Family Law Blog

When a Mother or Father Opts Out of Parenthood Following a Divorce

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Divorce has tremendous effects on the partners involved. These adults face a loss that accompanies dissolution of their union. Fortunately, they can choose from a myriad of resources to help them adjust to their new lives without their former partner. Children of divorced families face difficult changes as well. Unfortunately, this can include the greatest of children's issues during a divorce, the loss of the ongoing presence of one of his parents.

Regrettably, there are many situations in which one parent abandons his child. If this parent chooses to forgo his relationship with the child, it is up to the remaining parent to help the child cope. Learn how to help him deal with this heartbreaking loss.

Communication is vital when a parent leaves following a divorce. Be as honest with your child as possible regarding the situation without overwhelming him with details. He will ask whether the other parent will return. Again, be truthful and tell him that you do not know if or when that will happen. Reassure him that YOU will not leave. Encourage the child to talk about his emotions. Listen to him talk and validate his feelings accordingly. Let him know he is not to blame for the divorce and/or the other parent's absence.

Set up a routine following the divorce. Children need structure to feel safe and stable. Enlist the aid of other adults to help establish a "new normal". For instance, teachers, coaches, and mentors are often invaluable at this time. If possible, keep your child in the same school and in the same activities as before. Balance the schedule with "downtime" so your child does not become unduly stressed and has time to reflect.

Look for changes in behavior or mood that commonly occur with kids abandoned by a parent. Often, children will act out in reaction to a parent leaving. They are angry and sometimes do not handle their emotions appropriately. Do not, however, use the other parent's absence as a justification for misbehavior. Discipline the child as necessary but let him know you understand his frustrations. Provide him with outlets such as athletics or arts which can help him direct what he is feeling in a positive manner.

Finally, be willing to find professional help for your child. This includes counseling for him alone and both of you collectively. An experienced therapist can teach you how to handle the difficulties your family faces. Stick with treatment even if you do not see immediate results. Divorce and abandonment produce serious issues which require long-term treatment for your child and yourself.

Contact us when you need to know more.

Vaccinations As a Dispute in a Child Custody Case

Sunday, February 24, 2019

child getting vaccination in doctor's office

Divorce with kids has never been simple. There have always been things to fight over, but they were things that you would expect. What school would the kids go to? What religion would they practice and where would they do it? You know, more common things like that. However, there has recently been just one more complication that has arisen in divorce cases - should the kids be vaccinated?

There are those that argue that vaccinations cause autism and other developmental issues in a child. As such, these parents have decided to forgo vaccinations. However, does that decision need to be respected in the event of a divorce?

As you would expect, the issue is complicated in several different ways. A judge is responsible for making decisions that are in the best interest of the child, so going to court is likely to yield a decision that vaccination is indeed in the best interest for the child as well as other children they will come in contact with. Furthermore, parents will have to keep certain laws in mind. Some states and even some specific schools will only allow a child to attend school if they have their vaccinations. This can impede how both parents want to school their children, and may actually force their hand on the decision.

If you and your ex-spouse are split on the decision to vaccinate your children, those against should strongly prepare that if they head to court for the possibility that the court will force them to do so for the safety of the child and other children.

If you are starting the divorce process, you will need representation. It may not seem like it will be a contentious event right now, but every divorce has its complication. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do for you.

Is It Possible To Reverse An Adoption?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The circumstances in which someone would want to reverse an adoption of a child are limited, but they have been known to happen. It is widely believed that once an adoption has been finalized, there is no turning it back, but that is simply not true. There are actually three circumstances in which it can happen. These include:

The Birth Parents Wish It – Having an adoption reversed and the rights of the birth parents can be difficult, and in some states, impossible. For the most part, if consent is given by the adoptive parents, a birth parent can regain their parental rights through a reversal.

The Adoptive Parents Wish It – Though much more rare, in some cases, the adoptive parents can file a petition with the court to reverse adoption. Typically, this is approved when a home is no longer in the child's best interests. For example, if the parents are getting a divorce, and neither could support their adoptive child alone, the adoption can be reverse.

The Child Wishes It – This is exceedingly rare, but in some cases when the child is old enough, they can reverse their own adoption. In these cases, the child wishes to be emancipated from their adoptive parents, but these cases are very hard for the child to win.

While reversal of an adoption is actually fairly difficult to do, it can be done. If you believe you have a valid reason to reverse an adoption and would like to learn more, contact us today. Typically whenever someone even considers reversing an adoption, they have solid reasons for doing so. Perhaps they lost custody of their children and want them back or because they care deeply for a child and want to see them better placed. Regardless, we can help you figure out the details.


Does Who Takes The Kids During Divorce Affect Custody?

