Family Law Blog

Some Child Support Myths Busted

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Child support is frequently misunderstood and, too often, feared. This is understandable since it deals with people's most precious assets - their kids and their money. In reality, the intention of child support is to ensure a child's well-being, in both households.

How well do you understand how child support works? 

MYTH

Given 50/50 custody schedule, there will be no child support payment by either parent.

BUSTED: Child support payments are not based only on the amount of time each parents spends with the child. Additional factors include gross income and certain expenses such as other child support payments or medical bills.

MYTH

The father always pays the child support.

BUSTED: Child support payments may be made by the father or mother and are determined by the amount of time each parent spends with the child, gross income and other eligible expenses.

MYTH

Once a child support amount is set, it never changes.

BUSTED: Child support may be modified when parental circumstances change. Examples include an increase or decrease in income, the birth of additional children, or unemployment.

MYTH

Only the child's parents are eligible to receive child support.

BUSTED: Parents, legal guardians, or any party receiving public assistance for a child may apply for child support.

MYTH

It's no big deal if a child support payment is missed.

BUSTED: Enforcement methods for nonpayment can be severe - driver's license/passport may be suspended or revoked, tax refund can be intercepted and a bank account levied.

MYTH

Dad is not listed on the birth certificate, so he cannot receive or pay child support.

BUSTED: Parentage can be assessed using genetic testing, which ultimately determines rights and responsibilities. It does not matter if the father is not on the birth certificate.

Conclusion

Still have questions or myths to be busted? The experienced lawyers at Jamra and Jamra are here to make sure you know the facts. You can learn more on our website about child support and child support modifications. Contact us anytime. 

Legal Marijuana Still Affects Child Custody

Friday, March 27, 2020

It may be legal in California and several other states now, but if you are divorcing and working on child custody, you may want to keep your marijuana use to a minimum. While the stigma is starting to wear off, the courts still look at marijuana use unfavorably despite being legal for any over 21 to use.

Marijuana Use

Certainly no parent is bragging about their marijuana usage, but your spouse could use it as a weapon to help their end of a child custody case. While it is legal, marijuana still affects you mentally and that can affect your care of a child. This means if they can show instances of your driving under the influence or your children getting hurt while you were high, it can strongly help their case to win custody of your children.

Furthermore, while it may be tempting to smoke in order to take the edge off a messy divorce case, it can leave you woefully unprepared for home visits that could affect your custody case. Overindulgence can be just as damaging. It is best to just keep use, even for medical matters to a bare minimum until your custody case is closed.

How This Affects the Case

If your spouse tries to bring your marijuana use into the case, you will also need to be ready to counter it. If you think this may become an issue, you will want to make your divorce lawyer well aware before it happens so they can formulate an effective strategy. If your spouse knows you used marijuana a lot, you can be pretty sure they will bring it up, especially if they get desperate.

Conclusion

If you are starting a divorce case and need help, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you get the best results from your divorce and custody case even when facing difficult situations.

Are You the Right Person for Custody of Your Grandchildren?

Sunday, February 09, 2020

When your adult children are having a rough time, it is very hard not to step in. However, there are times when you need to, especially when it comes to your grandchildren. If you are seriously concerned about their wellbeing, you may want to talk to a lawyer about getting custody of your grandchildren.

That being said, you may not be the right person to get custody of them. Here are some things to think about before you take over your grandchildren's care.

Do You Have Help and Support?

You can't raise another child (or two) on your own. Is your spouse supportive? Do you have friends who can pitch in when you need to run errands and get things done?

Are You Relatively Healthy

Raising children is hard, no matter what your age. However, if you have some health problems that may continue to worsen, you might not be able to care of your grandchildren for the next ten to twenty years.

Do You Have the Drive to Raise Your Grandchildren?

Instead of enjoying your empty nest, you are going to have young children in your home. Are you ready for that? Do you even want to take care of them?

You are not obligated to care for your grandchildren so if you have any concerns, you may want to help find someone else. It is better to let someone who is able to care for them raise them than struggle with them yourself. They will know that they are a burden to you.

Conclusion

Though it may break your heart, you may not be the best person to raise your grandchildren. You need to make sure that you have help and support. You also need to be relatively healthy. If you have health concerns, it will be even harder to raise a child. You also need to want to raise them. If you don't, you need to find someone who really wants them.

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

Co-Parenting Tips When You and Your Children Are Away From Your Ex

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Co-parenting is hard when you live close to your ex-spouse. Add in some distance (a few hours), and it can become downright difficult.

Whether you are the one raising your children or you are the one left behind, you need to find a new way to co-parent. Here are some tips to help if you are the one who has your children with you.

Time With Both Parents

Make sure that your children are able to spend time with your ex. It is important that you make it a priority for your children to spend time with your ex. Even though it is inconvenient, you need to make sure that you are willing to drive them or fly with them so that they can have some quality time with their other parent.

Because of the distance, this may mean spending a few weeks during the summer and school breaks with your ex, instead of every other weekend.

Stay in Contact

During the times when they are separated, you need to help them stay in contact with your ex. Staying in contact is easier than ever. Your children can talk on the phone, send text messages, and even video chat.

One of the best ways to help them stay in touch is by scheduling time to do so. Weekly or bi-weekly phone calls or video chats may be helpful. However, you may also want to remind your children to call their other parent when big things happen. This allows the parent to feel involved in their life.

Alone Time With Each Parent

You shouldn't get involved in their conversations. When your children are on the phone or talking through video chats, you should give them the privacy that they deserve. They should be able to talk freely, without worrying about what you think.

One of the best things that you can do to co-parent when you don't live close to your ex is giving them time together. Schedule weekly (or bi-weekly) phone calls. Find ways for them to spend together, even if they spend most of the summer with their other parent.

