Family Law Blog

Three Tips To Tell Your Children About Your Divorce

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Telling your children that you are getting divorced may be the hardest part of the whole process. No parent wants to turn their children’s lives upside down. However, the sooner that you tell them, the better off they will be.

Here are some tips on how to tell your children that you are getting a divorce.

  • Pick the right time to talk to them. Life is very busy and it can be hard to find time to talk to your children about divorce. However, you shouldn’t bring it up when they are rushing to school or you are trying to put them to bed. Find a time when you have an hour or two to really talk about it before bringing it up.
  • Have a plan. It is important that you have a plan in place before you tell the children. It helps to know who is moving out and where they are going. It is even better if you can have some sort of custody arrangement figured out prior to telling them. This helps you to answer any questions that they may have.
  • Present a united front. Telling the children shouldn’t be one parent’s job. Instead, you should both sit down with the children and discuss the divorce. Try not to use this time to place blame. Instead, discuss the situation and what they can expect. Answer their questions the best that you can.   

It can be really hard to tell your children that their lives are going to change. However, if you already have a plan, it is much easier to tell your children what they can expect going forward. It will be easier to answer their questions and settle their minds if you know what is going to happen.

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

What Happens if Your Spouse Doesn't Show Up For A Divorce Hearing?

Thursday, June 08, 2017

You have filed for a divorce and the day of the hearing has come. You are sitting in court, in front of a judge, and you wait. Your spouse hasn't shown up, and they don't show up. What then? Fear, guilt, apathy, depression, or spite may be keeping them away, but skipping court is never a good idea.

The justice system never likes to have their time wasted, and if your spouse doesn't show up for your divorce hearing, bad things will happen. If they failed to notify the court, the can be charged with contempt, and the judge can even issue a bench warrant for their arrest as well as a fine.

However, there are cases where the spouse agrees to the divorce but doesn't want to make a court appearance. This qualifies as uncontested divorce. In these cases, both parties must agree to the division of property, debts, child custody and spousal support. In doing so, the non-filing spouse won't be required to show up to the court hearing.

However, if both parties cannot agree, they are both required to appear in court. By not doing so, not only can the aforementioned bench warrant and fine be issued, but the courts are more likely to show favor to the party that did show up for their court appearance.

If you are filing for divorce and want to know if you need to show up to the hearing or feel your spouse might not show up, contact us today. As divorce lawyers, Jamra & Jamra are dedicated to providing the best legal representation and getting the outcome you desire.

Retirement Plan Property Division

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Employee retirements plans accumulated during a marriage are typically community property. Since these assets are not accessible under IRS or plan rules until a specific age, family law has developed a method to ensure equitable distribution at a future date. This method is called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) and applies to most employer-sponsored retirement accounts.

Employer-sponsored retirement plans are a relationship between an employer and employee. The spouse might be a beneficiary but is not a payee. The purpose of a QDRO is to recognize the spouse of an employee as an alternate payee. This legal recognition must be established for the employer to pay benefits to someone other than the employee.

QDROs are applicable to accounts covered under ERISA, which is the main federal law governing employer-sponsored retirement account.  This includes pensions and 401K’s. It does not include IRA’s and does not include military and many government employee pension plans. IRAs are readily divided in the same manner as other community property. Government employer plans can also be divided through processes that works largely like a QDRO, but which are technically not QDROs.

Formulas that guide division of the plans are well-recognized. Situation-dependent factor may mean that the divisions are not necessarily 50/50. For example, if a spouse with a pension had years of work service before the marriage, that portion of the pension would probably not be community property.

While the formulas provide guidance, the goal of the court will be to achieve just and equitable division in the complete context of the divorcing couple. Some negation will be possible, if it is in the overall interest of the parties. For more information on division of retirement benefits, please contact us.

How to Come to a Property Division Agreement

Thursday, May 25, 2017

In California, division of property in a divorce follows community property rules. That means that the marital property is not split equitably, but rather evenly across both parties. However, separate property, which was bought by one party in a marriage alone is kept by its owner. However, if you are the major earner in a marriage, and are likely getting the short end of the stick with community property rules, there is a way around it.

