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Family Law Blog

The Child Support Process Doesn't Have to Be Scary

Friday, July 17, 2020

Unfortunately, just the words "child support" can strike fear in the hearts of fathers and mothers alike. It is a stigmatized government system that is often misunderstood and seen as a necessary evil. 

In reality, child support is designed to ensure children receive consistent and reliable support from both of their parents. This is best achieved by understanding each parent's current life circumstances and then guiding them how to best provide for their children in both homes. 

An Unbiased System

The system is set up to be unbiased. Payment responsibility and amounts are calculated using an impartial statewide calculation system. Items that impact responsibility and amount include:

  • Gross income
  • Expenses
  • Amount of time spent with child(ren)

With regards to the last item, it is important that each parent accurately documents the amount of time spent with their child(ren) in case it becomes a "he said/she said" situation at any point. The court looks favorably on a paper trail. Minimally, use a calendar to not only note sleepovers, but also rides to/from school, extracurricular activities spent together, visits and so on. An hour here and a couple hours there adds up quickly. It is particularly important to note when custody schedules are not being upheld and why.

Professionals Remove the Emotional Factor

Many amicable parents tend to handle the payment of child support on their own, trusting the paying parent to do so in a timely manner. Unfortunately, the relationship could take a turn for the worse for a wide variety of reasons, and withholding child support is often the first line of attack.  

This can be avoided by engaging with a professional right from the beginning. It takes the emotion out of the equation since the agency is in the middle acting as a non-partial gatekeeper, so to speak. Children's lives are kept more consistent and stable, which is of utmost priority.

Let Jamra & Jamra Help

Jamra & Jamra's Beverly Hills child support lawyers have been practicing family law in California for nearly 40 years. We are experts at providing guidance through complex and emotionally fraught child custody and child support scenarios.

Examples of services typically provided are:

Please contact us for a free in-office initial consultation. After a thorough analysis of the facts of the case, our lawyers will promptly offer all of the legal options available.

Can Contentious Couples Be Successful in a Mediation Setting?

Monday, July 06, 2020

Did you know that mediation is possible in divorce to keep even the most contentious couples out of the courtroom for the duration of their legal separation?

Correct mediation procedures allow for practical and flexible resolutions to problems. Otherwise, they are finalized in a courtroom at a higher cost by a judge who doesn't know or understand you and the dynamics of your family.

What Does Mediation Involve?

Mediation is an Alternative Dispute Resolution for divorcing couples who truly want what is best for their children and their futures. We back you up during your meetings with a neutral third-person, or mediator, and your former partner to come up with unique and personal compromises that both you and your former partner can agree on. 

Mediation can cover all aspects of divorce, including:

  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child and spousal support
  • Property and asset division
  • Business evaluation

According to Rule 5.210 in the California Rules of Court 2020, every mediator in California must legally be impartial towards each party and competent of all laws and regulations concerning the divorce process. We will be right there with you to ensure that the process is legal and that you are protected from giving more than you are able. 

Contentious Arguments

When you and your former partner argue, or disagree, about a situation, then the mediator will call for a break to cool down and discuss further options with your lawyers. The discussion can continue after a reevaluation of the situation from both sides or we can make another appointment and come back after a time of contemplation and consideration.

Mediation has worked well with many contentious couples. The process works around your schedule, not ours, and so decisions are not made hastily or out of exasperation. Arguments and even bickering are halted immediately and, with much contemplation, attacked creatively from a different angle. We want the process to be a smooth as possible and we are here to help you do that. 

Contentious couples can be very successful in mediation and sometimes the process can change your relationship with your former spouse into a more positive one, one that supports a positive co-parenting experience for everyone involved. 

What Can Jamra & Jamra Do for You?

Our legal mediation support is crucial and renders court appearances unnecessary. We can work together to create a binding contractual agreement that accomplishes everything a traditional divorce does in a quicker, more personal, and much more private way. 

