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What To Do If You've Been Served Divorce Papers

Friday, January 22, 2021

Regardless of whether you expect them, receiving divorce papers is always a deeply emotional experience. On top of that emotional intensity, the legal path forward may be daunting or unclear. Here are some tips for the process, along with ways that the right attorney can help you navigate that path during this tough time.

Read the Papers Thoroughly

These papers often include important information regarding your divorce, such as temporary custody details and court dates, so be sure ‌you read and understand the papers in full. The papers will also include the date by which you must serve your answer to the divorce petition; if you miss this deadline, you may lose your chance to have a say in the divorce settlement. Reach out to our attorneys if you need any additional help or have questions about the information in your papers.

Serve Your Answer

Your answer must be served legally in order to be legitimate. To do this, you must speak to the clerk at your court and ask to use the Sheriff's office to serve your papers. A divorce lawyer can help you compose this answer, and can help in waiving the filing fee as well.

Reach Out to Counsel

If you have not already reached out to an attorney, this is the point where you should reach out to discuss next steps. A divorce attorney can guide you through reconciliation or going to court in the coming divorce proceedings.

Reach Settlement

Together with your attorney, you will negotiate the terms of your divorce with the other party. These terms will include issues such as custody, child support, and division of assets. It is more than likely that your divorce case will settle before your court date—according to a CBS report, only five percent of divorce cases in the US progress to trial. If your divorce case does go to trial, the right divorce lawyer will handle the entire process with you, maintaining your best interests in mind and winning you the outcome you need.

Take a Breath

Divorce is always a draining experience—financially, emotionally and mentally. Take care of yourself throughout the process by reaching out to your support group, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and engaging in the things you enjoy the most.

Need More Support?

Reach out to one of the many experienced attorneys at Jamra and Jamra, LLP for professional guidance throughout your divorce process.

Divorce: Mediation Versus Arbitration

Monday, December 28, 2020

Often used interchangeably, if you are seeking an out-of-courtroom resolution to a divorce, you may think mediation and arbitration are the same thing. While they serve a similar function, mediation and arbitration are different and may suit different needs for a divorcing couple.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is often a cheap solution to more amicable divorces. In mediation, spouses meet together or separately with a neutral third party mediator. This mediator will help spouses divide assets and work out compromises. As this takes place out of the courtroom, this method is often a cheaper and more flexible way to sort out the division needed for divorce.

The key aspect of mediation to keep in mind is that anything worked out is not legally binding. Essentially, they work out compromises that the divorcing couple will take to court. The judge will then make it legal. Thus, there is nothing to stop one party from changing the agreement if they choose.

What Is Divorce Arbitration?

It is simpler to think of arbitration like divorce court-lite. Mediators cannot impose resolutions, but an arbitrator can. Essentially, arbitration allows both sides to argue their standpoint and the arbitrator passes down a solution to the issue that is a legally binding solution. It will then be finalized by a judge later. Arbitration helps keep the courts from being clogged up with long and complicated divorce cases. Though not as affordable as mediation, it is still a cheaper alternative to constant court fees.

Conclusion

Are you getting ready to go through a divorce? The process is long and complicated, but worth doing for your own sanity. If you are looking at divorce and need help, contact us today to see what we at the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get through the process with as few headaches as possible.

What Is the Timeline Like for a First Time Divorce?

Friday, December 18, 2020

With any luck, the first divorce in your life will be the last divorce. However, like when you do anything for the first time, you may want to know exactly what the process looks like. Unfortunately, as a divorce can take months of simply waiting for things to move forward, it is not so easy to lay out a concrete timeline. Instead, we wanted to highlight events as they will happen. As to how fast they will happen depends on how busy your local court system is and how much other parties drag their feet.

Timeline for First Time Divorce

If you are wondering what the divorce process looks like, your lawyer should be able to walk you through every step of the process, but as a whole, it can be rather simply broken down.

