Family Law Blog

Prenuptial Agreements Can Be Hard To Talk About, But Necessary

Friday, June 28, 2019

In today's day and age, most people have heard of a prenuptial agreement. Essentially it's a contract that two people enter into before they get married that outlines how their financial assets will be divided in the event of a divorce (or in the event of a death, since some agreements cover this as well according to How Stuff Works).

Talking about these things is not exactly the height of romance. But couples who make responsible decisions now, are the ones who reap the benefits of those decisions later.

If You Don't Decide, Then Someone Else Will

Facing adversity together, and seeing each other through tough decisions, can make you stronger as a couple. More importantly, though, if you don't make decisions about these matters then someone else is going to. In this way, it's a lot like what happens if you or your spouse end up on life support... you hope it doesn't happen, but that doesn't mean you don't want all the paperwork signed and dated beforehand in case it does come to that.

Because if things go well, you'll never have to worry about getting divorced. But if it turns out to be necessary, and you don't have a prenuptial agreement, now it falls onto the decision makers in your local jurisdictions. This can drag the process out much longer, and it often means that you now have to do things in ways that neither of you agrees with. You may not even have the ability to make certain decisions, depending on where you were married.

Prenuptial agreements solve so many issues, and take the stress out of already stressful situations. Not only that, but if you're not secure enough as a couple to go through that process, then you probably need it the most.

For more information on prenuptial agreements, and what they can do for your relationship, simply contact us today!


Are At-Home DNA Test Admissible in Court?

Saturday, June 08, 2019

dna test

Whether you want to determine paternity or use your own DNA to prove something else, you may think to turn to a number of DNA testing kits that are sold to use as evidence in your family law case. These kits allow you to test DNA in the comfort of your own home, but unfortunately, the results of these kits won't hold up in court.

Even in family law court, which is not considered as serious as criminal court, a test needs to be legally admissible. Home DNA tests are not considered admissible in court. The primary concern is the test itself could have been tainted. Outside factors could have affected the test results because they were not handled in the correct manner.

Of course, the court may also suspect that you tampered with the test results. What it to stop you from using another's DNA and claiming it for your own? In official DNA tests, the chain of custody must remain unbroken to ensure the validity and authenticity of the test. With at-home DNA kits, there is no chain of custody, so literally anything could have happened.

If your family law case does hinge on DNA test results, you can take the at home tests to confirm the DNA. However, you cannot use those tests in court. Instead, you will need to recommend a DNA test to the court to confirm the results in an official capacity. So this doesn't mean your DNA results are a bust, you just need to go through the correct channels to make those results official.

If you are considering any family law case, be it custody, divorce, or child support, we can help you. Contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can offer in order to get the best results from your case.


How Custody is Determined When Parents Live in Different Countries

Friday, May 17, 2019

When two parents divorce, they often want to live out their own dreams. For some, that could be moving to another country. However, just because they live elsewhere does not mean they also want to completely abandon their parental rights. The question remains, how does child custody work across borders?

As you can imagine, divorce where one parent is a foreign national or intending to move across borders is one of the messiest cases in family law. It could be that they take your child across the border and you never see them again. However, if the parent were intending to disappear your child, they probably wouldn't bother going to family court.

When hearing child custody cases that intend to take a child over the border for primary custody, the judge will take many things into consideration. Some may even grant custody to a foreign parent if they believe it is in the best interests of the child. For example, if they are living in a two bedroom apartment in the United States, but they would live in a grand mansion in Canada, that would be in the better interests of the child. Furthermore, the judge will also take into consideration the presence of extended family. They believe it is important to have a strong support network and will consider the parent that does have one more strongly.

If you are fighting for custody, it is also important that you bring up any potential issues you think may arise. For example, if the country has bad relations with the United States, the parent could sue for custody there and actually win. This means they could overwrite a U.S. custody ruling. Furthermore, if there is no international treaty, it may be difficult to get a child that goes there back if the parent decides to keep them.

If you are fighting for custody with a foreign parent and need help, contact us today.

Will Lying in a Custody Case Cause Perjury Charges?

Thursday, May 09, 2019

judge using mallet in courtroom

Lying in court is a dangerous game. Those who even think about it know that they can be charged with contempt or even perjury as a punishment that was made just for those who lie under oath. Unfortunately, criminal court is not the same as family court. If you take the stand in criminal court as a witness, telling blatant lies will have you facing criminal charges of perjury. However, as a civil court, if you lie in front of a judge in a custody case, it is unlikely you will face the same criminal charges.

