Family Law Blog

Can Martial Misconduct Affect Your Divorce?

Monday, January 06, 2020

There is a certain belief that your conduct in a marriage can affect your divorce. It certainly can, but not often in the way we believe. As a no-fault divorce state, you need not declare any bad actions in terms of your reason for a divorce in most areas. Indeed, it doesn't matter if one spouse was adulterous or if you just stopped clicking, the state doesn't care. However, this situation is often confused with marital misconduct.

Financial Outcome

It is true you don't need a reason to get divorce in most states, but if there has been marital misconduct in a marriage, it can affect the financial outcome. When two people divorce, the courts like to keep asset and property division fairly equal between them. If the two parties can reach an agreement outside of court, some asset division can be unequal between the two, but still approved if not completely outrageous.

Assets

However, if there was misconduct in a marriage, it can affect how the assets are divided. It is important to remember that marital misconduct in regards to unequal asset division is not meant to be a punishment, but rather to reduce what has been an added burden on the spouse that acted in good faith during the marriage.

This means that a common marital misconduct situation - adultery - would not automatically mean that the spouse that didn't cheat would get more. However, if the non-cheating spouse can prove the adulterous spouse showered their extramarital partner with expensive gifts that put a burden on the family financially, it will be likely that the courts will give the spouse acting in good faith a larger share of the assets in the divorce.

Yes, There Is an Effect

So in truth, marital misconduct does affect the divorce. If you can prove that their actions were wasteful with marital assets or placed a stronger burden on you in the marriage, you may be able to get more when the remaining assets are split.

If you have a spouse that has been cheating, gambling, or that have an addiction and you are considering a divorce, contact us today. As veterans of family law, Jamra & Jamra can help you get through this difficult process.

Are Your Spouse’s Debts Split With You?

Monday, January 06, 2020

When divorcing, you may be more concerned with who gets various items or a decent share of the monetary assets. However, you should be just as concerned with the debts because, unfortunately, they can be your debts as well. Many who are divorcing forget that marital debt is split the same as monetary assets.

Marital Property

In most states, anything accrued during a marriage is considered marital property. This includes your debt. So while you may be fine with splitting your finances, you should also be prepared for the reality that you will receive a split of the debt as well after your divorce.

Before Marriage

However, in order for the debt to be split, it has to fit the right criteria. For example, if your spouse went to college before you were married, their student loans would not be considered marital debt. They accrued it before marriage and thus they are solely responsible for it. However, if they solely racked up large credit card debt during the marriage, you would both be responsible for it because it would be considered marital property.

Specific Criteria

There are circumstances in which you will be able to argue that marital debt is not actually marital debt and, thus, should not be split. For example, if you can prove that your partner racked up a large amount of debt frivolously or without your knowledge, the courts may hold them solely responsible. The most obvious example may be a gambling debt. However, so long as you can prove that the debt was created without your knowledge and without your benefit, anything can fit this criteria. Thus, saving you from a large split of the debt.

Conclusion

Are you going through a divorce and need help? Contact us today so the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you navigate this difficult process and get the best possible results.

Changing Your Mind After the Divorce Papers Are Signed

Monday, January 06, 2020

In most cases, once the divorce papers are signed, there is really no going back. It is difficult for couples to reconcile once a party has gone through the trouble of having divorce papers drawn up, but it is not impossible. However, once the process has been started, can you stop it?

Modification

The answer depends on why and when you want to stop it. For example, if you want to stop the divorce filing to change the terms of the divorce papers, you have limited options. If the court has already approved them, you will need to file for a modification or appeal.

Cancellation

If you want to cancel the divorce papers after filing, then you have more options. If your divorce is still in the very early stages, you are within your right to withdraw your divorce petition. If the petition has not been filed by the county clerk yet, you can simply withdraw it and end your divorce before it even starts.

Withdrawal

If you cannot withdraw your petition from the county clerk because it has already been filed, you will need to file papers for voluntary dismissal. This can be done at any point during the divorce process and involves filing forms that ask the court to dismiss the case. If you and your spouse have reconciled, this can be done. However, it does involve a filing fee, but you do not have to give any explanation for why you want your divorce case to be dismissed.

Conclusion

Are you considering a divorce? This is not something should be done frivolously, and there are fees involved to prevent that. However, if you are serious and ready to file, contact us today to see what we can do for you. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra is dedicated to helping you get the best possible outcome from your family law cases.

Does Moving Out Affect Property Division?

Friday, November 22, 2019

Divorce is one of those high tension scenarios that often make it one of the worst times in a person's life. As this is such a stressful time, it is no surprise that one person often decides to move out. However, does this make a difference in the case of property division? Does abandoning your house mean you lose assets?

