Family Law Blog

Divorce When One Spouse Has Dementia

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

elderly woman with dementia

As the baby boomers move into their golden years, gray divorces, or divorces in a person's elderly years, have skyrocketed. In these divorces, typically they are more complicated due to the number of assets usually involved, but what if one person is not as mentally competent as perhaps they should be for a divorce?

Dementia is a difficult disease, and yes, it is one that can shake even the strongest of foundations. Some may not be up to the task of caring for or dealing with a person that has dissolved so greatly in mental capacity that they no longer even recognize them. For this, a divorce is an option, but it likely won't be your more traditional divorce, but it does not need to be more complicated than usual.

In states that need a reason for divorce, typically diminished mental capacity can be used. In states that don't need a reason for divorce, mental capacity doesn't really matter. However, what will likely need to happen is that the spouse with dementia will need to have a guardian appointed by the court to represent their interests in the matter.

Of course, guilt may play a major part in a divorce when one person has dementia, but it shouldn't. If they have become increasingly difficult to take care of, it can be increasingly stressful for the spouse that has to do it. For some, their golden years are the only time they can fully enjoy their life, and a partner with dementia can quickly end that.

If you are considering divorce of your spouse who has manifested advanced dementia, contact us today. We can help walk you through the process so both parties get what is fairly there without too much difficulty. Let the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra come to help you through this difficult situation.


What to Do After Receiving Divorce Papers

Friday, September 07, 2018

In some cases, divorce is anticipated. You had been living separated for years, and you just knew it was coming. However, for some couples, they just wake up one day and find divorce papers sitting in front of them. However, what now? If you have received divorce papers, take these steps.

divorce papers with wooden gavel

Read Them

We live in a world where often we are pushed to just sign papers without reading them because the language is so complicated you can't understand it anyway. However, your divorce papers contain a treasure trove of information, as well as a deadline by which you must sign them. If the papers are a complete surprise to you, they may even contain the reasons for a divorce.

Contact a Lawyer

If divorce papers have been filed, this is not something that is going to be easily rectified. Contacting a divorce lawyer can help you understand the papers, and more importantly, respond to them appropriately by the usually very short deadline. While many believe a lawyer is just someone who can help you negotiate the most out of your divorce, they are first and foremost an advocate for your rights to make sure your spouse doesn't try to run you into the ground.

Protect Your Assets

This doesn't mean that you should go withdraw all your money from a joint checking account after receiving divorce papers, but rather you should take steps to protect your assets. You should leave all your assets where they are until they can be divided by the court, but you should also set up new separate bank accounts where your next paycheck will be deposited.

Are you going through a divorce? Whether it was long coming or a complete surprise, we can help you. As divorce lawyers, we can help you prepare for what is likely going to be a long process. Contact us today so we can start helping you today.


6 Tips for Your First Meeting With a Divorce Attorney

Friday, August 10, 2018

Meeting with a divorce attorney for the first time? You are taking a major step, and it is important to be properly prepared. Here are five tips for meeting with your divorce lawyer for the first time.

divorce attorney

Know What to Bring 

Ask the lawyer which documents you need to bring along. You might need to bring various tax documents and other legal documents. Make sure you bring all of them so that the lawyer can be properly prepared going forward.

Prepare a List of Questions

Write down any questions that you may have so that you are prepared for the meeting. If a question pops into your head, write it down. This way, you won't leave anything out by mistake.

Be Honest

The lawyer is going to ask you various questions about your marriage, your history together, and so on. Be honest. There is nothing to be ashamed of; divorce lawyers are prepared for every scenario. Not leaving anything out means that your lawyer will be able to handle your case properly.

Coordinate With Your Spouse

If you are going to the meeting together with your spouse, make sure that you are working together. You may not be on the best of terms, but coordinating and working together will ensure that the entire divorce process goes as smoothly as possible without any hiccups. Of course, don't bring your kids to the meeting; it's totally unnecessary. 

Take Notes

Take notes during your meeting. You are going to be covering a lot of topics, and some of them may be new to you. 

Give Yourself Enough Time

Get to the meeting early so that you have enough time. You want to make sure that you can cover all aspects of the divorce process and not leave anything out.

Contact us today for more information. 

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.

Reasons to Choose Annulment Over Divorce

Thursday, September 28, 2017


It happens every day. Couples come to the decision that they no longer want to be together. If they were dating, the split is heart-breaking but simple. However, if they are legally married, splitting up is just ever so much more difficult. When it comes to dissolving a marriage, there are two choices: divorce or annulment.