While the charges of contempt and perjury were put in place to keep people honest, they are only used in criminal trials where another person's freedom depends on witness testimony. While the custody of your children can feel similar, the courts do not consider it the same.

So if your ex-spouse decides to lie in your custody case, what does happen to them? Well, they probably won't be charged with perjury. Instead, it will be up to your lawyer to provide proof of their lies, and this in turn will likely have civil consequences. If they are caught in their lies, it will reflect negatively on them. Depending on the extent of their lies, they may face harsher punishments. For example, if an ex-spouse lied about their income, how much the work, and accused you of abuse, these multiple lies will probably lose them the custody case even if they are fit parents. Lying in court for their gain does not look great to any judge.

Are you starting a custody case and believe that your spouse may lie in front of a judge? Contact us today to see how the Jamra & Jamra Law Firm can help you get the best possible results so you can keep seeing your children.


5 Methods of Collecting Past Due Child Support

Friday, April 26, 2019

Man handing over cash to woman

After a divorce, finances are often tight. Single parents often rely on child support payments to make ends meet. What options do you have if your ex stops paying court-ordered child support?

Under the federal Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, districts attorneys and state's attorneys have the authority to collect arrears child support on custodial parents' behalf.

States have several options to collect child support payments in arrears, including:

Wage Garnishment

Child support arrangements often carry an order for the support payments to be garnished from the obligor's wages.  However, this may not be as effective if the non-custodial parent changes jobs frequently or is unemployed.

Tax Refunds

If a tax refund is owed to the debtor parent, the custodial parent may be able to intercept the tax refund to collect the support payments owed. If the obligor has remarried, only his or her portion of the tax refund can be redirected. The obligor's new spouse is entitled to keep their full tax refund.

Contempt of Court

Non-custodial parents who do not make court-ordered child support payments can face a contempt-of-court charge. Someone found guilty of contempt can be subjected to fines or even jail time.

Revoking a License

If child support is delinquent, another method of enforcement is to have the state revoke the obligor's driver's license. Other professional licenses may also be withheld—for example, licenses for physicians, attorneys, or those working in trades such as plumbing. Business licenses may also be included in some cases. The option to withhold a license may not be available in every state.

Property Liens

When child support is in default, states may place liens on any real estate or automobiles owned by the obligor parent. A lien prevents the asset from being sold until the delinquent payments are made.

If you need help collecting child support in arrears, contact us to set up a consultation.  


Does My Spouse Have to Pay For a Child's College?

Friday, December 21, 2018

When it comes to child support, a non-primary custody parent only has the obligation to pay child support until the child reaches the age of majority, otherwise known as 18 years old. There is an exception that states they will continue to pay until the child graduates high school if that comes later as well. However, most parents care for their child, and at this age, they want them to go to college. Both parents may even want to help pay for it, even if divorced. However, if your spouse doesn't, do they still need to contribute to a college education?

In most cases, if two parents agree to pay for college during a divorce, specific language will be added to the final papers to make it legally binding. As it can be many years before a child reaches college age, this can be an important step. However, there will be certain exceptions made if the paying spouse suddenly has a change in financial circumstances.

If you and your spouse can both agree that you both want to contribute to a child's college education, it should be written down in the divorce agreement. Furthermore, the language should also be flexible to make sure one parent can still contribute even if they make less later. It is important to talk over how to do this with your divorce lawyer so that it is in the child's best interests. College can be particularly expensive, so help from your ex-spouse should be welcomed. However, it is best to also make sure it is legally binding.

If you are going through a divorce and want to make sure a spouse will actually pay when it comes time to send your children to college, contact us today. We can help craft divorce papers to make sure it is included.

Is A Prenuptial Agreement Right For You?

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Is a prenup the right thing for you? 

"Well, um...er..."

We get it.

Talking to your future spouse about creating and signing a prenuptial agreement is not romantic in the least. However, the lack of romance doesn't make the idea any less important when it comes to protecting your legal and financial rights. 

Prenuptial Agreement=Divorce Insurance

Just as you don't want to think about your loving relationship ending in divorce, you don't want to think about your life ending in a terrible accident or illness that leaves your spouse and kids without the resources necessary to carry on. That's why you buy life insurance. In that vein, a prenuptial agreement is protection against something going wrong. Like life insurance, you hope you never need it but can have peace-of-mind knowing it's there. 

What Can a Prenup Do? 