With Children

In divorce with children, moving out during the process can be harmful to custody. It shows that daily interaction with your children isn't such a high priority for you. However, what about when you don't have children and are just worried about the property division? While moving out doesn't hurt you quite as much in this respect, often you can shoot yourself in the foot by doing it.

Depends On What You Leave Behind

You may be in a hurry to get away from the fights, and this may drive you out with nothing but a suitcase full of clothes. This is the main problem. If you moved out fully prepared with your financial documents, family heirlooms, and anything that is separate, non-marital property, then you would be fine. However, if you leave all that behind, it can become a hostage or a target for your spouse. Thus, they essentially have control over everything in that home as you have abandoned.

While big items like real estate can't be so easily disappeared, small items are less likely to be noticed by the courts. Don't be surprised if things start to disappear.

Contact Your Lawyer

If you believe that your spouse is maliciously hiding or selling off your assets inside a house, you need to contact your lawyer right away. They can help walk you through what you need to do to protect your property.

Conclusion

If you are starting divorce proceedings or have other family law problems, contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can do to help you make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Can a Spouse Trap You in a Marriage by Refusing Divorce?

Friday, November 15, 2019

Ideally, you and your spouse will both just eventually come to the conclusion that you are both unhappy and the marriage needs to end. You both get decide to get a divorce and the property division of it all is difficult, but done quickly and amicably. However, it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes one partner wants out, but the other wants so desperately for them to stay, which can lead to their refusal of divorce.

No, They Cannot "Hold You Hostage"

Fortunately, a spouse can't "hold you hostage" in your own marriage, so to speak. In the best case, their refusal to cooperate works out in your favor since failure to acknowledge divorce papers can be seen as a no contest divorce where you get everything. In the worst case, they do cooperate slightly, but actively work to slow the whole process down. While your spouse can certainly make divorce much more difficult, they cannot flat out refuse to divorce you. Even if they were to disappear suddenly in order to slip divorce proceedings, you could still progress.

A Lawyer Can Help

What often makes the difference in these cases is often the help of a knowledgeable lawyer. For every time that your spouse makes this process difficult, your lawyer will be able to best advise you on what you need to do next in order to take the next step forward. If your spouse is being difficult, it requires a bit more patience, but your lawyer can help you get to the finish line so you can continue to live your life after it is done.

Conclusion

If you are getting divorced, whether or not you have a difficult spouse that isn't cooperating, contact us today. The Law Firm of Jamra & Jamra is dedicated to helping you get the best possible outcome from your divorce or family law case.

Who Gets the Ring If the Engagement Falls Apart?

Friday, October 18, 2019

It is better to break out a rocky relationship before you say the legally binding "I Do", but that doesn't make less messy in some cases. If you broke off an engagement, then it is likely you are going to want to salvage whatever you can from the ending relationship, and often the cause of much debate as to who gets to keep the very expensive engagement ring.

Engagement Rings

These days engagement rings can be worth thousands of dollars, something that you might want back or might want to keep in order to sell or even just wear. However, the good news for the givers is that keeping an engagement ring from a broken engagement can be as difficult as getting that engagement ring back after a marriage ends.

Conditional Gifts

The issue with engagement rings taken back before legally binding marriage is that they are often seen as conditional gifts. A conditional gift is, as it sounds, a gift given on a condition. In this case, the condition is that there will be marriage. If there was no marriage, then as the courts see it, there is no reason for the person wearing the engagement ring to keep it. This conditional gift rule is used to protect things like family heirlooms that the owner may want back for more than just monetary reason, but it can save someone thousands of dollars that they may not want to give someone who is now considered an ex-girlfriend. You would hope that returning the ring would be a natural option, but sometimes it takes a family lawyer explaining a conditional gift to get it back.

Learn More About Who Gets the Ring

If you need help getting assets back after a breakup or a divorce, contact us today. The skilled professionals at Jamra & Jamra can help you understand the legal responsibilities of both parties so you can effectively fight for what is yours.

Can a Child's Testimony Make a Difference in Child Custody?

Friday, October 11, 2019

If it were up to both parents, their child would never enter the courtroom in their life, especially not during the messy divorce proceedings of their parents. However, when it comes to deciding custody, your child's presence may be necessary, especially if they are old enough to make their own opinion to be heard on the matter of their custody.

Requirements to Give Testimony 

In the case of very young children, the judge and the parents will work to decide custody alone. However, in California, if your child is above the age of 14, they can take the stand and let the judge know where they would like to go. Your child will give testimony to the judge on which parent they would like to live with. However, the final decision is still in the hands of the judge. If they believe that another placement would be in the best interests of the child, even if it goes against their choice, they will make it.

