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Family Law Blog

Are Child Support Agreements Permanent?

Friday, January 15, 2021

After the end of child support deliberations, the judge will assign how much child support one parent must pay to the other parent in order to support their children. However, you may wonder how permanent this child support agreement is. Certainly you will be free from it once your child reaches their 18th birthday providing there are not any college education stipulations. Yet, child support agreements can be surprisingly flexible if your situation has changed.

It Depends on Your Situation

What you need to keep in mind about child support agreements is that they are based on your present situation at that time. If your situation changes for the worse, you are fully within your right to seek a modification of that child support agreement. Having one parent left destitute in order to support their children is not something that court wants. If you have lost your job and have been forced to take lesser employment, you can return to court and ask them to modify the child support agreement.

It merits mentioning that you cannot quit your job and should not try to get yourself fired in order to lessen spousal or child support commitments. It is not something the courts will look kindly on, and there are ways that they can find out what you are doing. However, if the situation is out of your control, then the agreement will likely be modified to fit your new situation.

Conclusion

While child support agreements seem like they are pretty concrete, they are in fact very flexible when life does happen. You want to support your children and the courts want to make sure you can do that sustainably. If you are going through the child custody and support process, and what to make sure you get an agreement that is fair to you, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help.

Making the Grade: From Co-Parents to Virtual Classroom Co-Teachers

Friday, December 04, 2020

Educational decisions are typically custodial decisions to be made jointly by both parents. However, those decisions can be anything but typical when two co-parents must collaborate as co-teachers to facilitate at-home, virtual education. What if you and your co-parent cannot agree on how much parental supervision or cooperation a child needs? What if there are inconsistent resources or follow-through in each home? How can you ensure you remain equally involved in your child's education plan while still working within the parameters of your existing co-parenting plan?

Lesson One: Communication

Co-parents who are co-teaching must develop a plan for timely information sharing and decision-making. For example, it may be helpful to download a co-parenting communication app that provides a shared calendar for enrollment decision deadlines, assignments, and more. Then, even parents who are not on the same page can be on the same screen.

Lesson Two: Core Values

Not every parent understands the Common Core curriculum, but all parents understand their family's common goals and core values. If one parent is more available for supervised learning and the other parent has a rigid work schedule that cannot accommodate homeschooling, stop keeping score of hours and overnights and focus on the joint goal of successfully educating your child. Lean into your respective situations. Find creative ways for the homeschooling parent to get a break and for the non-schooling parent to be more involved.

Lesson Three: Continuity

For a child to have a successful virtual learning experience, there needs to be continuity between the "schools" in each home. So, if the child needs an internet connection for virtual learning, or a dedicated study area free from intrusion or interruptions, both homes should provide it. Allocating the responsibility and the resources for learning between both homes ensures fairness to both parents and gives the child security.

Conclusion

If co-parenting while co-teaching has you feeling overwhelmed or has left you with more questions than answers, you are not alone. Contact us at Jamra & Jamra for the thoughtful and specific guidance you need to ensure an A+ co-parenting experience.

Making Sense of Custody Arrangements in the Era of COVID-19

Friday, November 13, 2020


Custody during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been simple. Parents accustom to a steady schedule of sharing the children have found themselves legally isolated either away from or enclosed with their kids. Whether you are the parent quarantined with the kids or missing your children for an unfair duration, we're here to help.

Quarantine and Custody Length

The fact that entire regions have been set under quarantine and ordered not to mix households has put a lot of pressure on divorced co-parents. We know that many parents are facing an extended time with their kids, past the normal exchange points.                                                                                                                  

Can You Trade the Kids Safely?

Yes, but only if you isolate for 14 days first. Both parents and the kids need to have 0 contact with others for 14 days - without symptoms - to be sure that it's safe to mix immunity bubbles. If you achieve a 14 day isolation, you can carefully exchange child custody.

What If One Parent Is Sick?

The good news is that children are very rarely harmed by this illness. However, they can carry the illness between parents, who are at greater risk. If one parent gets sick, move children to the other parent as soon as possible using the 14 day isolation rule.

Adapting Child Support to New Circumstances

Child support is calculated based on time supporting the kids each month. If COVID-19 has changed your schedule, you may need to adapt the child support terms. This can be done through online legal services to find the best possible solution for your current and near-future conditions.

Divorce Legal Services for New or Temporary Child Custody Terms

A divorce attorney experienced in child custody issues is the best person to help you with the current complex child safety situation. With a legal service, you can find the most mutually-productive and child-supporting solutions. Adapt your schedule, meet online, and make sure whoever is buying the kid's groceries receives the support they need. Jamra & Jamra is here to provide our expertise in guiding co-parents through this extended crisis.

Conclusion

Contact us to consult on your COVID-era child custody concerns.

Who Pays for a Child's Health Insurance?