California Super Lawyers at Jamra & Jamra L.L.P. Family Law Attorneys in Beverly Hills use creative and personalized strategies that focus solely on you and your protection during divorce proceedings, no matter what direction you decide to take. Family law can go one of two ways. We're prepared for both. 

Contact us for a free consultation and brainstorming session to discuss what could be our cost-effective and diligent plan of defense. We understand your needs and are prepared to stand by your side.

How Does the Length of a Marriage Affect Spousal Support?

Monday, June 29, 2020

There are many aspects of marriage to consider when calculating spousal support when filing for a divorce. However, one of the more crucial aspects is the length of the marriage. The length of your marriage not only factors into how much you get, but how long you will get it for, and even if you will receive spousal support at all.

Shorter Marriage

Typically, those who have been married for a long time, usually more than ten years, will receive a lengthy spousal support period. However, the length will also be extended if the spouse asking for support does not work or makes a small amount of income.

For example, if a grocery store worker divorced a millionaire after a year of marriage, they will likely get no spousal support from the marriage. They weren't married very long and were able to support themselves just a year ago. Now, they can do it again. Even if they quit their job during the marriage, it is one they could get again without much difficulty.

Longer Marriage

Now, take a dissolving 30-year marriage where one party is a sole earner and the other has been a house-maker for the past 20 years. It is likely that the non-working party will get a long-term or lifetime of spousal support. This is because they have been out of the workforce for so long that it would be difficult for them to become gainfully employed.

Learn More About Spousal Support

It is likely that your marriage falls in between these two extremes. Typically, what the standard couple will be looking at is a limited spousal support award based on the length of your marriage. This will allow the lesser earning party an adjustment period after the divorce, but the payments will end eventually.

Are you going through a tough divorce and need help? Contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get through this difficult experience.

How to Keep the Cost of Divorce Low

Monday, June 22, 2020

It is not a highly advertised fact, but getting a divorce can be expensive. For some, they have the funds to draw things out and make sure they get their fair share. However, that is not the case for most of us. If both you and your ex-spouse aren't exactly flush with cash or assets, there are a few things to keep in mind if you are looking to keep the cost of divorce as low as possible.

Divorce Amicably

If you and your ex-spouse are willing to work out property division and child custody amicably in mediation, it will save you quite a bit. Not only is it cheaper to not have to get the court involved, but it is also much faster.

Share Documentation

Bank statements, retirement account, or anything else you have that is a financial document – share it. Nothing will slow down a divorce faster than dragging your feet presenting documents or even trying to hide assets. The longer you take, the longer you need to pay your lawyer. If it becomes apparent that someone is being unnecessarily malicious, they may even face punitive measures.

Don't Fight For Items Not Worth It

If you and your ex-spouse are having a disagreement over who gets the multi-million dollar mansion, then certainly fighting for it is worth it. However, fighting over who gets a set of DVDs or a potted plant isn't worth what you are paying your lawyer for. There are battles worth fighting and there are battles that aren't worth it. You should know firmly what you aren't willing to give up and assess if it is really important to fight for it or if it can be replaced over time.

Conclusion

Are you going through a divorce? We can help. Contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can do to help you keep your divorce fair, quick, and as affordable as possible.

Why You Need a Prenuptial Agreement

Friday, June 05, 2020

What do you think of when you hear the word, "prenup"? Maybe that a prenuptial agreement is only for the rich or for couples who really don't expect their upcoming marriage to last? 

The truth is that a prenuptial agreement provides a lot of benefits for everyday couples. It does not mean that you expect your marriage to fail or do not trust your partner. Instead, a prenup can provide peace of mind by honestly putting financial matters on the table before you say, "I do".  

First, What Exactly is a Prenuptial Agreement?

prenuptial agreement is a contract created and signed by two people before they marry. It outlines what will happen to their assets and debts if the marriage ends in death or divorce. Here are a few reasons that you and your partner might want to consider one.