  • One spouse gets a lawyer and will write up a petition for divorce to start the process. This will include what they want in terms of financial, custody, and property division.
  • The petition is filed with the court.
  • The petition is served to the other party, requiring their legal response. Without a response, the court assumes they agree with the terms. The response is how the served spouse wants to deal with the above issues.
  • Mediation for issues is pursued if desired. Otherwise, the court will require compiled information on finances and property to help make the division.
  • If a settlement is reached, there will be a court hearing to make the agreement final and binding.
  • If the divorce is not settled, both sides will argue their side in court to help the judge settle issues.
  • The judge grants the divorce.
  • Both spouses retain the ability to appeal the court's decision on the decided matters, but it is typically unusual to have that decision overturned.

Conclusion

A broken down timeline makes divorce seem simple. However, it can take months and making the decisions can be difficult. If you are looking at a divorce in your future, contact us today to see what the professionals at the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help.

3 Signs That It May Be Time to Consider a Divorce

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Deciding that it is time to end your marriage is one of the most difficult things that a person, or a couple, can go through. However, if lies, betrayal, or years of resentment have left you feeling detached from your marriage, you may find yourself wondering if it is time for a divorce. Yet, how can you know for sure if things are really over? If you are unsure about the state of your marriage, here is a look at a few common signs that a divorce may be in the best interest of you and your spouse. 

You Constantly Feel Criticized or Put Down By Your Spouse

A clear red flag that all is not well in your marriage is if you are constantly put down and made to feel not good enough by your spouse. Constant criticism and emotional abuse from your partner can leave you feeling worn out and even depressed. If you feel as though you are constantly criticized or made to feel inferior, it may be time to consider a divorce. This abuse is not good for your mental health, and you should consider taking care of yourself by moving on. 

You Often Feel Lonely Even When You're With Your Partner

Over time, you may have noticed that you and your spouse have drifted apart. Through no one's fault, you may find that you no longer have anything in common, and you may not even have anything to talk about. This can leave you feeling lonely even when you are with your partner due to a lack of affection, closeness, and intimacy. If this is the case, it may be in both of your best interests to have a frank conversation about the condition of your marriage and whether a divorce may be the best option. 

Communication Has Fallen Apart

Towards the end of a marriage, it is not uncommon for communication to completely fall apart. You may even find that you are unable to have a simple conversation without things dissolving into arguments. Furthermore, these arguments likely don't get resolved, and you may find yourself arguing about the same things over and over again without finding a solution or common ground. This is often a clear sign of a relationship that has been damaged beyond repair. 

Conclusion

While it can be difficult to admit when it is time for a divorce, doing so can help you and your spouse to move on and heal from a broken relationship. However, if you plan on seeking a divorce, it is critical that you consult an attorney so that you have someone to walk you through this complicated process. Feel free to contact us to learn about how we can help you through this difficult time.   

Unique Issues With Same Sex Divorce

Monday, November 30, 2020

In terms of process, divorce is the same no matter whether you are a heterosexual couple or a same sex one. However, same sex couples do have two unique circumstances in divorce that they may face compared to heterosexual divorces. By knowing these potential issues, you can make sure you are prepared for them if they may be something you face in a same sex divorce.

Previous Domestic Partnership and Property Division

If you entered into a marriage when it became legal after years of domestic partnership, you may face some new difficulties when it comes to property division. While you did have a legal partnership prior to marriage, it may make property division work a little differently.

Property division and the establishment of shared property are strongly dependent on the date of the marriage. As such, it may be difficult for the courts to establish what is individual property and what is shared marital property if you were in a domestic partnership prior.

Typically, if you had a domestic partnership prior to marriage, you will want to work out as much property division outside of the courtroom as possible to avoid unanticipated splits.

