Family Law Blog

Can Spousal Support Be Extended?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

After a marriage is dissolved via divorce, often the separating parties agree on a payment between them at the end of the marriage. In spousal support, one spouse agrees to pay the other spouse a certain sum in order to support them during the transition to single life. In most cases, these payments are designed to support the spouse until they become independent, but what happens if spousal support runs out and you still cannot support yourself, can you get it extended?

Spousal support is divided into three categories - Rehabilitative, Permanent, and Lump-Sum. A lump-sum payment is paid all at once and thus no recurring payments are necessary. Rehabilitative payments are made so the ex-spouse can seek employment or finish college in order to become self-supporting. Finally, permanent spousal support payments are common after long marriages where the ex-spouse did not have the ability to develop skills in order to seek employment.

In both lump-sum and permanent spousal support, an extension won't be needed. However, when a spousal support agreement is agreed upon by the divorcing couple or put in place by the courts, they often come with modification clauses. These clauses can mean no modification - thus no extension - is possible or can only be modified if certain criteria are met. In most cases, modification clauses are used so that one party doesn't get taken advantage of. For example, if an ex-spouse is gainfully employed, the spousal support may be modified so that it can be stopped because they no longer need it. However, this modification can work the other way if one spouse has not found employment and needs an extension.

If you are divorcing and want to make sure spousal support will be in place to take care of you, contact us today. Let us help you get the best possible outcome from your divorce.

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.


Moving Out During Divorce Doesn't Extinguish Homeownership Rights

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Man and woman arguing at home

Often one of the first steps of couples heading towards divorce is one party moving out of the shared home. Even if it is just separation, many find it easier to have a little space to think. So one party of a marriage may move in with relatives or find new housing altogether. However, it is important to remember that moving out of your home does not relinquish your homeownership rights.

Homeownership Rights

One of the most important considerations is that moving out of the home does not negate any lending agreements. If you agree beforehand that your spouse will take over payments, then that is one thing. However, if no agreement is made and you just stop paying because you think you are off the hook, then this can be a detriment to you if your name is on the mortgage. In fact, you will need to continue paying until the home is either sold or refinanced. Often this can help speed up a person's decision to divorce since it feels bad paying for a home you are not actually living in.

Furthermore, even if you move out of the home, if your name is still on the title of the home, you maintain the right to move back in if necessary. Often spouses heading for divorce are in a high emotion situation, so it is better to have space. However, if you cannot find a place to stay, your house is still very much your house until the divorce is finalized.

If you are getting a divorce, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities in the matter. You are still required to pay your mortgage, but you still have the right to live in your home. If you are heading for divorce and need help sorting out other rights and responsibilities as well as representation in the process, contact us today.

5 Tips for Making the Divorce Process Smoother

Friday, August 03, 2018

divorce papers

Going through a divorce is a harrowing process. There will always be tough times to get through. Here are a few tips for making the process easier.

Rediscover Yourself

After living with someone for so long, your identity becomes intertwined with that individual. When you break up with that person, you feel like you are losing your identity. That is why breakups and divorces can be so depressing. After a divorce, start rediscovering the person who you always were before you got married. Discover your passions, take up some new hobbies, and start enjoying yourself while you are alone.

Have a Support System

It is important to have a support system for when going through a breakup. You need all the emotional support you can get. Have a close family member or friend who you can talk to and who will not judge you. If necessary, go to a therapist who is trained in divorces and who can help you feel better.

Don't Get Bitter

It's easy to get extremely bitter after a divorce. Many people feel extreme emotions of hurt, anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge. However, try to avoid getting into bitter arguments with your ex. Keep things civil, don't be vengeful, and avoid escalating things unnecessarily.

Focus On the Kids

Always focus on what is best for the kids instead of how you can get revenge on your ex. Have the kids' best interests in mind. Try to maintain as much of a connection with them as you can.

Get Legal Help

You also need to get a good divorce lawyer who can help you navigate the process. Divorces are extremely complex from a legal point of view, and you need someone who will be able to help you out in your specific situation. Having a good attorney means that the entire process will be so much smoother. Contact us today for help.

Does Remarriage Stop Child Support?