Protects Children from Previous Marriage

If you have children from a previous marriage, then a prenup lets you spell out what property your children will receive when you die. It prevents a spouse from claiming property that children are meant to inherit.

Outlines Financial Responsibilities

Individuals entering into marriage may have very different outlooks when it comes to finances. For example, one might be a spender while the other is a saver. A prenup can outline exactly who has what financial responsibilities during the marriage and can help smooth tensions when it comes to managing household finances.

Eliminates Arguments in Case of Divorce

If the marriage does end in divorce, then a prenuptial agreement can eliminate arguments about how to divide assets. Indeed, all of that is already spelled out. This can help make an already difficult situation, less so.

Learn More About a Prenuptial Agreement

So, although a prenuptial agreement is not particularly romantic, it can protect the financial well-being of your children, outline financial responsibilities during the marriage, and reduce conflict in case of divorce.

If you are entering into a marriage and are interested in creating a prenup, then please contact us. Our team looks forward to working with you!

When to Consider Getting an Online Divorce

Monday, April 06, 2020

Couples today have the option of filing for divorce online in the absence of an attorney, but this isn't the best decision in many cases

Many couples may hesitate to hire attorneys because of the costs associated with them, but the fact is that working with an attorney can help you reach a better settlement than an online divorce without representation.

When You Can Get a Divorce Online

If you decide to file for divorce online without an attorney, there are some specific conditions that you'll need to meet to avoid any issues during the filing process. If you want to file for a divorce online, you should only do so under the following circumstances:

Both Spouses Agree to Divorce

If both spouses would like to get a divorce, they may not need an attorney. On the other hand, if only one spouse agrees to the divorce, an attorney may be required to serve divorce papers to the unwilling party.

Both Parties Are Involved Throughout the Divorce Process

When filing for divorce online without a lawyer, both spouses also need to participate in the proceedings. Spouses will be required to perform specific tasks and collect all of the necessary documentation to complete the divorce process. If either spouse fails to cooperate, an attorney may be required to help maintain compliance between both parties.

Both Spouses Are of Sound Mind and Judgment

If both parties are capable of making key decisions throughout the divorce process, you may be able to file online without issue. However, an attorney's involvement may be required if either spouse is incapable of making these decisions for any reason such as mental incapacitation or substance abuse.

Agreed to Full Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities

Both parties in the divorce process will need to maintain openness and honesty to avoid the involvement of an attorney, including full disclosure of all liabilities and assets involved.

Conclusion

If both parties meet these circumstances, it may be possible to get a divorce online. In most cases, it can be beneficial to both spouses to work with an attorney to assist with the divorce process, which can be complicated. Contact us to learn about what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you navigate a divorce to secure the best possible outcome.

Does Your Spouse Have to Pay for Your Divorce Lawyer?

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Typically when a divorce starts, your uncoupling starts formally. You need to start being financially independent and paying for your own expenses as an individual. However, after divorce, this can take awhile for some. This is particularly true if you have been out of the workforce or underemployed for awhile to take care of the family.

Finances

As there is the potential for a huge financial disparity between couples, it is possible to have one spouse responsible for paying legal fees on both sides to ease the strain.

If it can be proven that the legal fees for a lawyer will create an undue burden on one spouse, the courts may decide that the other party has to pay, at least in some part, the fees for both lawyers. When examining this, the courts will decide based on several factors, including:

  • The financial disparity between the parties
  • Assets of each spouse
  • Financial responsibilities of each spouse
  • An effort to find work

This means that if a CEO and a fast-food worker are splitting up, it would be easy for the courts, due to the huge income disparity between them, to tell the CEO that they need to cover both legal fees for the divorce.

Conclusion

It is also worth noting that the judge can also force payment of legal fees in bad conduct. This means if your spouse was beating you or has been trying to draw out the divorce to rack up high bills, the judge can decide to force you to pay the legal fees as a punitive measure.

Are you getting a divorce and need help navigating the complex area of divorce court or even child custody? Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you navigate this difficult time in your life.