Saturday, November 10, 2018

When a couple decides that their marriage is over, they may still live together due to a financial need. However, more common is that one party will move out of the family home. If, for example, a spouse decides to move out and take the children with them, does this affect later child custody?

In some respects, it can. If the other spouse has been doing well on their own raising the children, this can reflect well on them. However, the person that holds custody during a divorce doesn't always mean they will be granted sole custody. First and foremost, courts are most amicable to joint custody agreements unless there are threats to a child's safety. It is widely believed that a relationship with both parents is in the best interests of the child.

However, if you are seeking sole custody and your spouse has taken the children with them when they moved out, you can still have a case for it. When considering sole custody or primary custody of the children, the courts will want to place children in a home that has the most stable environment for them to thrive. However, this does not just mean financially, but emotionally as well. Will you be there when they get home from school? Do you have time to spend with them? Will they be happy and well-cared for? These are all questions a judge will consider when awarding custody.

If your spouse will need to work long hours to support the children while you have a stable job that allows you to be with the children more, your case for primary custody may be a strong one. If you are getting a divorce and seek primary custody of your children, contact us today. We can help look over your impending divorce and child custody case to advise you on the best possible route.

Using Temporary Orders For Child Custody

Friday, October 19, 2018

happy children laying on bed playing on tablet

It isn't always the case, but divorce can take quite a long time to come to a conclusion. Even amicable divorces aren't exactly very speedy. Furthermore, the more assets and situations you need to sort out, the longer it will take. If you can't come to an agreement in mediation, waiting for court dates will take even longer.

All that being said, you still have a life to live. During a divorce, it is important to start transitioning to single life and shared custody of your children. You need to work out items such as visitation, custody arrangements, and even child support to keep your child well taken care of. However, a judge won't make a final order on these issues until the conclusion of the divorce – meaning until all the other stuff is settled too.

Thankfully, you can get temporary orders for child support and spousal support issues. These temporary orders are legally-binding agreements. Essentially, you can work out visitation, child custody, and even child support payments to be made on a temporary basis until the final order is put forth. A decent benefit of doing this is that it allows for a certain amount of trial and error before the final order is put in place. This means if a child custody situation isn't working out, it can still be changed before the final order is put in place, meaning you don't need to return to court and spend the money to do so.

If you are looking at what will be a long and ongoing divorce, it is best to take advantage of temporary orders. If you are starting a divorce, contact us. With children, you want to make them a first priority so you can get their lives on track while you figure out all the finer details.

Does a Custodial Parent Have to Show How Child Support is Used?

Friday, July 20, 2018

Child support can be a difficult issue. The idea is that non-custodial parents pay the primary caretakers so that they use that money to best provide for their child. Unfortunately, for some parents, they don't always use that money for their child, and it can leave non-custodial parents like they are being taken advantage of.

It is believed by many that child support should go to items that provide for the child, such as food, clothes, and toys. However, the truth is that child support can also technically be used for non-tangible items that go towards the child's well-being. Often child support is used towards paying rent, utilities, child care, and even the child's entertainment. Technically, these go towards caring for the child, but in doing so also aids the primary caretaker.

Yet, even knowing this, there are some that pay child support that want to know exactly where their money is going. Unfortunately, most agencies do not monitor this. The way child support is calculated reflects the reasonable needs of the child and the ability of the paying parent to support them. However, if you suspect the primary caretaker of not using the money to supply the child's needs, such as going on extravagant vacations without the child or funding a new alcohol or drug addiction, you can bring it up with the courts. Often these issues go hand-in-hand with neglectful behavior and it can then become a custody issue. Often this can result in re-assigning custody to the non-custodial parent if the issue is bad enough.

If you suspect that your ex-spouse is abusing your child support payments for their own pleasure instead of providing proper care for your child, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra and Jamra can help you navigate the court system so you make sure you are not wasting your money and your child is being taken care of.

How is Child Visitation Time Decided?

Friday, June 29, 2018

If you are splitting with your spouse, you might not care so much about the property and other assets in your marriage so much as you care about if you will ever get to see your children again. However, many going through this process are confused as to how the process of deciding visitation actually works. Who even decides? Is it the courts or is it the parents?

The truth is that when deciding visitation, it is a bit of both. When deciding child custody, the courts will always examine the facts and make a decision on what is best for the child. Ideally, they will want to prefer joint custody, but will decide a primary custody holder. Afterward, they will also recommend a visitation schedule.

Once primary custody rights have been assigned, the actual realistic visitation schedule will be sorted out with the parents. Obviously, if one parent decides to move to a different town, it may not be feasible to have visitations every weekend. That schedule could disrupt the child's school and life schedule. Instead, it may be decided that they visit every other weekend with longer stays over school holidays.

