Family Law Blog

Does Who Takes The Kids During Divorce Affect Custody?

Saturday, November 10, 2018

When a couple decides that their marriage is over, they may still live together due to a financial need. However, more common is that one party will move out of the family home. If, for example, a spouse decides to move out and take the children with them, does this affect later child custody?

In some respects, it can. If the other spouse has been doing well on their own raising the children, this can reflect well on them. However, the person that holds custody during a divorce doesn't always mean they will be granted sole custody. First and foremost, courts are most amicable to joint custody agreements unless there are threats to a child's safety. It is widely believed that a relationship with both parents is in the best interests of the child.

However, if you are seeking sole custody and your spouse has taken the children with them when they moved out, you can still have a case for it. When considering sole custody or primary custody of the children, the courts will want to place children in a home that has the most stable environment for them to thrive. However, this does not just mean financially, but emotionally as well. Will you be there when they get home from school? Do you have time to spend with them? Will they be happy and well-cared for? These are all questions a judge will consider when awarding custody.

If your spouse will need to work long hours to support the children while you have a stable job that allows you to be with the children more, your case for primary custody may be a strong one. If you are getting a divorce and seek primary custody of your children, contact us today. We can help look over your impending divorce and child custody case to advise you on the best possible route.

What Does Transmutation Mean In Property Division

Thursday, October 25, 2018

people signing documents at a desk

Property division is perhaps one of the most time-consuming aspects of the divorce. You never know how much stuff you have until an event like divorce has you needing to split it up. As a community property state, those divorcing in California need to split all property evenly, and one of the primary ways of doing so is through transmutation.

The term transmutation is brought up when a couple is negotiating the fair and equal division of their shared assets. It refers to situations in which one party gets an item of significant net value in which they need to agree to give up several smaller items to match the value and keep the division equal. An example is if one spouse gets the house, they may have to give a car, some antiques, and several pieces of furniture in return to make up the value. Transmutation also refers to instances in which they take separate property and include it into the marital property. Why would anyone do this? It is the same as the instance above, the spouse would rather trade their separate property in return to retain a certain high-value item from the marital pool.

Essentially, transmutation is just a large trading game to get what you want. However, all divorce property division needs to have a certain amount of equality. This means you can't negotiate for a spouse to trade everything they have so they can keep one thing if all the items they traded exceeded the value of that one thing they really want.

If you are going through a divorce, then you want a good lawyer by your side. For help getting your fair share out of a divorce, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help make sure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible.

Using Temporary Orders For Child Custody

Friday, October 19, 2018

happy children laying on bed playing on tablet

It isn't always the case, but divorce can take quite a long time to come to a conclusion. Even amicable divorces aren't exactly very speedy. Furthermore, the more assets and situations you need to sort out, the longer it will take. If you can't come to an agreement in mediation, waiting for court dates will take even longer.

All that being said, you still have a life to live. During a divorce, it is important to start transitioning to single life and shared custody of your children. You need to work out items such as visitation, custody arrangements, and even child support to keep your child well taken care of. However, a judge won't make a final order on these issues until the conclusion of the divorce – meaning until all the other stuff is settled too.

Thankfully, you can get temporary orders for child support and spousal support issues. These temporary orders are legally-binding agreements. Essentially, you can work out visitation, child custody, and even child support payments to be made on a temporary basis until the final order is put forth. A decent benefit of doing this is that it allows for a certain amount of trial and error before the final order is put in place. This means if a child custody situation isn't working out, it can still be changed before the final order is put in place, meaning you don't need to return to court and spend the money to do so.

If you are looking at what will be a long and ongoing divorce, it is best to take advantage of temporary orders. If you are starting a divorce, contact us. With children, you want to make them a first priority so you can get their lives on track while you figure out all the finer details.

Divorce and Self-Employment

Friday, October 12, 2018

Divorce is full of problems. That is just part of the process when you are ending a long-term committed relationship where two parties have become so involved in each other's lives. However, divorce when one spouse is self-employed it is likely to add more problems to the pile. While self-employment doesn't affect the divorce itself, it does affect the financial aspects of divorce.

Self-Employment and Hiding Assets

When one spouse is self-employed, a major worry is that they can somehow hide assets from the other spouse. This actually should be a worry as income from self-employment can be surprisingly well hidden, but often not hidden enough.

When one spouse is self-employed, if you have an amicable relationship, then hiding assets may not be a worry. However, if there is a lot of tension in your divorce, as there often is, it may be in your best interest to seek out the help of a forensic accountant. Often self-employed individuals are no stranger to shuffling money around to support their business, making the act of hiding assets not immediately apparent to the untrained eye. However, the help of a forensic accountant can help you make sure they are being honest.

Self-Employment and Spousal Support

One of the primary issues of self-employed spouses is not so much hiding assets, but rather gathering a concrete amount of income for spousal support. Often in self-employed professions, their amount of income can fluctuate rapidly. Furthermore, what is to stop them from taking less work during a divorce so it makes their income look smaller?

In this circumstance, often courts will not look at recent income, but rather average income. It functions much in the same way of a spouse who quits their job to take a lesser paying job to slip spousal support. The courts will examine past income and their ability to earn in order to work out spousal support payments. However, if they have always been a secondary earner to your primary earnings, you may very well have to pay spousal support to them.

Divorce is never a simple situation, and self-employed spouses make things even trickier. If you are divorcing and need help, contact us today.


Reasons You Might Want to Date Before Your Divorce is Final

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Going through a divorce can be devastating. You may feel like you are losing everything, including yourself. It can be a lonely and upsetting time. Because of this, many people start to date even if their divorce is not final. It doesn't help that many well-meaning friends and family may recommend getting right back out there, even if you don't feel like it.

So, should you date before your divorce is final? Here are some reasons why you might want to.

There are no legal reasons why you can't date during the divorce process.

 Legally, you are allowed to date and move on while you are still going through the divorce so if you are ready, there is no reason why you shouldn't put yourself back out there.

You are obviously going through a divorce for a reason so it can be really nice to feel special. 

Dating someone new is always special and exciting. They will work hard to impress you. You will probably dress up and try to look your best. This can really help you feel better, knowing someone thinks you are great.

It can also help your self-esteem. 

Getting dressed up and going out can make a person feel a lot better. Too many people get depressed after a divorce where they just spend all of their time at home, alone, and in their pajamas. By getting cleaned up and polished, you will feel so much better.

While some people think that you need to get right back out there during a divorce, others believe that you need to wait. As long as you feel ready (and have put your marriage behind you), there is no legal reason why you shouldn't. It might actually help you feel a lot better because who doesn't feel better when they are dressed up and spending time with an attentive person?

Contact us for all of your legal needs.


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.