Family Law Blog

If Divorce is on Your Mind

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Are you contemplating divorce? The legal process is complicated and can involve working with your spouse as much as possible to avoid unnecessary conflict, or it could mean a long drawn-out court battle. The important thing to remember is that no two divorces will be precisely the same, as different factors will come into play. 

The First Step

You will either be on the receiving end of a divorce petition, or you will be in the position of serving it to your former partner. You should consider where to file for divorce. Usually, the next step entails you filing papers in the state or county where you or your spouse lives. Also, make sure to familiarize yourself with your state or county's residency requirements so that you are filing in the correct location. If your partner serves in the military, you have the option to file papers where your partner is stationed. 

Will You File for a "No Fault" Divorce?

Choosing between a "fault" and a "no fault" divorce is an important part of the filing process. "Fault" divorces encompass the negative aspects of a marriage such as abuse or adultery. If children aren't in the picture or assets are at a minimum, getting a "summary" divorce is a possibility. Seeking the advice of a lawyer would be wise here, as you don't want to inadvertently surrender your property or child support rights. 

Mediation is Important 

Divorce doesn't need to be synonymous with bitter conflict. Mediation is a very valid option when it comes to resolving the finer points of separation, and can save you quite a bit of time and money. Mediation experts, while not perfect, are experienced in hammering out solutions to points of contention between you and your spouse. This process should be considered among the first steps to take after filing for divorce rather than a last resort.   

If you are contemplating divorce, contact us for more information. 

Will Your Spouse's Unemployment Affect Your Divorce?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

If there is one thing that can quickly ruin a marriage, it is financial issues. If one spouse is unemployed and not able to find work, it can put a lot of stress on your relationship. Combined with other marital problems, this stress might be just enough to make it break. However, if your spouse is unemployed, will it have any effect on your divorce?

The answer is yes. If your spouse isn't working and you have been supporting them, you may find that after your divorce, you will be responsible for paying them maintenance in the form of spousal support. Typically this makes divorces even more contentious because, well, who wants to pay someone they aren't even with anymore?

Luckily, the amount of spousal support is determined by the court. They take into consideration whether or not the unemployment is voluntary, who primarily handled any childcare activities, and if the unemployed spouse is disabled or able to get gainful employment.

With all those things considered, spousal support may be permanent, limited, of a rehabilitative nature, or even meant to repay the spouse for their past financial contributions. So depending on the nature of your spouse's unemployment, it is likely you will have to pay them some spousal support, but it may not be forever. The duration is usually lengthened if they are disabled or if they were the full-time care taker for young children or those with special needs. As those children grow and develop, the court may also expect them to seek employment.

If you are preparing to file for divorce for financial or other reasons and are concerned about paying spousal support, contact us today. The Law Firm of Jamra & Jamra can help you go over your case to see how likely spousal support might be.

Remembering the More Obscure Marriage Assets

Thursday, July 20, 2017

There isn't a couple in the world that plans for divorce, but it happens. If you are about to start your filing, then it is also time to start locating your assets. However, you first need to recognize that there are some assets that you might not be thinking about at first. Everyone remembers those typical assets like cars, bank accounts, and property, but some other assets like retirement accounts or investments, we tend to forget about.

Here are a few more unusual assets that you need to remember to look for in the event of a divorce:

  • Capital Loss - These carryovers can save a lot of money on your taxes, so be sure to check last year's tax returns to see what deduction you can take. If you find that you have a capital loss, then this is definitely something that should be brought up.
  • Land Purchases - If you or your spouse purchased land, cemetery plots, or any other shared interests together, it is time to identify them and assess their value. This is particularly important in cemetery plots since these can be particularly expensive. It is best to sort out the value of your share of the plot, or the plot altogether if you don't want to keep it. Land can be a little easier to sort out since the couple can often just sell it and split the profits.
  • Memberships - Did you and your spouse purchase a membership to a golf course, country club, or own a timeshare? These are something that people often forget about if they aren't using often, but they can be costly shared assets as well as become problematic if you ever want to use them again. Don't forget to bring them up in divorce proceedings as well as address who gets to keep the membership in question.

This is just a sample of some of the more forgotten assets that need to be addressed in divorce. If you are beginning your divorce proceedings, contact us today. Here at the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra, we know how important legal representation is in the event of a divorce. Don't get caught without representation if you want to make sure your divorce goes fairly and as smoothly as possible.



How to Come to a Property Division Agreement

Thursday, May 25, 2017

In California, division of property in a divorce follows community property rules. That means that the marital property is not split equitably, but rather evenly across both parties. However, separate property, which was bought by one party in a marriage alone is kept by its owner. However, if you are the major earner in a marriage, and are likely getting the short end of the stick with community property rules, there is a way around it.

