Family Law Blog

Things to Consider As You Start the Divorce Process

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Getting divorced can cause a lot of anxiety, due to a number of reasons. How will your property be divided? What happens when you are paying, or want someone to pay, child support out-of-state? Should seemingly insignificant things like the court date be thought about ahead of time? These are all important questions, each deserving your full attention and the sustained support of your legal counsel.

Property Disbursement

Property disbursement law in divorce cases is a complex issue. However, common sense rules still apply. For instance, property acquired before the marriage is typically sacrosanct from legal division. While this seems simple in principle, you might find you suffer from a lack of receipts or other proof that small-time items are, indeed, yours.

Child Support

Federal law requires each state to have an implemented child support system, but being the non-custodial parent out-of-state doesn't exempt that person from paying child support. Interstate legal proceedings involving child support are especially complicated. Each state has their own legal structure that determines who pays what to whose child and that state-specific legal structure has to interact with federal law which governs the whole thing.

Does timing matter?

The Huffington Post suggests that you think wisely about when you'll file for divorce. Your choice of date can determine how much of your 401k goes to your spouse. Also, filing for divorce before you have separated for a year could cause you to have to endure legal proceedings for a second time.

If you need help with any of these issues, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Deciding on Who Represents the Child in a Child Custody Case

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A parent's every instinct is that a child's parents have a right to determine their children's best interests including, when appropriate, to choose the attorney who will represent a minor child in a child custody battle. A California appellate court in 2014 interpreted a California statute in a way that overrides this instinct. That decision in the case of the Marriage of Metzger held that under the relevant sections of California's Family Law, a court's appointment of counsel for a minor child did not violate the parents' constitutional rights to select the child's attorney. Parents who are in the midst of divorce and child custody litigation will be well-served to understand this decision.

The minor child's mother in the Metzger case argued that her daughter's special needs required that the child have separate counsel to protect her interests in the custody proceedings. The court appointed the child with an attorney who was also a trained psychologist, but her father objected to that appointment with an argument that his own right to decide what was in his daughter's best interests were violated by the court's appointment. Both the divorce and the appellate courts rejected this argument, stating that section 3151 of California's Family Law required the minor child's appointed attorney to act in the child's best interests. Because of this requirement, the court's concluded that there was no conflict with the father's constitutional rights.

A child's interests will always be paramount in custody proceedings. The attorneys at Jamra & Jamra in Beverly Hills, California, are well-versed in child custody issues that arise in divorces and can help either or both parents to make the best decisions that will protect their children's interests, including deciding on separate legal representation for those children. Please contact us for more information or to schedule a consultation on how we can help you in your California divorce and child custody case.

Reasons You Deserve Spousal Support and Alimony

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Divorce can be really hard on everyone, especially emotionally and financially. People who are used to a two-income household can really start to struggle when they are left to pay for everything themselves. Some women (and men) have even given up their career to care for the children, leaving them with almost no options. Parents who have been out of the workforce can struggle to find another job.

For this reason, spousal support, also known as alimony, was created. This gives financial help to the partner who has less income. Though many people don’t believe that their exes (or even themselves) deserve alimony, here are some reasons that alimony should be considered.

  • Many people understand how important their spouse’s career is. They may work to put them through college, becoming the breadwinner for the family. Without them working extra to put their spouse through college, they wouldn’t be as far as they are today.
  • Many spouses stay at home to help to further their spouse’s career. This allows them to be available when needed. They can pour their heart and soul into taking care of their spouse and making his or her life as easy as possible. A spotless house, clean laundry, and an unstressed spouse can really make a difference for some husbands and wives.
  • If someone starts a business of any time, many spouses will work for them. Though you may try to work together after the divorce, it can be difficult and stressful. It can take time to find another job.
  • Many women (and some men) stay home and take care of the children while the other parent was the breadwinner. Through divorce, the stay-at-home parent will probably need to go back to work, only they have put their career on hold so they will probably have to work a minimum wage or office job to try to make ends meet. If they didn’t quit their job, they could be making a lot of money.

Alimony can really make a difference for some people. It can be hard to find a job after you have been without one for years (or even months). You may also feel like you deserve some help because you worked extra and sacrificed to send the other one to college so that he or she could get ahead.

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

Four Common Reasons To Sign a Prenuptial Agreement

Friday, September 30, 2016

Though no one wants to envision their happy marriage ending in divorce, the statistics show otherwise. Many marriages end in divorce. Since many people truly believe that their marriage is going to last, they don’t want to bother with a prenuptial agreement. However, no matter how much you think it is going to work, you should sign an agreement before you get married.

Here are some of the most common reasons to sign a prenuptial agreement.