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Affordable Care Act states that all children under the age of 18 must be covered by health insurance. However, that is not always as simple as it sounds, especially for divorcing parents. In many cases, the child will also be covered by the health insurance that a parent may get through their work. Even if the parents are divorced, the children will still be covered by the health insurance of choice or if the non-custody holding parent only has health insurance. Unfortunately, if neither parent has health insurance through their work, the coverage becomes a little more complex.

A Judge Decides

If neither parent can cover health insurance for a child post-divorce from their job, they will have to buy health insurance for their child. Unfortunately, this can be costly – as much as $1,000 per month. Who covers this cost? While mediation can negotiate splitting costs or help decide the paying party, if you take it to court, a judge will make the decision simple.

Healthcare for the child, under the eyes of the judge, is necessary for the support of the child. As such, it will typically be factored into child support payments. This means that the custody-holding parent will likely be responsible for finding health insurance for their child, but the support-paying parent will be paying for it with their monthly support payments.

This is not an ideal situation for the support-paying parent. Health insurance is expensive and the support payer may not be convinced that their huge support payment is really going to solid health insurance. However, if it is discovered that the custody-holding parent is not being aboveboard, they can be taken to court for it.

Learn More About Children's Health Insurance

Are you going through a divorce or have any other family law issue? We can help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get the best possible results.

Can Child Support Agreements Be Made Outside of Court?

Friday, September 11, 2020

For many, the costs of divorce and separation are prohibitive. No one wants to go to court, and no one really wants to pays the court their fees for their service or for legal representation in the courtroom. However, much of divorce and child support negotiation can be done outside of the courtroom to keep things affordable.

In a Courtroom

There is no requirement that says child support and parenting plans need to be figured out in the courtroom in front of a judge. Often, you will want your lawyer to help suggest what is fair in terms of child support, but much of everything else can be figured out between the two parents outside of the courtroom.

Unfortunately, when it comes to child support agreements, you can't escape the need for a judge. Once a parenting plan and child support agreement has been figured out between two parents, it will need to be presented to a judge for their approval. When it comes to child support, the first priority of the judge is the well-being of your child. As such, they will make sure the agreement looks fair and it good interest to the child. They will then approve or reject it appropriately.

This is a necessary step, but while it may be an extra cost to you, it is to your benefit. Having a judge approve your support agreement will make it legally binding. If your ex-spouse violates it, then you can take legal action against them. This is why you want to make sure as many bases as possible are covered in the agreement.

Learn More About Making Child Support Agreements Outside of Court

Are you preparing to go through a divorce or have some other family law issue? We can help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get the best possible results.

More Tips for Same Sex Marriages Ending in Divorce

Monday, August 17, 2020

When it became legal to marry someone of the same sex, many rushed to the alter because they finally could. However, others decided that they were fine the way that things were.  They decided not to change anything about their lives. 

However, once married, same-sex couples can also get divorced. It can be messy and complicated. Here are some more things to consider when getting a divorce.

Think About Your Children

If you have adopted children during your marriage, you have to consider their needs. You are going to have to come up with a good custody arrangement that works for everyone. If needed, you should pay child support so that your children can continue the life that they have been living.

Find a Way to Co-Parent Together

If you have children together, you are going to be in each other's lives for the rest of your lives. The sooner that you can get along, the better off you will be. It will also be much easier on your children if you are able to spend holidays and special occasions together.

Get the Help That You Need

If you are really struggling, you may want to talk to a therapist. He or she will help you find ways to cope with your divorce and all of the feelings that you are having. It can really make a difference in healing after a divorce.

Don't Give Up

Just because you are getting divorced doesn't mean that you are a failure. You are going to find someone again that makes you happy and ready to settle down again. You may even decide to marry again. In fact, many people are much happier in their second divorce because they really know what they want and need from their partner.

Find More More Tips for Same Sex Marriages Ending in Divorce 

If you have children, you need to consider them during your divorce. They need both of you in their lives so it is important to learn to work together so that they still have a good life. Then, if you are struggling, you need to get some help. There is nothing wrong with talking to someone as you adjust to this new time in your life. 

Contact us for all of your legal needs. We will be glad to help you get through this difficult time. 

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.

When It’s Time to Modify a Child Support Order

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Going through a divorce after establishing a family is stressful and upsetting. Sometimes the turmoil doesn't end when your divorce finalizes. Perhaps you and your ex-spouse settled on a child support agreement—perhaps the court ruled on an appropriate order. Either way, changes may occur that give cause for a change in your child support order.

Changes That Effect a Child Support Order

Have you or your ex-spouse experienced one of the following changes?

  • The income of one or both parents has changed
  • A parent has a child from another relationship
  • There have been significant changes in time the child spends with each parent
  • A parent becomes incarcerated
  • The child's needs change in cost, including but not limited to health care, child care, or education
  • There have been changes in any of the factors used to calculate child support.

