. A sense of safety comes from predictability in a family. 

It goes without saying, fighting in front of children should be avoided. Emotions are high during a divorce and can be tough to restrain. However, children should not witness their parents insulting or berating one another. This behavior only confirms their fear that the family is falling apart. Emotional issues should be worked out privately with a therapist or counselor. 

Divorce comes with a price—that means financial, emotional, and time costs. There could be extended negotiations for custody of the children, finances, and property. A family lawyer can help resolve disputes amicably. Parents should avoid involving children in financial or property-related disputes.

Behaving with civility will increase a child's confidence in his or her parents' ability to uphold a functioning, loving family. Establishing a routine and providing reassurance are vital to reducing the negative implants of divorce on children.

 

Need Help?

Jamra & Jamra focus exclusively on family law, offering the highest possible degree of attention in your divorce case. For assistance in your family law matters, please contact us today.

Is Your Prenuptial Agreement Safe From Nullification?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

closeup of bride and groom holding hands

With all the uncertainty in the world, prenuptial agreements are becoming more standard in upcoming marriages. It is not that these agreements set guidelines for a marriage, but rather set a healthy foundation for what will hopefully be a lasting marriage. However, people change and a prenuptial agreement is meant to protect both parties. Yet, if you have one crafted, it is important to make sure it stands up to scrutiny. If you want to make sure your prenuptial agreement is protected from nullification, it is best to know the ways it can be nullified.

Verbal Agreements

Even if you have all the witnesses in the world, a verbal prenuptial agreement will never be legally binding. In essence, a verbal prenuptial agreement doesn't actually exist.

Invalid Provisions

Again, a prenuptial agreement is not a document on how both parties need to act in a marriage. In fact, by including such invalid provisions within, it can actually nullify the entire document.  Furthermore, if the circumstances of one or both parties have changed drastically, you may find that courts will not uphold a prenuptial agreement in which the terms have morphed into something grossly unfair.

Time Was a Factor

It is very important that when a prenuptial agreement is being drafted, you give your spouse an appropriate amount of time to read the document and sign it. If you finished drafting the document and pressured them into signing it that very same day, it could very well be your undoing. By proving there was pressure in signing or that there was not the adequate time given to read it, the courts may render it invalid.

False Information Was Included

Lies are neither something that helps build a healthy marriage nor will they work to your advantage in a prenuptial agreement. If it can be proven that you failed to disclose important information that would affect the prenuptial agreement and the terms set within, the courts could render the entire agreement invalid.

Are you crafting a prenuptial agreement for your upcoming marriage, or worse, challenging one from your dissolving marriage? We can help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra does for you.