While you can let the court decide property division, it is better for both parties to come to an agreement themselves. A property division agreement is an informal agreement with your soon to be ex-spouse where you can both negotiate a fair split. This is a way to easily get around community property rules, but only if both parties agree. Naturally, when the other party could legally be getting more, getting them to agree to a property division agreement is not easy, but not impossible either.

One of the most important things to consider when sitting down for a property division agreement meeting is whether or not to have attorneys present. No matter how friendly you still are with your ex-spouse, it is best for both parties to be represented just so things stay fair. Some parts of the property may have more sentimental value than they do monetary value, which is the major reason to do division of property independent of the court in community property states. By sitting down and doing it independently, everyone can get the specific things they want.

If you are filing for divorce and are looking to sit down to a property division meeting with representation, contact us today.

How Long Do You Have to Pay Spousal Support?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spousal support, or alimony as it is commonly called, is used to make sure both parties are not driven to poverty after a divorce. If one side of a divorcing party is used to a certain standard of living and does not have a way to support that standard themselves, then the other side of a divorcing party will be expected to pay spousal support for them. However, the bright side is that spousal support is not forever.

Most commonly, spousal support will be deemed as rehabilitative. This means the supporting spouse will only need to pay alimony until the receiving spouse has received education or training into order to become self-supporting.

However, not all spousal support awards will be so reasonable. If your divorce decree does not specify an alimony termination date, then the payments will have to continue until the court orders it. Typically alimony can be ended for a number of other reasons, such as if the paying party suffers a significant loss of income. However, most commonly, alimony will end if the recipient remarries or the paying party dies. However, if the recipient still can't support themselves when the paying party dies, alimony can continue to be paid from their estate or life insurance proceeds.

If you are starting divorce proceedings, then alimony may be one of your big worries, but definitely not the only worry. As there is no such thing as an amicable divorce, you need representation to make sure you get your fair share of a dissolved marriage. For consultation on your case, contact us today.

Do You Have the Right to Parenting Time?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Once referred to as visitation, parenting time is the time a parent spends with a child after the parents have separated. While parenting time doesn’t matter if you have been named the custodial parent, typically it is used to describe the time the noncustodial parent spends with their child. However, do you actually have a right to parenting time?

Parenting time is not a right, so you do not automatically have the right to see your child if you are not the custodial parent. The court decides if parenting time is in the best interests of the child, but will typically grant at least some parenting time unless the noncustodial parent has a history of harm or abuse to the child or others.

Once parenting time has been granted, unless abuse starts to show itself, it is difficult to have parenting time taken away. Even if the noncustodial parent fails to pay child support, the court cannot take away your parenting time, but you may face other consequences.

If you are trying to get the maximum amount of parenting time with your child, one of the main things that the court will look at is your history with the child. It is best to write down what sort of relationship you have had, how much time you previously spent with the child, and how much of that time included overnights.

If you are in the process of a separation and are trying to get custody or parenting time with your child in the Los Angeles area, contact a Los Angeles child support lawyer today.

Is A Prenuptial Agreement Right For You?

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Is a prenup the right thing for you? 

"Well, um...er..."

We get it.

Talking to your future spouse about creating and signing a prenuptial agreement is not romantic in the least. However, the lack of romance doesn't make the idea any less important when it comes to protecting your legal and financial rights. 

Prenuptial Agreement=Divorce Insurance

Just as you don't want to think about your loving relationship ending in divorce, you don't want to think about your life ending in a terrible accident or illness that leaves your spouse and kids without the resources necessary to carry on. That's why you buy life insurance. In that vein, a prenuptial agreement is protection against something going wrong. Like life insurance, you hope you never need it but can have peace-of-mind knowing it's there. 

What Can a Prenup Do? 

A properly drafted prenuptial agreement can: 

  • Protect your property, including property acquired during the course of your marriage
  • Prevent future court costs
  • Protect you from taking on legal responsibility for a spouse's debt
  • Provide an opportunity to resolve potential issues now before they arise


What a Prenup Can't Do

Not all family law issues can be resolved within the language of a prenuptial agreement. For example, a prenup cannot decide child custody issues or settle disputes about how to raise them. 