  • One person is much wealthier than the other. It doesn’t matter if one of you started off the marriage much richer or their career is going to skyrocket, you should protect your assets, just in case.
  • One person is in a lot of debt. Though you are going to work together to pay off the debt, you shouldn’t have to be stuck with their debt if the marriage ends.
  • Someone is remarrying. After your first marriage, your life will get much more complicated. Whether or not you have children from your first marriage, you still want to make sure that your first family will get their share of the money if something would happen to you.
  • You or your soon-to-be spouse owns a business. Unless you want to lose part of your business to your spouse if the marriage ends, you need to protect all of the hard work that you put into your business by signing a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement does not mean that you don’t want your marriage to work. Instead, it is there to protect you, just in case. You should protect your money, business, and any other family members. You also don’t want to be saddled with someone else’s debt if the marriage ends.

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

California Domestic Partnership Dissolution

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The end of a relationship is fraught with emotion, and we know it's as difficult to go through the trauma of the dissolution of a domestic partnership as it is to end a marriage. Ending a relationship legally is complicated, and good legal representation is essential.

California law surrounding domestic partnerships is in a constant state of flux, so it's important to choose an attorney that is thoroughly familiar with the law and the latest changes that could affect the details of your particular case. Although the legal process is similar to a divorce, there are some key differences. Because of these differences and the complexity of the law, it's vital that your legal representative be able and willing to

  • explain the complexities of the current laws in a way that you can understand
  • take the time to make your case a priority
  • have both good negotiation and aggressive litigation skills

Jamra & Jamra has experience and skills to handle your case effectively. Because we focus on family law, rather than spreading our services over several areas of law, we're in a unique position to give each case the attention it deserves and to customize our services to your particular case and create a strategy that will best serve your individual needs and concerns.

Our attorneys serve all of Los Angeles, from Long Beach to Thousand Oaks. We offer free one-hour in-house consultations in our Beverly Hills office. Contact us if you have questions regarding domestic partnership dissolution, including property division and child custody issues. Our reputation in Southern California is stellar, and we're ready to help.

Are You Aware Of These Spousal Support Myths?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Spousal support payments are payments that are paid from one spouse to the other after a divorce. There are various elements surrounding spousal support which can lead to people believing the different myths and misconceptions that are out there.

If you are near a separation or a divorce, you should be aware of the actual facts about spousal support. Here are some myths and misconceptions about spousal support:

The Spouse Will Always Receive Support

This is not true. Many people think that spousal support payments will be made for life. There is no set length of time for spousal support payments to be made. The length spousal support payments are to be made will depend on a variety of factors. The judge will consider various factors, including the other spouse's ability to earn money and make a living.

Women Do Not Pay Spousal Support

Women can pay spousal support. Women work and some women are the family's sole income earner. When this is the case, men will be the ones receiving spousal support payments.

The Spousal Support Agreement Cannot Be Changed

The amount of spousal support payments can be changed or stopped completely if certain circumstances come about. If the ex-spouse who is receiving child support payments is eventually able to support himself/herself without the need of support, payments can be stopped early. If the spouse receiving spousal support marries again, spousal support payments can also be stopped.

Spousal support decisions can impact one's life in a number of ways. Decisions about spousal support should be made carefully, with the assistance of a professional. Contact us today if you need a consultation.

Property Division Options for Houses

Friday, September 09, 2016

Property division is a big part of dissolving a marriage, and California couples often have trouble deciding who gets what. A particularly sensitive issue might concern what to do with a house. This is a big asset that both parties may have a right to, so here are just a few possibilities for handling divorce and real estate.

Sell the House

The easiest thing to do might be to sell the house. Any profit gained would be split between both parties. While selling a house involves its own hassles, this is a fairly straightforward approach when it comes to dividing assets.

Divorcing With Kids

One or both parties might wish to stay in the house. If children are involved, it may be a good idea to let the custodial parent stay in the home with the kids to make the process easier on the children. Otherwise, both people might need to negotiate.

One Person Keeps the House

If staying in the house is a big priority for one partner, the other person must get something in return for his or her share of the house. Here are two options:

1. Buy out the other person. This could involve giving them a bigger share of a savings account or more valuable assets.

2. Agree on a fixed price for how much the other party receives when the house is eventually sold. A fixed amount gives the other person peace of mind if the housing market goes down while ensuring the person who keeps the home does not have to share profit that comes from improvements made after the divorce.

To find out more in-depth information about property division and options for real estate, contact us today.