Judges Decide

It is important that your child knows that the judge will take their best interests in mind. If your child tries to convince a judge they want to live with one parent because they never punish them and let them eat ice cream for dinner, it is not likely to positively sway a judge's opinion. In fact, it may work against them. However, if they say they want to live with a parent because they feel that they have more time to spend with them, then this is likely to make an impact.

Learn More About a Child's Testimony in a Custody Case

If you are going through a messy child custody case and need a great lawyer to help you, contact us today. Jamra & Jamra can help you navigate this difficult process so you can get the best possible results, not only for you but for your children as well.

Should You Divorce Before or After Filing Bankruptcy?

Friday, October 04, 2019

Finances can put a major strain on your relationship with your spouse. If things get bad enough, it may even lead to your divorce, although there is usually more than just stress about the money involved in this decision. However, often divorce and bankruptcy go hand in hand. Doing both really is like starting a whole new life afterward, but the question remains, what should be done first?

Type of Bankruptcy

In truth, the answer is usually highly dependent on which type of bankruptcy you are going to file. If you choose the standard Chapter 7 bankruptcy, this is typically resolved in a few months. It is best to do this first, discharge your debts as a married couple, then get a divorce. It saves money on lawyer and filing fees. Unfortunately, you will want to talk it over with a bankruptcy lawyer first as your married income could be too high to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In this case, it may be better to get divorced first.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

However, if you choose Chapter 13 bankruptcy, this can last several years as you work on a repayment plan. This would mean you would need to put off divorce for years, and that might not be an option. If you get divorced while filing bankruptcy, then it adds a further layer of complexity. In this case, it would be better to get a divorce first and then file your Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Learn More About Divorcing Before or After Filing Bankruptcy

If you are about to get divorced or file bankruptcy, you are about to enter a complicated time in your life. Unfortunately, you will need the advice of two lawyers. For your divorce, contact us today. Jamra & Jamra are dedicated family law attorneys that can help guide you down the best path to help your divorce and other family law issues go as smoothly as possible.

Can You Increase Spousal Support?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

alimony payment

If there is one thing that is certain in life, it is that circumstances can and will change. This is why spousal support can be so fickle. The circumstances that were your life at divorce can often change over time, but the question is, will they affect spousal support. In truth, you can increase and decrease the amount you get from spousal support payments depending on what is going on in your life. These circumstances include:

Both Parties Agree

The most rare reason is both parties can agree to lower or raise an alimony payment. Even in the most amicable divorces, this is not likely to happen, but a signed document by both parties taken to the court is good enough reason for them.

Cost of Living Adjustment

If there was a clause in your divorce that states alimony will be adjusted for the cost of living, this can cause alimony to go up in order to adjust to the annual cost of living. This often solves any future need to modify spousal support, but it can be a difficult clause for both parties to agree on.

Escalator Clauses

Similar to a cost of living clause in a divorce decree, there can also be an escalator clause. This means that when the spouse paying makes more money, they have to pay more in spousal support. However, this clause can be a gamble as it can work the opposite way as well.

Temporary Loss

If you have become unemployed temporarily, your spousal support can be modified temporarily. The courts could rule that payments stop for a short while or that they just decrease until whatever is affecting the spouse's life changes.

While divorce shouldn't be about who gets the most, you always want your fair share. If you are going through a divorce, contact us today to see how the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help.

A Beverly Hills Divorce Lawyer Discusses Games Divorced Couples Play

Saturday, September 07, 2019

man and woman sitting on couch

After a couple is divorced, each person begins to settle into their new life, single and unattached. Some couples have difficulty with this new way of living, and even though they are legally free and unencumbered, they continue to banter back and forth for a period of time. This is out of fear of that long forgotten way of life of living single again. 

Without a doubt, this change is not comfortable at first, and sometimes it is easier to try and hold onto that more familiar life, of having someone else around. Before your new life can get a firm foundation and, fully begin, divorced couples will play games with each other for a while until each finally accepts the break-up and moves forward. That is when the game playing usually ends.

Here are three games to look out for and to avoid if possible. 

Look at Me Now

 This game is usually played when one becomes thinner, healthier, dresses better, and in general is paying more attention to their physical appearance. That improved image is flaunted as a way of saying "Look at how much better my life is without you! Divorcing you is good for me".

The Better Parent

 Competing for being the better parent or the most liked parent by showering the kids with extravagant presents, or allowing them to break the rules the other parent sets.

Still Want Me? 

 The ex-husband becomes flirtatious with the ex-wife to see if she still wants him and will feign interest in her to see if he is still able to attract other women.

Divorce is filled with so much emotion, and even after the divorce is finalized, emotions can still run high and create problems for both involved. To learn more about divorce, please contact us.