Family Law Blog

Does My Spouse Have to Pay For a Child's College?

Friday, December 21, 2018

When it comes to child support, a non-primary custody parent only has the obligation to pay child support until the child reaches the age of majority, otherwise known as 18 years old. There is an exception that states they will continue to pay until the child graduates high school if that comes later as well. However, most parents care for their child, and at this age, they want them to go to college. Both parents may even want to help pay for it, even if divorced. However, if your spouse doesn't, do they still need to contribute to a college education?

In most cases, if two parents agree to pay for college during a divorce, specific language will be added to the final papers to make it legally binding. As it can be many years before a child reaches college age, this can be an important step. However, there will be certain exceptions made if the paying spouse suddenly has a change in financial circumstances.

If you and your spouse can both agree that you both want to contribute to a child's college education, it should be written down in the divorce agreement. Furthermore, the language should also be flexible to make sure one parent can still contribute even if they make less later. It is important to talk over how to do this with your divorce lawyer so that it is in the child's best interests. College can be particularly expensive, so help from your ex-spouse should be welcomed. However, it is best to also make sure it is legally binding.

If you are going through a divorce and want to make sure a spouse will actually pay when it comes time to send your children to college, contact us today. We can help craft divorce papers to make sure it is included.

Is Spousal Support Necessary If You Both Have Careers

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The funny thing about most areas of the law is that many people don't know the specifics of them until they need to. Divorce law is no exception. When you get married, you might not want to think about it, and it can end up costing you later if the relationship falls apart. One of the many specifics that people don't know much about is the issue of spousal support.

Some may think that no matter their situation, they are owed spousal support from the other party for one of many reasons. Maybe their spouse cheated on them, and they feel they are owed something for it. Unfortunately, that just isn't how spousal support works.

In the simplest terms, spousal support is meant to be support for a spouse. For example, if a woman dropped out of college to become a stay-at-home mother, if she were to get divorced 10 years down the line, she may not have the work skills of a woman her age to sufficiently support herself after the divorce. Spousal support is meant to help spouses of fewer means get self-sufficient again.

For those that signed prenuptial agreements, spousal support payments can last a lifetime, but typically they are temporary. It could be a few years, but spousal support is designed to support a spouse until they can find employment. This means that if you are a divorcing couple and both have well-paying jobs, there may not actually be a need for spousal support.

In fact, a couple that both have careers may simply need to split the marital assets and be done with it. Child support and custody will need to be addressed if they had children, but otherwise, spousal support is likely to be a non-issue.

If you are divorcing and wish to learn more about your options, contact us today.

Claiming Social Security Benefits From An Ex-Spouse

Friday, December 07, 2018

social security cards

When people finalize a divorce, they think that contact from their spouse is over. They may pay spousal support or alimony for a time, but afterward, you will have no ties to them anymore. However, that's not exactly true. In fact, when you reach retirement age, you may be able to collect up to 50 percent of their Social Security benefits even if you have been divorced from them for decades.

In order to collect Social Security from your ex-spouse when you reach retirement age, there are certain criteria that must be met. First, you need to be at least 62 years of age to receive full retirement benefits. Furthermore, you cannot collect their benefits if you are currently married at that age. If you remarried previously, but your subsequent spouse passed away or divorced, you can actually choose which benefits to collect from either spouse. Typically, you will want to choose the higher amount for obvious reasons.

However, the key thing to remember in order to qualify for these benefits is that you must have been married to your spouse for at least 10 years prior to the divorce. The good news is that if you meet all the above criteria and also had your own employment, you can collect your own Social Security benefits as well as an ex-spouse's. Furthermore, if you reach retirement age first, you retain the right to collect those benefits even if they are not collecting them. This prevents ex-spouses from shutting their old spouses out from what is their marital right when it comes to retirement benefits.

If you are divorcing and need help, or have long since been divorced, and want to learn more about collecting these Social Security benefits, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can make sure you get what is yours.

How Does Child Support Effect Spousal Support

Friday, November 23, 2018

If you are divorcing, there are two types of payments you can receive. One is child support that is meant to support the raising of children as a primary caregiver and the second in spousal support that is meant to support the less financially-stable spouse as they seek employment to live independently. However, the question is, does receiving one affect your ability to receive the other?

In most cases, no, it does not. In fact, if you are the primary caregiver of children, receiving child support can actually mean a better spousal support payment. Say, for example, you gave up your career to raise your children. If you later decided to become divorced, the courts may not want to interrupt the child care that the child is used to and order your ex-spouse to support you with spousal support until the child comes of age. During this time, the courts suggest you also attend school so you can gain employment later. However, the trade off here is that the spousal support will have a notable expiration date that could be later or sooner than your standard spousal support grant.

However, in an alternate situation, if you receive spousal support, it will never mean that you are barred from child support either. Child support, while it can be used to pay things that benefit both parent and child like rent or groceries, is used to support the child and not the parent. Spousal support is awarded to support the spouse while they seek employment to become independent. Typically this means some sort of vocational training. As these two payments are supposed to be used for different things, there is no way that they can affect each other. If you end up with high payments from both, your ex-spouse may insist on a modification, but it is rare they will be done away with just because you are receiving the other payment.

If you are going through a divorce and need help, contact us today.

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.