Child Custody

The child custody between same sex couples can be particularly difficult. As a rule, the law will always side with the biological parent over those unrelated to the child. You can imagine the issues this causes with same sex child custody cases. However, if the non-biological parent is listed on the birth certificate or has formally adopted the child, they will have more standing. However, the biological parent will always have more.

Due to these unique issues, it is always more beneficial for same sex couple to work out child and property division outside of the courtroom. The courts tend to take awhile to catch up with new legal precedents sometimes, and unfortunately, this is one of those times. If you are a same sex couple going through divorce and need help, contact us today. Let the professionals at the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra come to your aid.

Tips for Same Sex Marriages Ending in Divorce

Monday, August 10, 2020

Now that it is legal, same-sex couples can get married. While many same-sex couples rushed to get married because they finally could, others didn't feel the need to change the way that they have been living for several years. Many already felt married by that point, so they didn't. They have continued to live the way that they always have.

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

Time Is Going to Be a Factor

The length of time that a couple is married can really affect a divorce. Unfortunately, many same-sex couples lived together for many years before being allowed to be legally married. Some judges will count the year that you were legally married, though some will count the time that you lived together to determine the rest of the divorce proceedings.

Dividing Property

When dividing up property and assets, the state starts at the property that you owned together since 2013. Even if you lived together for ten years at that point, they will only count the property and assets that you got from that point on.

Hire a Lawyer

Don't forget to hire a lawyer.You should never go through a divorce alone. You need an experienced lawyer on your side to make sure that you are protected and can find a divorce settlement that works for you.

Meditation

Consider using mediation. Since the courts have their own way of dealing with your property and assets, many same-sex couples go through mediation. It allows you to end the marriage on better terms and divide up your assets the way that you want to.

Conclusion

Getting divorced is never easy. If you are in a same-sex marriage, it can be even harder. Legally, you could have acted married for years before you ever did get married. This can really change your divorce proceedings. For this reason, many same-sex couples try to go through mediation and settle everything outside of the court system. If you can work together to come up with a settlement, it is going to be much better for everyone.

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

How Does the Length of a Marriage Affect Spousal Support?

Monday, June 29, 2020

There are many aspects of marriage to consider when calculating spousal support when filing for a divorce. However, one of the more crucial aspects is the length of the marriage. The length of your marriage not only factors into how much you get, but how long you will get it for, and even if you will receive spousal support at all.

Shorter Marriage

Typically, those who have been married for a long time, usually more than ten years, will receive a lengthy spousal support period. However, the length will also be extended if the spouse asking for support does not work or makes a small amount of income.

For example, if a grocery store worker divorced a millionaire after a year of marriage, they will likely get no spousal support from the marriage. They weren't married very long and were able to support themselves just a year ago. Now, they can do it again. Even if they quit their job during the marriage, it is one they could get again without much difficulty.

Longer Marriage

Now, take a dissolving 30-year marriage where one party is a sole earner and the other has been a house-maker for the past 20 years. It is likely that the non-working party will get a long-term or lifetime of spousal support. This is because they have been out of the workforce for so long that it would be difficult for them to become gainfully employed.

Learn More About Spousal Support

It is likely that your marriage falls in between these two extremes. Typically, what the standard couple will be looking at is a limited spousal support award based on the length of your marriage. This will allow the lesser earning party an adjustment period after the divorce, but the payments will end eventually.

Are you going through a tough divorce and need help? Contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get through this difficult experience.

How to Keep the Cost of Divorce Low

Monday, June 22, 2020

It is not a highly advertised fact, but getting a divorce can be expensive. For some, they have the funds to draw things out and make sure they get their fair share. However, that is not the case for most of us. If both you and your ex-spouse aren't exactly flush with cash or assets, there are a few things to keep in mind if you are looking to keep the cost of divorce as low as possible.

Divorce Amicably

If you and your ex-spouse are willing to work out property division and child custody amicably in mediation, it will save you quite a bit. Not only is it cheaper to not have to get the court involved, but it is also much faster.

