Family Law Blog

Who is Responsible for the Bills During a Divorce?

Friday, January 18, 2019

If there is one simple truth in the world, it is that things will continue to go on no matter what you are doing. If you are getting a divorce, nothing stops. You go to work, your kids go to school, and, yes, your bills need paying. However, the simple declaration of divorce should be enough for both parties to open their own bank accounts. Though dividing up the marital money should be stalled, paychecks should go to their separate parties. Yet, when this happens, who is paying the bills?

The answer can be simple. Bills should be paid from the marital accounts if possible. If the bill is in your name, and your name alone, you should probably pay it. Ideally, you would want to sit down and split up how the bills will be paid, but that may not be possible. Unfortunately, this impossibility can cause many problems. Obviously, if you have a car payment, and want to keep the car, you should pay the bill. However, while deciding who gets to keep the car, the bill still needs to be paid.

If you have already been the primary bill payer, it is important to continue to pay bills until they are separated formally. Not paying is something that is more likely to hurt you than your spouse. If there is one thing that you can do to help yourself, it makes the divorce process go as smoothly as possible. This will make it so you are free from your financial obligations more quickly.

If you are going through a divorce, there are many new things that you need to figure out, and we can help. Contact us today to see how the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you walk down the complicated road of divorce.

Custody Issues in Divorcing While Pregnant

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Many who are pregnant decide to put off a divorce, an otherwise stressful affair, until after they have given birth. However, many decide that the issue can't wait. Yet, one of the biggest concerns of pregnancy during divorce is custody. In cases of childbirth, the mother is always considered the natural parent. When married, the father is presumed to be the spouse. Even if the child is the result of another coupling, the spouse may be still counted as a parent unless evidence is presented otherwise.

However, as divorce is a torrent of emotions, there may be cases in which the child was actually conceived during a divorce. If the divorce is finalized, is that child still yours? By law, any children born after 300 days after a finalized divorce are still recognized as children born of a marriage. This means that even if you conceived a child on the day the papers were finalized, you still have the right to pursue a child custody modification after its birth. The rule was created specifically for this rare, but tricky situation so parents could still have a right to see their children.

Unfortunately, while this rule helps clear up child custody, the issue of child support is still a difficult one. It will need to be resolved as all child support issues are - in court, but only after the issue of custody is resolved. Often the parent that will spend less time with the child will need to pay child support to the primary caretaker. This can be crucial as divorce and a new baby are often very financially draining.

If you are going through a divorce and have also found out that you or your spouse is pregnant, it complicates things. However, we can help you. Contact us today to talk over your options with the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra.

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.

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.


Reasons You Might Want to Date Before Your Divorce is Final

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Going through a divorce can be devastating. You may feel like you are losing everything, including yourself. It can be a lonely and upsetting time. Because of this, many people start to date even if their divorce is not final. It doesn't help that many well-meaning friends and family may recommend getting right back out there, even if you don't feel like it.

So, should you date before your divorce is final? Here are some reasons why you might want to.

There are no legal reasons why you can't date during the divorce process.

 Legally, you are allowed to date and move on while you are still going through the divorce so if you are ready, there is no reason why you shouldn't put yourself back out there.

You are obviously going through a divorce for a reason so it can be really nice to feel special. 

Dating someone new is always special and exciting. They will work hard to impress you. You will probably dress up and try to look your best. This can really help you feel better, knowing someone thinks you are great.

It can also help your self-esteem. 

Getting dressed up and going out can make a person feel a lot better. Too many people get depressed after a divorce where they just spend all of their time at home, alone, and in their pajamas. By getting cleaned up and polished, you will feel so much better.

While some people think that you need to get right back out there during a divorce, others believe that you need to wait. As long as you feel ready (and have put your marriage behind you), there is no legal reason why you shouldn't. It might actually help you feel a lot better because who doesn't feel better when they are dressed up and spending time with an attentive person?

Contact us for all of your legal needs.


When Child Support Deviates From the Formula

Friday, September 28, 2018

When it comes to child support, the award isn't just a random guess on how much financial support a parent receives. Instead, judges will use a specific formula to decide how much child support is awarded. This means that in many cases you can sit down with your lawyer and do a pretty close calculation on what sort of child support you will be entitled to or need to pay. However, there are some deviations to the formula that can affect it. These deviations include:

  • Special Needs - If your child has special needs, then the expenses of their care may be far greater than other children. This means that costs due to their disability will need to be factored in.
  • Extraordinary Expenses - Similar to special needs considerations, if your child has any medical, psychological, or educational needs, this may cause a deviation. For example, if your child is accepted to a gifted program, that may merit a deviation.
  • Sufficient Debt - This doesn't have anything to do with the child at all. If you parted with your spouse and share a sufficient amount of debt, this can affect child support payments. Obviously, if you have to care for a child and pay your share of joint debt, it can affect how the child is cared for.
  • Time Spent - As the ex-spouse paying child support, spending more time with the child may lower the payment necessary for child support. Obviously, if you are watching the child while the other parent is at work, this should and does lower your financial obligation.