Contrary to the belief, annulments aren't just for quickie weddings in Las Vegas, they can be employed for a number of reasons. Unlike divorce, an annulment can only happen if there are specific situations about the marriage. In most states, these include reasons of fraud, bigamy, underage or incompetent spouse, or the marriage has not been consummated.

Typically the difference between an annulment and a divorce is that an annulment makes it as if the marriage never happened, but a divorce will always be on record. In days past when divorce had a negative stigma, seeking an annulment was the preferred course of action. However, today most people seek annulments in order to protect their property and possessions. If you can prove that a spouse was already married or lied about who they were, then a marriage can be annulled and even in an equal division of property states, they will have no claim on what is yours.

Annulments may be the preferable option for some, but if you do not fit the strict requirements, then you will have to settle for a regular old divorce. However, that doesn't mean you have to lose everything. With the right divorce lawyer, you can make sure your divorce goes smoothly and in your favor. If you are considering a separation, contact us today.

What About Our Home After a Divorce?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Divorce can be a devastating experience. Not only are you splitting from someone you once loved, but you must divide your assets. One of your biggest assets is likely your home. Deciding who gets the home can be a difficult and contentious decision, which should ideally be made by you and your ex rather than be left up to a judge's decision. When making decisions about your home, you have several options.

One of You Keeps the Home

Sometimes, the best solution is for one of you to keep the home. In some cases, the one keeping the home may buy out the other person, allowing one spouse to have the home while the other has the money.

One of you keeping the home is also often a good solution when you still have children at home. The children can continue to live in the home until they are grown. In some cases, the house may then be sold. In other cases, the person living in the home may continue to live in the home even after the children have moved out.

Sell the Home

For many splitting couples, selling the home and splitting the profits is the best solution. This might be the best solution if both of you want the house or if maintaining the home would cause a financial burden for the person wanting to keep the house. It is also often a good option if neither person wants to keep the home, especially if both people want to make a fresh start, in a new community, far from the memories of that home.  

Each Keep One

If you own more than one home, you may be able to come to a compromise where you each get one home. Of course, this may require some serious compromising on one or both of your parts, especially if one home is worth significantly more than the other.

Unfortunately, your home is just one of the property division issues you will face during your divorce. Contact us to learn how we can help you through the divorce process.

Divorce: Mediation as an alternative to litigation

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Some people who plan to divorce might avoid a long and expensive litigation process by choosing an alternative dispute resolution process called divorce mediation. While some divorce cases are inappropriate for mediation, mancan be successfully resolved with it. Mediating a divorce provides several benefits for those who have good cases for this method.

Determining whether a case is appropriate for mediation

Divorce and child custody mediation have been available as alternatives to court litigation for some time. Not all cases are appropriate for these processes, however. People who have issues with domestic violence in their relationships and those who have spouses with addiction issues may be better off litigating their matters in court. If one spouse is suspected of hiding assets, income or debts, litigation may be a more appropriate choice as well. Most other cases may be successfully resolved with mediation.

Pros and cons of mediating divorces and child custody cases

One reason that people may opt to mediate their divorce cases or to go through child custody mediation is to preserve working relationships with their former spouses. Court litigation is often bitter, leaving people with hard feelings and making it difficult for them to work together after their divorce or child custody case. People who share children will have interconnected lives for years, making it more important for them to be able to co-parent effectively in order to raise their children.

Other benefits of divorce mediation include that it is a cooperative process where the spouses work together in order to reach a full settlement agreement. They will thus have more control over the outcome than they would if they instead leave it up to a judge to decide for them. It is also often much more cost-effective than court litigation, can be a significantly faster process and can provide added privacy.

The cons of choosing the mediation process include that it can't address emergency situations in which temporary orders are needed immediately such as for temporary spousal and child support and child custody. Mediators are also not allowed to give either party legal advice but must instead act as neutral third parties.

What to expect

Couples go to the mediator's office or other agreed-upon location. The mediator will then explain the goals and rules of the process. Each spouse is then able to explain the issues that are in dispute from his or her perspective and without interruption from the other spouse. The mediator may either meet with both spouses together or may have them in separate rooms with the mediator going back and forth between them to work out agreements about the various issues. After having the discussions, the mediator will then attempt to negotiate an agreement. If it is successful, the mediator will then write out the agreement and ask each spouse to sign it with the advice to review it with a lawyer. The attorney may then file the agreement with the court, and it will become the court's order in the divorce. If it is not successful, the parties may then decide to return to court and litigate the issues instead.