What to Do When Your Child Wants to Live with the Other Parent After the Custody Ruling

Friday, October 25, 2019

When your custody case is finally closed, you hope it stays closed. However, that may not always be the case. As your child grows older, there very well may come a day where they want to go live with your ex-spouse, their other parent. In custody cases, if your child is old enough, their opinion will be taken into consideration. However, if a child that is too young at the time, they may grow older and decide they do want to live with the other parent. What do you do?

Child's Rights

It is difficult not to take this event personally, and you will need to handle it delicately. If you have custody of your child, you are within your right to continue to have custody of them. You are only obligated to give the other parent their due parental time with the child. However, if you do respect your child's right to choose, you and the other parent will need to return to court.

You both will need to return to family court in order to seek a modification of child custody. If both parents agree to a set modification, then the return to court is simply for the approval of a judge, which is likely to be granted. However, if the other parent is seeking modification by themselves, then it is going to be very much like your original child custody case.

Considerations

The judge will take a number of factors into consideration, including the child's opinion in order to decide custody and parental time. It is likely much has changed since the initial ruling, and your custody agreement could change if you do not set a plan with your family lawyer.

If your child is asking for a change of custody or you believe the other parent may be seeking modification in the future, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you sort out this difficult time.

Who Gets the Ring If the Engagement Falls Apart?

Friday, October 18, 2019

It is better to break out a rocky relationship before you say the legally binding "I Do", but that doesn't make less messy in some cases. If you broke off an engagement, then it is likely you are going to want to salvage whatever you can from the ending relationship, and often the cause of much debate as to who gets to keep the very expensive engagement ring.

Engagement Rings

These days engagement rings can be worth thousands of dollars, something that you might want back or might want to keep in order to sell or even just wear. However, the good news for the givers is that keeping an engagement ring from a broken engagement can be as difficult as getting that engagement ring back after a marriage ends.

Conditional Gifts

The issue with engagement rings taken back before legally binding marriage is that they are often seen as conditional gifts. A conditional gift is, as it sounds, a gift given on a condition. In this case, the condition is that there will be marriage. If there was no marriage, then as the courts see it, there is no reason for the person wearing the engagement ring to keep it. This conditional gift rule is used to protect things like family heirlooms that the owner may want back for more than just monetary reason, but it can save someone thousands of dollars that they may not want to give someone who is now considered an ex-girlfriend. You would hope that returning the ring would be a natural option, but sometimes it takes a family lawyer explaining a conditional gift to get it back.

Learn More About Who Gets the Ring

If you need help getting assets back after a breakup or a divorce, contact us today. The skilled professionals at Jamra & Jamra can help you understand the legal responsibilities of both parties so you can effectively fight for what is yours.

Can a Child's Testimony Make a Difference in Child Custody?

Friday, October 11, 2019

If it were up to both parents, their child would never enter the courtroom in their life, especially not during the messy divorce proceedings of their parents. However, when it comes to deciding custody, your child's presence may be necessary, especially if they are old enough to make their own opinion to be heard on the matter of their custody.

Requirements to Give Testimony 

In the case of very young children, the judge and the parents will work to decide custody alone. However, in California, if your child is above the age of 14, they can take the stand and let the judge know where they would like to go. Your child will give testimony to the judge on which parent they would like to live with. However, the final decision is still in the hands of the judge. If they believe that another placement would be in the best interests of the child, even if it goes against their choice, they will make it.

Judges Decide

It is important that your child knows that the judge will take their best interests in mind. If your child tries to convince a judge they want to live with one parent because they never punish them and let them eat ice cream for dinner, it is not likely to positively sway a judge's opinion. In fact, it may work against them. However, if they say they want to live with a parent because they feel that they have more time to spend with them, then this is likely to make an impact.

Learn More About a Child's Testimony in a Custody Case

If you are going through a messy child custody case and need a great lawyer to help you, contact us today. Jamra & Jamra can help you navigate this difficult process so you can get the best possible results, not only for you but for your children as well.