If you are going through a divorce with children and would like to learn more about the whole process, contact us today to see what we can do for you. It is a difficult time, but the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help.

Can Spousal Support Be Extended?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

After a marriage is dissolved via divorce, often the separating parties agree on a payment between them at the end of the marriage. In spousal support, one spouse agrees to pay the other spouse a certain sum in order to support them during the transition to single life. In most cases, these payments are designed to support the spouse until they become independent, but what happens if spousal support runs out and you still cannot support yourself, can you get it extended?

Spousal support is divided into three categories - Rehabilitative, Permanent, and Lump-Sum. A lump-sum payment is paid all at once and thus no recurring payments are necessary. Rehabilitative payments are made so the ex-spouse can seek employment or finish college in order to become self-supporting. Finally, permanent spousal support payments are common after long marriages where the ex-spouse did not have the ability to develop skills in order to seek employment.

In both lump-sum and permanent spousal support, an extension won't be needed. However, when a spousal support agreement is agreed upon by the divorcing couple or put in place by the courts, they often come with modification clauses. These clauses can mean no modification - thus no extension - is possible or can only be modified if certain criteria are met. In most cases, modification clauses are used so that one party doesn't get taken advantage of. For example, if an ex-spouse is gainfully employed, the spousal support may be modified so that it can be stopped because they no longer need it. However, this modification can work the other way if one spouse has not found employment and needs an extension.

If you are divorcing and want to make sure spousal support will be in place to take care of you, contact us today. Let us help you get the best possible outcome from your divorce.

What to Do After Receiving Divorce Papers

Friday, September 07, 2018

In some cases, divorce is anticipated. You had been living separated for years, and you just knew it was coming. However, for some couples, they just wake up one day and find divorce papers sitting in front of them. However, what now? If you have received divorce papers, take these steps.

divorce papers with wooden gavel

Read Them

We live in a world where often we are pushed to just sign papers without reading them because the language is so complicated you can't understand it anyway. However, your divorce papers contain a treasure trove of information, as well as a deadline by which you must sign them. If the papers are a complete surprise to you, they may even contain the reasons for a divorce.

Contact a Lawyer

If divorce papers have been filed, this is not something that is going to be easily rectified. Contacting a divorce lawyer can help you understand the papers, and more importantly, respond to them appropriately by the usually very short deadline. While many believe a lawyer is just someone who can help you negotiate the most out of your divorce, they are first and foremost an advocate for your rights to make sure your spouse doesn't try to run you into the ground.

Protect Your Assets

This doesn't mean that you should go withdraw all your money from a joint checking account after receiving divorce papers, but rather you should take steps to protect your assets. You should leave all your assets where they are until they can be divided by the court, but you should also set up new separate bank accounts where your next paycheck will be deposited.

Are you going through a divorce? Whether it was long coming or a complete surprise, we can help you. As divorce lawyers, we can help you prepare for what is likely going to be a long process. Contact us today so we can start helping you today.


Moving Out During Divorce Doesn't Extinguish Homeownership Rights

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Man and woman arguing at home

Often one of the first steps of couples heading towards divorce is one party moving out of the shared home. Even if it is just separation, many find it easier to have a little space to think. So one party of a marriage may move in with relatives or find new housing altogether. However, it is important to remember that moving out of your home does not relinquish your homeownership rights.

Homeownership Rights

One of the most important considerations is that moving out of the home does not negate any lending agreements. If you agree beforehand that your spouse will take over payments, then that is one thing. However, if no agreement is made and you just stop paying because you think you are off the hook, then this can be a detriment to you if your name is on the mortgage. In fact, you will need to continue paying until the home is either sold or refinanced. Often this can help speed up a person's decision to divorce since it feels bad paying for a home you are not actually living in.

Furthermore, even if you move out of the home, if your name is still on the title of the home, you maintain the right to move back in if necessary. Often spouses heading for divorce are in a high emotion situation, so it is better to have space. However, if you cannot find a place to stay, your house is still very much your house until the divorce is finalized.

If you are getting a divorce, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities in the matter. You are still required to pay your mortgage, but you still have the right to live in your home. If you are heading for divorce and need help sorting out other rights and responsibilities as well as representation in the process, contact us today.