However, if the primary custody holder is not adhering to the recommended visitation schedule, unfortunately for the non-primary custody holding parent, they have little choice but to return to court. Before returning to what could be an expensive court battle, it is important that the non-primary custody parent seek the advice of a lawyer to look over the original court orders. If the courts laid out a visitation schedule and the primary custody holding parent is technically still in compliance, you will not have much of a case.

If you are going through a divorce where child custody is likely to be an issue, then you need to contact us today. What you need more than anything else is skilled legal counsel to make sure that you still get to see your kids again after divorce.


Modifying Child Custody in Calfornia

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Few issues in divorce become as emotionally-charged as matters concerning a couple's children. While couples can often be more open to compromise on many other considerations, child custody can quickly become quite contentious when the parents have differing opinions. 

California state law makes the health, safety, and welfare of children the primary concern for courts in making decisions relating to child custody. Both parents are assumed to have equal rights to custody. 

Couples may enter into joint custody agreements. Joint legal custody refers to both parents having decision-making powers regarding a child's health, safety, and welfare, while joint physical custody refers to equal time relating to both physical custody and decision-making issues. Joint custody schedules typically involve parents using alternating weeks or series of days every week.

In other cases, parents may agree to make one party the primary custodial parent while the other is the noncustodial parent. A noncustodial parent sees a childless often than a parent with joint custody, usually on an every other weekend schedule with a night or two of dinners that do not include overnight stays. 

Problems can arise in custody agreements as the result of any one of a number of external factors. One parent may need a schedule adjusted because of a new job, or one parent might not be complying with the original custody order. 

In order to modify a child custody order, the parent submitting the petition will need to prove a significant "change in circumstances." Courts may require couples to agree to mediation before a court hearing when one party seeks to modify a child custody order. 

If you need to modify a child custody order or your former partner is seeking an adjustment you do not agree with, you will want to contact Jamra & Jamra as soon as possible. Our experienced family law attorneys can work to help you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.

What Can an Unmarried Parent Do For Child Visitation?

Friday, February 23, 2018

For married parents that decide to split up, the divorce process includes proceedings to decide what happens to the children. However, for parents that never married, they do not need legal proceedings in order to stop seeing each other. The major downside of this is there is no legal order in place that says one parents has to let the other see their kids. However, while nothing legal may not be in place, unmarried parents do have options to put something in place so they can continue to have parental rights.

Establishing Paternity

By default in almost every state, the mother will have primary custody of her children in the event of an unmarried split. However, if the father files a paternity action in court to declare legal paternity, this will give them rights to have visitation or custody of the child. This will involve a paternity test as well as a public declaration before the court that you claim your paternal rights.

Establishing Custody or Visitation

The courts will always work within what is the best interest of the child, and most courts view a meaningful relationship with both parents as in the best interest. If you seek to take primary custody, the legal battles will be a little more complicated. You need to prove why the primary custodial parent is unfit and why living with you would be better for the child. However, if you are merely seeking joint custody or even just visitation, the court process will be significantly easier as the courts often want children to spend time with both their parents.

Both custody and visitation will have time schedules that are laid out with input by both parents, but ultimately approved by the courts. This will also include certain stipulations in which the primary custodial parent will need to make the other parent aware of such things like relocation since they will officially have legal parental rights like parents who had been previously married.

Are you an unmarried parent going to through a split and wondering how you can keep in touch with your kids? Contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can do to make sure your kids stay in your life.


What Happens When A Child Doesn’t Want to Have Visitation?

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Often when it comes to visitation issues, typically it is one parent not showing up to a scheduled visitation, resulting in understandable heartbreak. However, occasionally it can actually be the child that doesn't want to attend a visitation. Maybe they are bored just watching TV with dad all day, or maybe mom is seeing someone new and it is resulting in some discomfort on their part. Regardless of the reason, what happens when a child no longer wants to attend visitation?

If the custodial parent denies visitation, they can be held in contempt of court. This can still happen if your child is refusing. This is why the custodial parent needs to take steps in order to remedy their relationship with the non-custodial parent.

The incontrovertible first step should always be to ask your child why they don't want to go. Sometimes it can be from neglect or abuse, and then that becomes a whole different ball game where you can often have visitation revoked. However, if it is something like boredom and negative emotions, often you can ask your ex-spouse to address these issues. Perhaps it would be better to spend time with their child doing more interesting things or it would be better if their new significant other wasn't around until they were more comfortable. You, as the custodial parent, need to explain very clearly how spending time with both parents is important. Make sure it is known that both sides love them and both sides always want to spend time with them.

If your child still refuses, a last resort may also be asking your ex-spouse for a little break from visitation. However, this might open you up to legal action. This means that if your child is refusing visitation, you may want to contact us to talk your options over with a lawyer.