Friday, July 20, 2018

After divorce, time has a way of marching on. Even if you share children together, if you are no longer together, both the custodial and non-custodial parents may start to see other people and even consider getting remarried. However, does remarriage affect child support payments?

In many cases, it doesn't. You aren't paying for the care of your ex-spouse, you are paying for the care of your child. This means that even if a custodial spouse remarries, the non-custodial parent will need to continue the agreed upon child support payments. Often, if the non-custodial parent remarries, they will simply need to talk over their financial contribution to their child with their new spouse. If you are still actively involved in your child's life, you will still want to keep making payments until they reach the age of majority.

There is one occasion in which the non-custodial parent will be freed from child support payment responsibility, and that is if the new partner of your ex-spouse agrees to formally adopt the child. While many step-parents may like to formally adopt them, it does require the non-custodial parent to relinquish their remaining parental rights. Once this has been done, the non-custodial parent may be barred from contact with their child because they have no parental rights, which is why even though this is an option to escape child support, it is not always an option that non-custodial parents want to take.

It can be worked out with your ex-spouse, that if you are on amicable terms, you can still be involved in your child's life, but often they can very legally change their mind on this agreement later. While the animosity of divorce can fade with time, it is typically not a good idea to relinquish your parental rights of a child if you still want to be involved in their life.

For more information on child support, divorce, or other family law topics, contact us today to see what we can do to help you.

How is Child Visitation Time Decided?

Friday, June 29, 2018

If you are splitting with your spouse, you might not care so much about the property and other assets in your marriage so much as you care about if you will ever get to see your children again. However, many going through this process are confused as to how the process of deciding visitation actually works. Who even decides? Is it the courts or is it the parents?

The truth is that when deciding visitation, it is a bit of both. When deciding child custody, the courts will always examine the facts and make a decision on what is best for the child. Ideally, they will want to prefer joint custody, but will decide a primary custody holder. Afterward, they will also recommend a visitation schedule.

Once primary custody rights have been assigned, the actual realistic visitation schedule will be sorted out with the parents. Obviously, if one parent decides to move to a different town, it may not be feasible to have visitations every weekend. That schedule could disrupt the child's school and life schedule. Instead, it may be decided that they visit every other weekend with longer stays over school holidays.

However, if the primary custody holder is not adhering to the recommended visitation schedule, unfortunately for the non-primary custody holding parent, they have little choice but to return to court. Before returning to what could be an expensive court battle, it is important that the non-primary custody parent seek the advice of a lawyer to look over the original court orders. If the courts laid out a visitation schedule and the primary custody holding parent is technically still in compliance, you will not have much of a case.

If you are going through a divorce where child custody is likely to be an issue, then you need to contact us today. What you need more than anything else is skilled legal counsel to make sure that you still get to see your kids again after divorce.


What to Consider Before Moving Out of Your Marital Home

Friday, June 22, 2018

woman moving out of house

If you and your spouse have made the decision that divorce is the right option, there is a lot for both sides to consider. If the decision for divorce was made due to contention in the relationship, you may be eager to move out of the marital home to ease some of that negativity. However, before you do so, there are some considerations that you need to keep in mind. By simply moving out, you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Ownership Rights

When you move out of your marital home, you aren't relinquishing your ownership rights, but it can affect how property is divided later. Furthermore, while not living in the home, you still have to maintain insurance and pay the mortgage. Only when the home is refinanced or sold does this take you off the hook. Your lender doesn't much care if you are living there or not.

Custody

When custody is decided, the courts will want to impact the child's life as little as possible. This can often mean they will want them to stay in the same home that they know. If your spouse is the only one living in that home, it may give them an edge in the custody battle.

Finances

This is probably the most important aspect to consider. You both may want one person to move out of the family home just for a little space to craft your new lives. However, divorces are expensive and you both might not yet have the funds to support splitting into another household. If you are paying rent for an apartment and a mortgage, it will severely drain marital finances, and no one wants that.

If you are starting the divorce process and need help making sure you get what is fairly yours from your dissolving marriage, contact us today.

Modifying Child Custody in Calfornia

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Few issues in divorce become as emotionally-charged as matters concerning a couple's children. While couples can often be more open to compromise on many other considerations, child custody can quickly become quite contentious when the parents have differing opinions. 