Divorce: Mediation as an alternative to litigation

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Some people who plan to divorce might avoid a long and expensive litigation process by choosing an alternative dispute resolution process called divorce mediation. While some divorce cases are inappropriate for mediation, mancan be successfully resolved with it. Mediating a divorce provides several benefits for those who have good cases for this method.

Determining whether a case is appropriate for mediation

Divorce and child custody mediation have been available as alternatives to court litigation for some time. Not all cases are appropriate for these processes, however. People who have issues with domestic violence in their relationships and those who have spouses with addiction issues may be better off litigating their matters in court. If one spouse is suspected of hiding assets, income or debts, litigation may be a more appropriate choice as well. Most other cases may be successfully resolved with mediation.

Pros and cons of mediating divorces and child custody cases

One reason that people may opt to mediate their divorce cases or to go through child custody mediation is to preserve working relationships with their former spouses. Court litigation is often bitter, leaving people with hard feelings and making it difficult for them to work together after their divorce or child custody case. People who share children will have interconnected lives for years, making it more important for them to be able to co-parent effectively in order to raise their children.

Other benefits of divorce mediation include that it is a cooperative process where the spouses work together in order to reach a full settlement agreement. They will thus have more control over the outcome than they would if they instead leave it up to a judge to decide for them. It is also often much more cost-effective than court litigation, can be a significantly faster process and can provide added privacy.

The cons of choosing the mediation process include that it can't address emergency situations in which temporary orders are needed immediately such as for temporary spousal and child support and child custody. Mediators are also not allowed to give either party legal advice but must instead act as neutral third parties.

What to expect

Couples go to the mediator's office or other agreed-upon location. The mediator will then explain the goals and rules of the process. Each spouse is then able to explain the issues that are in dispute from his or her perspective and without interruption from the other spouse. The mediator may either meet with both spouses together or may have them in separate rooms with the mediator going back and forth between them to work out agreements about the various issues. After having the discussions, the mediator will then attempt to negotiate an agreement. If it is successful, the mediator will then write out the agreement and ask each spouse to sign it with the advice to review it with a lawyer. The attorney may then file the agreement with the court, and it will become the court's order in the divorce. If it is not successful, the parties may then decide to return to court and litigate the issues instead.

Choosing a mediator

Divorce mediators are typically lawyers who have specialized training in mediating family law cases. It is a good idea to choose a mediator or who is local and whose practice is primarily focused on divorce and family law cases. If you would like to learn more about whether mediation is appropriate for you, contact us today.

How To Talk About Prenuptial Agreements

Friday, August 26, 2016

Most people have heard that it is bad luck for a groom to see the bride before a wedding ceremony, but it is almost as if a new superstition was created for prenuptial agreements as some people think bringing these legal documents up is a bad sign. Talking to your fiance about a prenup may be difficult but necessary, so here is some advice for starting a discussion about prenuptial agreements.

Laying The Groundwork

One of the biggest reasons couples get divorced is money, which partners often have trouble discussing. Serious conversations about finances may be unpleasant but can be crucial to having a successful union, so take the time to learn about your future spouse's spending habits, views about money and financial goals.

Confront Fears

While it is understandable that you might feel hesitant to bring it up, you may both share concerns about what will happen if a divorce is necessary. Talking about this and planning lets you both feel comfortable.

Honesty Policy

Tell the truth about why you want a prenup so that your partner can understand your perspective. If you are trying to think practically or something influenced your views about prenups, let your partner know.

Try Again

A marriage takes compromise, and this might start before the wedding takes place. If your partner is against a prenup, give it some time before revisiting the issue. A mediator could also help you both communicate and reach a conclusion you both support.

Contact us so that we can help you if you are considering a prenuptial agreement.

Tips for a Successful Child Custody Case

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Fighting for child custody of your children can be daunting and stressful. Courts look to the "best interests of the child" when determining custody. It's your job to show the court why you're the parent the courts should consider. Here, we'll provide you with some ways to be successful in your quest.

Strong Relationship

Not only do you have to build and maintain a strong relationship with your child, you need to show the court how strong the relationship is. Have friends and family members write character letters of support that outline the types of activities you do with your child, or that state your heavy involvement in the child's schooling or extra-curricular activities.

Room in Your Home

Prepare a room in your home that's specifically for the child, even if you live in a small space. The court will want to see that your home is ready for the child and that the child will be comfortable and safe in your home.

Prepare in Advance

Be sure to be ready to answer the many questions posed by the court, including financial preparedness, your plans for the child's schooling, and how you'll arrange daycare for times you're working and the child is not in school. Show the court that you're ready to take on this role in every aspect.

Retain an Attorney

The best thing you can do for yourself, your case and your child is to retain an experienced family law attorney who can help prepare you for winning custody of your child.

For more information, contact us.