Choosing a mediator

Divorce mediators are typically lawyers who have specialized training in mediating family law cases. It is a good idea to choose a mediator or who is local and whose practice is primarily focused on divorce and family law cases. If you would like to learn more about whether mediation is appropriate for you, contact us today.

Who Gets the House? Property Division in California Divorces

Friday, March 11, 2016

California is a community property state, meaning that all property and debts acquired during the marriage must be divided equally among the spouses. However, property division is not always as easy as splitting assets 50/50. A common concern of divorcing couples is the disposition of the family home. After all, the home is often one of the couple's most valuable assets.

There are many arrangements for disposing of the home depending on the family's circumstances. One of the easiest is simply selling the home and splitting the proceeds equally.

However, sale of the home may not be possible due to a slow real estate market or negative equity in the home. Additionally, the issue can be complicated due to the emotional significance of the family home. One spouse may not wish to sell the home and all of the memories it represents. Other spouses may wish to avoid further emotional distress to children by allowing them to remain in the home.

When one spouse is adamant about keeping the home for sentimental reasons and can afford to maintain the home with no financial assistance from the other spouse, one alternative is to allow that spouse to buy out the other's interest in the property. Where both spouses are concerned about the impact of the home's sale on their children, both may agree to maintain joint ownership and to allow the custodial parent exclusive use of it. In slow real estate markets, the couple may agree to maintain the home as a joint investment in hopes that the home's value may increase over time.

However, these arrangements require a level of cooperation between the divorcing spouses that is not always possible.Contact us today if you are divorcing and are concerned about the ultimate disposition of your home and other assets. Whether you need an attorney who can craft a workable compromise with your ex or need one who can litigate your position aggressively in court, we can help.

How to Manage Anger during a Divorce

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Anger can be a powerful emotion, but during a divorce, its effects are very often detrimental to your interests. It is however, one of the most common emotions that people feel, and it is likely that you will struggle with these feelings during your divorce.

Understand that anger is a natural part of the grieving process during a divorce. Try not to stifle it. Failing to deal with your feelings can only increase the risk of depression, and anxiety.

It's normal for you to feel angry at this point in time, so don't fight it. It is important to not let anger consume you, and color your decision-making. Some of the worst decisions made during the divorce are those that are made while angry.

Try to find safe ways of venting your anger. Writing down your thoughts in a journal is good way of doing so. If you can find a close friend in whom you can confide, do so. However, don't take to social media to vent against your soon-to-be ex-spouse. This is one of the worst things that you can do while angry, and could possibly wreck your divorce case.

Get regular physical exercise. Being physically active can help you vent some of your frustrations in a healthy manner. Join an aerobics club, enroll in kickboxing, or martial arts class, and look for activities that help you deal with unexpressed anger.

Don't worry about keeping up a perfect façade. You may want people to believe that the divorce is not affecting you at all, and that you're taking it all in your stride, while seething inside. This is an unhealthy attitude to have. Letting people know that you are feeling the way you do can help you manage anger in a healthy manner.

Locating Hidden Assets in Divorce

Thursday, February 12, 2015

In a community property state like California, marital assets may be up for division. Sometimes, a spouse may try to conceal or hide assets in a divorce in order to avoid putting those assets up for for division.

That means a severe substantial financial setback to the other spouse, who may be unaware of these concealed assets, and her rights to part of the proceeds from those assets. Fortunately, for persons who believe that their spouse has hidden assets, there are legal processes, that can be used to help locate the assets. This set of legal processes is called discovery, and a lawyer can make use of these processes to conceal hidden income and hidden assets.

In order to locate concealed assets belonging to your spouse, create a complete inventory of all your assets. That must include separate property, or the property that was gifted to or inherited by you during the marriage, and community property or the property that belongs to the two of you and was acquired during the marriage.

The process of discovery will involve requests for information which will force your spouse to answer questions in writing, and provide information that you need. You can also get a lawyer to ask your spouse to produce documentation that can help you locate those assets. The documents can include bank statements, financial statements, investment statements and other records. Broadly, discovery allows you to get as much information as possible about these issues from your spouse in a legal manner.

If you believe that there are some assets missing, speak to a Los Angeles family lawyer immediately. It's not possible for you to locate hidden assets on your own.