While you can let the court decide property division, it is better for both parties to come to an agreement themselves. A property division agreement is an informal agreement with your soon to be ex-spouse where you can both negotiate a fair split. This is a way to easily get around community property rules, but only if both parties agree. Naturally, when the other party could legally be getting more, getting them to agree to a property division agreement is not easy, but not impossible either.

One of the most important things to consider when sitting down for a property division agreement meeting is whether or not to have attorneys present. No matter how friendly you still are with your ex-spouse, it is best for both parties to be represented just so things stay fair. Some parts of the property may have more sentimental value than they do monetary value, which is the major reason to do division of property independent of the court in community property states. By sitting down and doing it independently, everyone can get the specific things they want.

If you are filing for divorce and are looking to sit down to a property division meeting with representation, contact us today.

How Long Do You Have to Pay Spousal Support?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spousal support, or alimony as it is commonly called, is used to make sure both parties are not driven to poverty after a divorce. If one side of a divorcing party is used to a certain standard of living and does not have a way to support that standard themselves, then the other side of a divorcing party will be expected to pay spousal support for them. However, the bright side is that spousal support is not forever.

Most commonly, spousal support will be deemed as rehabilitative. This means the supporting spouse will only need to pay alimony until the receiving spouse has received education or training into order to become self-supporting.

However, not all spousal support awards will be so reasonable. If your divorce decree does not specify an alimony termination date, then the payments will have to continue until the court orders it. Typically alimony can be ended for a number of other reasons, such as if the paying party suffers a significant loss of income. However, most commonly, alimony will end if the recipient remarries or the paying party dies. However, if the recipient still can't support themselves when the paying party dies, alimony can continue to be paid from their estate or life insurance proceeds.

If you are starting divorce proceedings, then alimony may be one of your big worries, but definitely not the only worry. As there is no such thing as an amicable divorce, you need representation to make sure you get your fair share of a dissolved marriage. For consultation on your case, contact us today.

Getting a Temporary Restraining Order

Thursday, April 13, 2017

When most people hear the words restraining order, they think about an abused and scared woman. However, they can also be needed during bitter divorces. They are also called an order of protection and are put in place to help people going through divorces.

Everyone knows that divorce can really hurt people and families, causing them to act inappropriately. They may lash out physically, emotionally, and even financially. For this reason, many people get a temporary restraining order in order to protect their family.

Some people will do anything when they are faced with an awful divorce. They may try to move the children without the other parent knowing. They may wipe out combined bank accounts, leaving the other person with no money at all. Really scared people may take a loan out on the house without the other person knowing.

Because of this, temporary restraining orders can maintain the status quo until your divorce is over. It is temporary and will end as soon as your divorce is all settled. By then, you will know how everything is divided and settled and there will be no need for any harsh actions. It will be time to let go and start to move on.

In order to get a temporary restraining order, the party will need to file a petition for a restraining order at the same time that he or she files for divorce. The sooner this is done, the less likely that you will have to worry about protecting your family and your money. However, a temporary restraining order can also be issued at any time during the divorce if the need arises.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for all of your legal needs. We want to make sure that you and your family are protected during this scary time in your life.


Divorce: What About The "Fur Babies"?

Thursday, April 06, 2017

We have reached a point in the journey of man where a canine companion is no longer viewed as a tool to be disposed of when it is no longer useful. Dogs have truly become "man's best friend" and couples even talk of their "fur babies" as members of their family. 

We have also reached a point in the journey of mankind where the divorce rate is above 50 percent. This begs the question, what happens to the dogs in the event of divorce? 

What Does The Law Say?

How dogs are treated in a divorce depends on the state the divorce is taking place in. Some states treat dogs as if they are inanimate property, while others have detailed statutes about how to divide up canine custody. For example, Alaska recently passed a law that will treat dogs as children while Texas treats dogs no differently than Grandpa's work bench. 

In California, pets are considered to be personal property, with courts working only to award a pet to one of the spouses in the event of divorce. While some courts will consider the best interest of the pet in making a decision, this is not a given. Where possible, it can be beneficial for the couple to work out a contractual agreement on their own in order to avoid litigation. 

Peace Of Mind For Beverly Hills Pet Owners

If you are considering a divorce and have concerns about what will happen to your dog, speaking to an experienced divorce lawyer can help put your mind at ease. Contact us to schedule a consultation.