Conclusion

Contact us for all of your legal needs.


Co-Parenting Tips When You Don't Live Near Your Children

Monday, January 06, 2020

Co-parenting is hard when you live close to your ex-spouse. Add in some distance (a few hours), and it can become downright difficult.

It is a challenge whether you are the one who has your children or you feel like the one who was left behind. However, you have to find a new way to co-parent together. Here are some tips to help if you don't live near your children.

Stay in Touch Regularly

You should try to schedule phone calls and video chats regularly. You may want to do this weekly or even daily, depending on you and your children's schedules. Indeed, never miss this because you and your children need this time together.

Ask Questions

Make sure that you ask questions and really listen to the answers. Initiate conversation with your children by asking them about their day, school, and other events that are going on with their life. If they have something special going on, ask them to tell you all about it.

It is even helpful to learn all about the people in your children's lives. Find out the names of their neighbors, teachers, and friends at school. Ask about them on a regular basis, so that your children really feel like you are involved in their lives.

Get Together

Find ways to get together with your children. Though you may not be able to visit them every weekend, if you can occasionally travel to spend some time with them, it will mean a lot to them. If they are in a sport and they have a big competition, find a way to be there.

Conclusion

Though it is hard to be away from your children for long periods of time, you need to stay connected with them. Call and video chat with them regularly. Learn about their life and ask questions to find out more. Then, travel to them when you can. They will really appreciate seeing you there!

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

What Happens When Divorced Parents Disagree on Vaccinations?

Monday, January 06, 2020

Vaccines are highly contentious in the media these days. As they involve children, it isn't so far-fetch to believe that vaccinations could leak into your child custody case. However, whether or not your spouse needs to vaccinate your child isn't as simple as assigning parenting time. Indeed, it will need to be addressed if you disagree with their decision.

Joint Custody

If your state already has laws mandating that a child needs to be vaccinated if they are to attend public school, then it makes the case more clear. Instead, it could then become an issue of whether you want your child to be homeschooled or not. However, if there is no such law, then it becomes a case of parental rights. If you have joint custody, then you, even as the non-primary custody holder, still have a say in your child's medical and religious upbringing. As vaccines are denied for either religious or medical objections, you can maintain that you do or do not want them immunized in a divorce case.

Disobedience

If the court rules in favor to vaccinate your children, which is likely due to rampant outbreaks of wholly preventable diseases, and your spouse does not comply, they may be looking at several days of jail time for disobedience. You, as a custody holder, are also in your right to take your child to receive vaccinations when your parenting time comes around. In this case, your ex-spouse cannot go after you in court.

Conclusion

While vaccinations are the hot issue right now, if you are looking at divorce or a complicated child custody case of any kind, we can help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you navigate a complicated divorce case so you can get the best possible outcome.

What to Do When You Are Both Violating a Custody Order

Monday, December 02, 2019

Typically, you hear about one parent rather habitually violating the custody order. This gives the other parent the higher moral and legal ground. As such, that parent would then consult with their lawyer and take the other parent to court. Yet, it doesn't always work out that way. What if one parent starts to violate the custody agreement and the other parent starts to violate it back? There is no one with high moral or legal ground here, you are both breaking the law, so what now?

Your first step should be to consult with your lawyer. They will most definitely tell you to cease that retaliatory action right away. You then may have to wait to further establish your ex-spouse's habitual custody violations before you can take them to court.

Custody Agreement

Alternatively, there is a more peaceful option. If you can both agree, you can head to court, not for litigation, but to modify your custody agreement. Not all custody violations are necessarily done maliciously. Sometimes, what was put down on paper doesn't really work out in reality or circumstances change. If you believe you can amiably set a new schedule, even if both of you have technically violated this agreement, you can still head to court and ask for modification. If both parties agree to a new schedule, the court will approve it quite quickly.

Learn More About Violating a Custody Order

If you or your ex-spouse is violating your custody order that was set by the court, it is a problem, and it is against the law. If you want to get things in order, you should contact us right away so we can advise you on the best course of action to take. In some cases, mediation or even just a letter to the parent in violation could be enough to get your life in order, so let us help you explore all your options.

Children's Issues During a Divorce: Smooth Visitation "Hand-Offs"

Friday, November 08, 2019

In the process of divorcing, children from the marriage often find their time split between two households. Often, one parent stays in the home while the other finds a new residence. Thus, for visitation to take place, a "hand-off" must occur. To ensure a smooth transition, divorcing parents need to set a routine that is beneficial to all.

Neutral Location 

The most natural location for the pick-up and return of a child is his regular home. Unfortunately, heightened emotions can necessitate a more neutral venue. In this case, it is often helpful to select a child-friendly place for the "hand-off". For example, consider a park with a playground is an option. If you believe your safety is at risk with your former partner, you can choose to make a police station the location for handing off your children.

Brief Transition

Keep the transition brief and amicable. Indeed, behave in an adult manner and avoid confrontation. Above all, don't take a new love interest with you when you pick up or return a child. Chances are, emotions are high and a newcomer's presence is not welcomed by the other parent, or more importantly, by the child.

Communication

Always communicate with your child about the details of a "hand-off". Knowledge empowers children and is reassuring. Let the child know when he is going and for how long. Also, let him take a couple of favorite things with him for the hand-off. Make it as simple for your child as possible. Be positive when he leaves for the visit and when he returns. Never "drill" your child about his visit with the other parent as this might make him reluctant to be "handed off" in the future.

Communicate with your former partner regularly regarding visits. Ask for cooperation and patience during the transition to and from visits. Your children deserve positive collaboration, especially during a divorce.

Conclusion

Contact us for more advice regarding children's issues during divorce. We are here to help.

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.

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.