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Family Law Blog

What to Expect From a Child Custody Hearing?

Friday, October 23, 2020

Ideally, a child custody hearing is something you never have to go through. However, because of that, it is a bit of an unknown that is likely causing you stress. What will happen? How will everything be sorted? For your specific circumstances, your lawyer can (and should) give you a full rundown on what will happen inside that courtroom, but here is what you can expect.

Child Custody Hearing in Court

In truth, most child custody hearings, when they make it to the courtroom, are almost all finished up. Due to how pressed the courts are for time, you do much of the planning, debating, and agreement outside of the courtroom with your lawyer, your ex-spouse, and their lawyer.

What you can expect is to form a parenting plan with your ex-spouse. This will be a lot of mediation on what is fair time that the child gets to spend with each parent. It is best that you go into very specific details. The more details that are covered in a court-approved parenting plan, the happier everyone will be. Be sure to cover things like holidays, school vacations, emergencies, transportation, and vacations.

When you do enter the courtroom, usually you don't need to be ready to debate your side. If there is any disagreement on issues that you and your spouse cannot agree on, the judge will weigh in to make a more final decision. This decision will be based on not so much what is fair to the parents, but rather what is in the best interests of the child. Other than that, the purpose of going to court is so the judge can look over the parenting plan and give it legally-binding approval.

Learn More About What to Expect From a Child Custody Hearing

Are you going through a divorce and need help navigating this difficult process? Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do for you.

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.

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.

Are You Paying Too Much in Child Support?

Monday, September 23, 2019

The court uses a specific equation in order to calculate what is deemed to be the best child support payment. Unfortunately, this equation isn't perfect. It can turn out that you end up paying too much in child support, so much so that it seems more like your spouse is benefiting from having custody of your children. So what can you do when this happens?

Many Factors

In truth, the child support calculation should take into account your own income, the amount of time you spend with the child, and their unique needs. If you are spending quite a bit of parenting time, the support payments will be lower. However, typically you will see this child support go towards the benefit of your child without causing you financial strain.

Know You're Paying Too Much

If you are either being put under financial pressure to make these payments or notice your ex-spouse spending a lot of extra money without valid cause, then you are likely paying too much. If either of these events are true, you should contact your lawyer. You will then be tasked with gathering evidence of financial strain or that your ex-spouse is misusing these funds in order to obtain a lower payment.

Find out If You Are Paying Too Much in Child Support

The world tends to look down unfavorably on those that don't pay child support. However, in truth, the imperfect equation can make those payments far too high for some to bear. You will need to prove that it causes a burden, and the court will lower them if you have at least made an attempt to pay them when you can.

If you are having divorce or child support problems, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you navigate this difficult area of the law in order to get the best possible results. Don't suffer under this burden when there is still action to take.