Share Documentation

Bank statements, retirement account, or anything else you have that is a financial document – share it. Nothing will slow down a divorce faster than dragging your feet presenting documents or even trying to hide assets. The longer you take, the longer you need to pay your lawyer. If it becomes apparent that someone is being unnecessarily malicious, they may even face punitive measures.

Don't Fight For Items Not Worth It

If you and your ex-spouse are having a disagreement over who gets the multi-million dollar mansion, then certainly fighting for it is worth it. However, fighting over who gets a set of DVDs or a potted plant isn't worth what you are paying your lawyer for. There are battles worth fighting and there are battles that aren't worth it. You should know firmly what you aren't willing to give up and assess if it is really important to fight for it or if it can be replaced over time.

Conclusion

Are you going through a divorce? We can help. Contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can do to help you keep your divorce fair, quick, and as affordable as possible.

When to Consider Getting an Online Divorce

Monday, April 06, 2020

Couples today have the option of filing for divorce online in the absence of an attorney, but this isn't the best decision in many cases

Many couples may hesitate to hire attorneys because of the costs associated with them, but the fact is that working with an attorney can help you reach a better settlement than an online divorce without representation.

When You Can Get a Divorce Online

If you decide to file for divorce online without an attorney, there are some specific conditions that you'll need to meet to avoid any issues during the filing process. If you want to file for a divorce online, you should only do so under the following circumstances:

Both Spouses Agree to Divorce

If both spouses would like to get a divorce, they may not need an attorney. On the other hand, if only one spouse agrees to the divorce, an attorney may be required to serve divorce papers to the unwilling party.

Both Parties Are Involved Throughout the Divorce Process

When filing for divorce online without a lawyer, both spouses also need to participate in the proceedings. Spouses will be required to perform specific tasks and collect all of the necessary documentation to complete the divorce process. If either spouse fails to cooperate, an attorney may be required to help maintain compliance between both parties.

Both Spouses Are of Sound Mind and Judgment

If both parties are capable of making key decisions throughout the divorce process, you may be able to file online without issue. However, an attorney's involvement may be required if either spouse is incapable of making these decisions for any reason such as mental incapacitation or substance abuse.

Agreed to Full Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities

Both parties in the divorce process will need to maintain openness and honesty to avoid the involvement of an attorney, including full disclosure of all liabilities and assets involved.

Conclusion

If both parties meet these circumstances, it may be possible to get a divorce online. In most cases, it can be beneficial to both spouses to work with an attorney to assist with the divorce process, which can be complicated. Contact us to learn about what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you navigate a divorce to secure the best possible outcome.

Are Divorce Record Public or Private?

Monday, March 16, 2020

When you do anything in the legal system, you hope that the results will remain private. Unfortunately, they will likely be put on public record. This can be for public safety in terms of criminal records, but what about innocuous legal action like divorce? Are those records public or private?

Divorce Records

When you file for divorce in California and it concludes, those records will be filed with the state. By default, these records will be filed as public. What this means is that anyone interested in the case can obtain a copy of your divorce decree for whatever reason. However, only authorized copies are made to those mentioned in the decree. Any other copies are purely informational and typically used to establish some sort of identification.

Sealing the Records

If the public nature of your divorce decree makes you uncomfortable, you can pursue to process of having it sealed. The bad news is that it can be very difficult to get a divorce decree sealed. It will require a court order in which you need to persuade the court that you have valid reasons for sealing the record. Even if your ex-spouse agrees, you need to be able to justify your need for privacy.

Learn More About Sealing Divorce Records

In these cases, the reasons need not be particularly specific, but it can be difficult to find a valid reason that the court will accept. If you value privacy, you will want to work with your lawyer to document valid reasons to seal your divorce decree that the courts will accept.

If you are working towards divorce and want to make the best out of the process, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you get the best possible results so you can close this chapter of your life as smoothly as possible.