If a prenuptial agreement sounds like something you could benefit from, speaking to an experienced family law attorney is the next step in the process. Contact us anytime to schedule a consultation.

When Can a Grandparent Gain Custody of a Child?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

When parents cannot properly raise a child, for whatever reason, grandparents often take over the responsibility. This is often done without a court's intervention but legal custody requires a judge's order. This poses difficulties if one or both parents refuse to relinquish custody. Learn what events can convince the court to give the legal responsibility of a child to a grandparent.

You must have a compelling reason for seeking custody of a child as courts are reluctant to take children away from parents. Judges are most likely to rule in your favor when you can prove a serious issue threatens the physical, mental and/or emotional health of the child. These include cases where a parent abuses drugs or alcohol, is physically abusive or neglectful or has a serious mental illness that impairs her ability to care for the child.

A judge's obligation is to always consider what is in the best interest of the child. So, if you are a grandparent seeking custody of your grandchild, you must prove the child will fare better with you than anyone else. So, you must provide a healthy, safe environment that the child does not have with his parents (or other legal guardians). Show the court you have a stable home and can provide the child with such things as proper nutrition, a bedroom, peaceful environment, toys and an appropriate education.

A judge is more likely to give you custody in cases where you are already a prime caregiver for the child. If you can prove you regularly take care of the child in your home, then the court knows the child is familiar and comfortable with the environment you provide. In general, judges prefer to place children with family members rather than foster or adoptive homes so this is something in your favor.

You can gain custody of your grandchild in certain circumstances. If you believe the child is in danger or his welfare is in jeopardy by remaining with his parents, you can petition the court for custody. Bring evidence such as pictures, letters and digital messages and affidavits from witnesses to prove the child needs relief  from his current environment. Also, show the court proof of your ability to provide a home and the best care for your grandchild.

Contact us for more information regarding legal custody of children.


The Big Step of Emancipation

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Emancipation is when a minor is considered an adult by the court. It releases your parents from all legal authority and control over you. Though many teenagers dream of living on their own, emancipation is not for everyone. It can be hard to grow up and learn to take responsibility for yourself, especially if you have pushed your parents away by going through court.

Before you ask for emancipation, you need to make sure that you can take care of yourself financially. You will need to find a place to live, learn to take care of your own health, and make your own meals. You will need a job to support yourself. You are considered an adult and are legally responsible for any contracts that you sign. You are also financially liable for anything that happens.

Though most teenagers want their freedom, emancipation is rarely the way to go. However, there are some situations where you might have to consider it. If your parents are abusive or negligent, you may be better off. You may object to the way that your parents live and think you would do better on your own. Some teenagers become emancipated in order to get married without their parents’ blessing.

Emancipation is a big step so it is important to make sure that you take time to really think about your actions. Most of the time, your parents will get hurt throughout the process so you might end up losing their support for a long time. You need to make sure that you really think you will be better off without them before you take this step.

Though it is possible to get emancipated without going through the courts, it can be very helpful to consult with a lawyer to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Don’t hesitate to contact us for all of your legal needs.

Getting a Temporary Restraining Order

Thursday, April 13, 2017

When most people hear the words restraining order, they think about an abused and scared woman. However, they can also be needed during bitter divorces. They are also called an order of protection and are put in place to help people going through divorces.

Everyone knows that divorce can really hurt people and families, causing them to act inappropriately. They may lash out physically, emotionally, and even financially. For this reason, many people get a temporary restraining order in order to protect their family.

Some people will do anything when they are faced with an awful divorce. They may try to move the children without the other parent knowing. They may wipe out combined bank accounts, leaving the other person with no money at all. Really scared people may take a loan out on the house without the other person knowing.

Because of this, temporary restraining orders can maintain the status quo until your divorce is over. It is temporary and will end as soon as your divorce is all settled. By then, you will know how everything is divided and settled and there will be no need for any harsh actions. It will be time to let go and start to move on.

In order to get a temporary restraining order, the party will need to file a petition for a restraining order at the same time that he or she files for divorce. The sooner this is done, the less likely that you will have to worry about protecting your family and your money. However, a temporary restraining order can also be issued at any time during the divorce if the need arises.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for all of your legal needs. We want to make sure that you and your family are protected during this scary time in your life.