A properly drafted prenuptial agreement can: 

  • Protect your property, including property acquired during the course of your marriage
  • Prevent future court costs
  • Protect you from taking on legal responsibility for a spouse's debt
  • Provide an opportunity to resolve potential issues now before they arise


What a Prenup Can't Do

Not all family law issues can be resolved within the language of a prenuptial agreement. For example, a prenup cannot decide child custody issues or settle disputes about how to raise them. 

If a prenuptial agreement sounds like something you could benefit from, speaking to an experienced family law attorney is the next step in the process. Contact us anytime to schedule a consultation.

When Can a Grandparent Gain Custody of a Child?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

When parents cannot properly raise a child, for whatever reason, grandparents often take over the responsibility. This is often done without a court's intervention but legal custody requires a judge's order. This poses difficulties if one or both parents refuse to relinquish custody. Learn what events can convince the court to give the legal responsibility of a child to a grandparent.

You must have a compelling reason for seeking custody of a child as courts are reluctant to take children away from parents. Judges are most likely to rule in your favor when you can prove a serious issue threatens the physical, mental and/or emotional health of the child. These include cases where a parent abuses drugs or alcohol, is physically abusive or neglectful or has a serious mental illness that impairs her ability to care for the child.

A judge's obligation is to always consider what is in the best interest of the child. So, if you are a grandparent seeking custody of your grandchild, you must prove the child will fare better with you than anyone else. So, you must provide a healthy, safe environment that the child does not have with his parents (or other legal guardians). Show the court you have a stable home and can provide the child with such things as proper nutrition, a bedroom, peaceful environment, toys and an appropriate education.

A judge is more likely to give you custody in cases where you are already a prime caregiver for the child. If you can prove you regularly take care of the child in your home, then the court knows the child is familiar and comfortable with the environment you provide. In general, judges prefer to place children with family members rather than foster or adoptive homes so this is something in your favor.

You can gain custody of your grandchild in certain circumstances. If you believe the child is in danger or his welfare is in jeopardy by remaining with his parents, you can petition the court for custody. Bring evidence such as pictures, letters and digital messages and affidavits from witnesses to prove the child needs relief  from his current environment. Also, show the court proof of your ability to provide a home and the best care for your grandchild.

Contact us for more information regarding legal custody of children.


The Big Step of Emancipation

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Emancipation is when a minor is considered an adult by the court. It releases your parents from all legal authority and control over you. Though many teenagers dream of living on their own, emancipation is not for everyone. It can be hard to grow up and learn to take responsibility for yourself, especially if you have pushed your parents away by going through court.

Before you ask for emancipation, you need to make sure that you can take care of yourself financially. You will need to find a place to live, learn to take care of your own health, and make your own meals. You will need a job to support yourself. You are considered an adult and are legally responsible for any contracts that you sign. You are also financially liable for anything that happens.

Though most teenagers want their freedom, emancipation is rarely the way to go. However, there are some situations where you might have to consider it. If your parents are abusive or negligent, you may be better off. You may object to the way that your parents live and think you would do better on your own. Some teenagers become emancipated in order to get married without their parents’ blessing.

Emancipation is a big step so it is important to make sure that you take time to really think about your actions. Most of the time, your parents will get hurt throughout the process so you might end up losing their support for a long time. You need to make sure that you really think you will be better off without them before you take this step.

Though it is possible to get emancipated without going through the courts, it can be very helpful to consult with a lawyer to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Don’t hesitate to contact us for all of your legal needs.

Obama Administration Family Law Changes Affect Child Support

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Many divorced parents who have child support obligations may have found themselves facing difficulties making their payments. As a result, they may have fallen behind on their support and ended up incarcerated as an outcome. This type of family law situation is not uncommon, and it can often lead to a vicious cycle.

When many parents are in jail, they lack the ability to effectively make their payments, which only leads to their falling further behind. In turn, after their releases, they may return home only to find themselves potentially on their way to being locked up again due to having been unable to make their support payments regularly while incarcerated.

According to recent reports, in order to address this issue, President Obama's administration has made changes to child support rules that may help parents in such a predicament. These rules would supersede state law and require that states examine the true circumstances of each case when it comes to potentially allowing for support modifications. In many cases, incarceration is considered "voluntary unemployment," and this classification makes it nearly impossible for individuals to pursue more manageable support amounts while in jail. 

By having incarceration not deemed voluntary unemployment, individuals may be able to seek a lower support payments. As a result, they may be better able to make their payments while in jail or at least have the opportunity to not fall as far behind.

These child support rule changes could affect many California parents who have found themselves facing such predicaments. Individuals who are interested in how these rules could potentially affect their circumstances or who would like more information on child support modifications in general may wish to consult with experienced Beverly Hills family law attorney