Dealing With Tardiness in Child Custody Matters

Thursday, January 19, 2017

When figuring out a parenting plan and child custody schedule, parents might work something out before finalizing a divorce or have matters settled by a judge. Either way, everything won't always go according to plan. A visitation order might list how often and at what times a noncustodial parent receives access to a child or children. Problems may arise if one parent stops following the schedule by showing up late or not showing up at all. Here are some tips for dealing with tardiness or absences.

Occasional Slip Ups

Parents should try to work with each other when possible and realize that unplanned events do arise every now and then that could interfere with the regular schedule. Being late once or twice will happen, and it's better to not get worked up if little things like this occur.

When It Becomes A Habit

If a parent is always late or frequently changes plans without warning, start by talking to them. Maybe there is a reason and an easy fix for the problem or the person doesn't even realize there is an issue. Though a fixed schedule is helpful for kids and adults, real life can get in the way. Changes to a schedule might be needed as time passes.

When Parents Can't Work It Out

Mediation could be the right solution if both parents want to reach an agreement but are unable to communicate and solve the problem. A mediator could help parents find and agree on a compromise. If mediation doesn't work and nothing improves, going to court to enforce or change an order might be necessary. Try to document what is happening and how it affects your children.

When divorcing or trying to raise children after a divorce, an attorney's assistance may be needed. Contact us today for information about how we could help you.

Can a Divorce Include a Clause Negating Child Support Obligations?

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Is it possible, at the time of the divorce, to include a clause in the divorce contract whereas one parent is absolved, with the agreement and consent of the other parent, of child support obligations?

The first thing to know is that child support is something obligated by law -- parents must support their children, even if they are not currently married to the other parent. Child support obligations do not stem from divorce contracts and agreements.

This law is in place to ensure that children are adequately taken care of. It also is in the government’s best interests not to have too many welfare recipients.

Usually, clauses negating child support obligations will not be recognized by the courts. Unless you are able to prove that this clause is, in fact, in the child’s best interests, it will generally have no legal standing.

It goes even further. If there was a clause under which one parent paid a lump sum for the child’s needs, instead of having to pay monthly payments, and the money was squandered by the other parent who has custody of the child and the child now needs financial assistance, the first parent may have to start paying again for child support. This is because child support obligations are in place to benefit the child, and a parent's self-interest has no bearing on the issue, unless the parent is financially unable to support the child.

Child support laws are extremely complex. If you are considering a clause in your divorce contract concerning child support, it is best to contact a lawyer for legal help.

Divorce And Social Media: Can Ignoring Your Attorney's Advice About Posting Online Really Hurt You?

Monday, November 28, 2016

These days, many divorce lawyers advise their clients to stay off social media altogether until the divorce is final and custody and support issues are settled. But is it really all that foolhardy to ignore your attorney’s advice? Absolutely. Here are a number of different ways that social media can backfire on you during a divorce.

The opposing divorce attorney is going to mine your accounts for data.

Even if you put your privacy settings on "high," you still have no real expectation of privacy for anything you say online. That makes it fair game for an attorney to use if you one of your "close" friends decides to show your posts to your warring spouse.

Your spouse’s divorce attorney will be watching with the mindset of “Is this useful in court?” You likely don’t have the necessary expertise or experience to realize just what can and cannot hurt you.

For example, what if you have a bad day at work and post a picture of a glass of wine with dinner? That becomes an exhibit that suggests you have a drinking problem, poor coping skills, and shouldn’t be handling full custody of your kids.

Did you start a new romance? Your pictures of a weekend retreat with your new romantic interest could be considered “marital waste,” which will then entitle your spouse to a greater share of the remaining marital assets.

Are you frustrated and angry about your spouse’s failure to pay support on time? Spouting off on your Twitter account could violate the court order that prohibits you from disparaging each other in front of your children, especially if your children are old enough to have their computer access. That could be grounds to revisit your parenting agreement and shift custody to your spouse.

You may not legally be allowed to go back and delete what you posted.

If you temporarily lose your temper and post something that you know you shouldn’t, you may be tempted to delete the post seconds or minutes later. Unfortunately, that’s considered spoliation of evidence, which can also get you in trouble with the court. If word got around to your spouse, and he or she demands access to the post, you don’t want to be in the position of explaining to the court that you destroyed potential evidence.

As a result of the deletion, the court can order a negative inference against you, which means it can just assume that the post was destructive to your spouse’s reputation or disparaged him or her publicly.

As difficult as it may be to detach from social media for a while, consider the fact that your attorney is giving you advice for a reason—he or she has probably seen a lot of bad outcomes from posts that seemed okay at the time to the client.

For more information about this and other divorce issues, contact us today.