For parents who have already been through the trials of a divorce, going back before a judge to argue with your ex can be dismaying. You've already gone through the proceedings once before. Still, the financial needs of you and your children are very important. As a parent, you want the best for your child, and if some occurrence puts a strain on your wallet, it is in your best interest to obtain a fair resolution. Whether that is with the cooperation of the other parent or without, having the correct child support is essential to the stability of yours and your children's lives.

Proceedings

Child support proceedings can transpire through multiple avenues. You may reach a new settlement with your spouse amiably, or you may have to take them to court. You may also involve your local child support agency (LSCA). The LSCA acts as a middleman between you and the court; the agency determines whether a modification to your child support order is needed based on both parents' financial records. If you and your former spouse are able to reach an agreement without the interference of an outside party, the LSCA may also file what is called a "stipulation" to the court of your agreement.

Learn More About a Child Support Order

No matter the route that is taken to reach new child support arrangements, it is always important to have a family attorney to ensure that all outcomes are in the best interest of you and your child. Please contact us with any questions you may have about your child support.

Can You Relocate Your Children Following Divorce?

Friday, June 12, 2020

Divorce is never easy as there is rarely a clean break. Often, the most precious assets are children over which there are custody decisions. Usually, a custodial parent is named and is the one who will have the most time with the children. The other parent is generally given visitation rights on a set schedule. Sometimes, "joint custody" is agreed upon or mandated by the court in which both parents have equal custody. However, one is named the "residential parent" whose address is utilized for the purposes of postal mail and school.

Notice of Intent to Relocate

Many courts deem "joint custody" as the ideal situation ("in best interest of children"), but sole custody is ordered when declared appropriate. For example, in cases of domestic violence or other threats to a child's safety. When there is shared custody, one parent is required by law to provide notice of intent to change residence by certified mail at least 60 days prior to moving. This is the case with any relocation, even if it is within the same neighborhood.

This notice is required to include:

  • The new mailing address if known. If unknown, the city for relocation must be named
  • A current contact phone number for the relocating parent
  • Proposed date of relocation
  • Short statement describing reasons for intended move of the relocating parent and children
  • Proposed plan for adjusting custody conditions (including visitation) as necessary

Consequences for Failure to Provide Notice

A parent who relocates his/her children without providing the required written notice risks much with the court in which custody was initially decided. The court will take into account this breach and will use it as a factor when deciding how, when, and if custody and visitation will be modified. It is possible the judge will order the children returned from the relocation and the offending parent might be ordered to pay expenses of the non-relocating parent.

Objection Filing By Non-Relocating Parent

Once a parent is noticed of his/her ex-spouse's plan to relocate, he/she has 30 days in which to file an objection with the court which initially handled the child's custody issue. Should the parent fail to file, the court will most likely allow the other parent to move. If the petition is filed, most often the court will hold a hearing to determine if the relocation is in best interest of the involved minors.

Factors the Court Might Consider

  • How drastically the current custody agreement will need to change to accommodate the distance of the move. For example, if the non-relocating parent currently has his/her children every weekend, a far away move would likely make visits much rarer.
  • Both parents income might be taken into account by the court as funds are needed to permit frequent visitation to other parent's residence.
  • Does the move provide a more stable and safe environment for the minors. For instance, is the new home in better condition than the old one, are there good local schools, is the new location in a lower area of crime, is there less air pollution in the area of relocation?
  • Record of prior visitation; for example, does the parent filing the objection have a history of frequent visitation or is it sporadic or rare?

Learn More About Relocating Your Children Following Divorce

A qualified and experienced attorney in child custody is advisable for those who wish to relocate a child following divorce. Jamra & Jamra is a firm dedicated to help those with divorce issues including child custody and visitation concerns. Please contact us so we can help you with your situation.

Working Out Travel in Child Custody Agreements

Friday, May 29, 2020

When you are trying to agree on child custody during a divorce, there is a lot of consider. You and your ex-partner will likely be focused on where your children will live and when, but the key to a successful parenting plan is considering all situations. This is why you definitely need to take travel into consideration.

Travel With a Child

Travel as a child can greatly expand their horizons and it can be a very fun experience, but travel can be a pretty big disruption to the schedule. So, how do you factor in travel to your parenting plan when working out custody? In truth there are a few questions that you and your ex-partner will want to know the answers to:

  • When can travel be done? I.e. Will it interfere with school or parenting time?
  • Who handles providing travel necessities for the child?
  • How and if a child will be able to communicate with the non-traveling parent?
  • Will other parties be allowed to travel with you and the child?

Be Fair

It is best to approach these questions fairly, but also in a flexible nature. Such as if you aren't sure you want a child to be able to travel with the other parent and their new lover, you may want to set ground rules that you have to have met them first before it happens. This helps everyone feel more comfortable and does not completely close off the possibility. However, if you are in a potentially tumultuous divorce where there may be problems, you may also want to set stricter ground rules like barring out of country vacations, at least for awhile.

Learn More About Travel in Child Custody Agreements

Are you going through a divorce with difficult child custody? Let us help. Contact us today to see how Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you get through this.