California state law makes the health, safety, and welfare of children the primary concern for courts in making decisions relating to child custody. Both parents are assumed to have equal rights to custody. 

Couples may enter into joint custody agreements. Joint legal custody refers to both parents having decision-making powers regarding a child's health, safety, and welfare, while joint physical custody refers to equal time relating to both physical custody and decision-making issues. Joint custody schedules typically involve parents using alternating weeks or series of days every week.

In other cases, parents may agree to make one party the primary custodial parent while the other is the noncustodial parent. A noncustodial parent sees a childless often than a parent with joint custody, usually on an every other weekend schedule with a night or two of dinners that do not include overnight stays. 

Problems can arise in custody agreements as the result of any one of a number of external factors. One parent may need a schedule adjusted because of a new job, or one parent might not be complying with the original custody order. 

In order to modify a child custody order, the parent submitting the petition will need to prove a significant "change in circumstances." Courts may require couples to agree to mediation before a court hearing when one party seeks to modify a child custody order. 

If you need to modify a child custody order or your former partner is seeking an adjustment you do not agree with, you will want to contact Jamra & Jamra as soon as possible. Our experienced family law attorneys can work to help you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.

Ways to Dissolve a Marriage in California

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Getting a divorce can be very emotional and stressful for the parties involved. However, understanding the legal requirements can help you put things into perspective. There are two ways to dissolve a marriage in California and both have very different requirements.

The first way to dissolve a marriage is by filing for Divorce. Each state has its own statutes for divorce.  Some states have fault-based grounds for divorce such as adultery, desertion or cruelty. However, California has is a non-fault based state. This means that you must state that there are irreconcilable differences.  

Another ground for Divorce in California is incurable insanity. You must prove that at the time of filing the petition your spouse has a permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. The court requires testimony from medical doctor or psychiatrist.  

Before the court will enter a judgment for divorce either you or your spouse must have resided in California for 6 months and 3 months in the county where the case is filed. 

The second way to dissolve a marriage is by filing a petition for an annulment. The California statute sets out several conditions that could nullify a marriage. A marriage may be voidable if you can prove incapacity, inability to consent, bigamy, fraud, consent obtained by force, incest, or either party or both were of unsound mind. The court can also award you attorney's fees if it finds that you are the innocent party.  

Divorce and annulment cases can be very complex and difficult to handle on your own. You should enlist the help of a qualified attorney to help you. Jamra & Jamra is a law firm with skilled attorneys who can help you sort out the complexities of your divorce case. If you need help navigating the process for dissolving your marriage contact us today.  

Who Gets the Wedding Rings After Divorce?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wedding rings are a promise of love and commitment. Unfortunately, we don't always keep our promises. However, when our promise of marriage dissolves in the form of divorce, some might ask who gets to keep the wedding rings? Some couples might not think much about who gets the rings. Yet, many have a deep emotional attachment to them, others gave up family heirlooms and want them back, and some just realize that they can get a fair bit of money selling those rings. If you are getting a divorce and are looking to get the wedding ring from your spouse, here is what to consider.

Wedding Rings As Gifts

In most cases, when you divorce you are entitled to keep your own wedding ring. Legally, wedding rings are considered a gift from your spouse which means that once given, they no longer have any entitlement to them.

However, a spouse could try to argue that they were given on the specific condition that you marry them. Fortunately, a counter-argument would be that you did, in fact, marry them, thus that condition was fulfilled. If you were merely engaged and broke it off, then they may be able to get that ring back.

Rings as Marital Property

Often when a couple goes to purchase the rings, they are already sharing many things, including finances. If the rings were purchased with shared funds, such as an amount withdrawn from a shared saving account or on a shared credit card, then that would technically make the rings marital property. This means that a judge would likely rule that the rings need to be sold and the profits split. However, one spouse can technically buy the other spouse's share out if they want to physically keep the rings.

Need Help?

Often the case of who gets to keep the wedding rings is one of the simpler issues of a divorce. However, if your spouse is putting up a fight, your divorce is likely going to be messy. If you need help getting your fair share out of a divorce, contact us today.