Family Law Blog

Three Tips to Help Your Children Through Divorce

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Divorce can be devastating on anyone. Bring young children into the mix and it becomes even harder. Parents often stay together for their children but it is not always the best thing. Even though your children are going to be hurt, divorce may be the right decision and life will get better.

Here are some tips to help your children through divorce.

The best thing that you can do for your children is learn to get along. 

Even though the marriage is ending, your family is not. You are going to have to spend countless holidays, special events, and even smaller events such as sports games together. The sooner that you are able to put your feelings aside and be friendly, the better off everyone will be.

Throughout the whole process, talk to your children about their feelings. 

Acknowledge their feelings and let your children know that what they are feeling is normal. Listen to them (over and over again) as they talk through their feelings.

Make sure that both of you are there for your children in the early stage (and throughout the rest of their lives). 

Your children need to know that they can count on you and their other parent, no matter what they need. There are going to be times when you can help and other times when they will need your ex. Don’t disappear from your children’s lives even for a short period during the divorce. Your children need you every step of the way!

Divorce can be awful for children but, the sooner you can get along for the children, the better off your new family will be. You also need to make sure that you are there for your children every step of the way. Though some parents feel like they should step away while their children adjust, there are going to be times when your children needs one of you more than the other. You can’t take that away from them!

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

Three Tips To Tell Your Children About Your Divorce

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Telling your children that you are getting divorced may be the hardest part of the whole process. No parent wants to turn their children’s lives upside down. However, the sooner that you tell them, the better off they will be.

Here are some tips on how to tell your children that you are getting a divorce.

  • Pick the right time to talk to them. Life is very busy and it can be hard to find time to talk to your children about divorce. However, you shouldn’t bring it up when they are rushing to school or you are trying to put them to bed. Find a time when you have an hour or two to really talk about it before bringing it up.
  • Have a plan. It is important that you have a plan in place before you tell the children. It helps to know who is moving out and where they are going. It is even better if you can have some sort of custody arrangement figured out prior to telling them. This helps you to answer any questions that they may have.
  • Present a united front. Telling the children shouldn’t be one parent’s job. Instead, you should both sit down with the children and discuss the divorce. Try not to use this time to place blame. Instead, discuss the situation and what they can expect. Answer their questions the best that you can.   

It can be really hard to tell your children that their lives are going to change. However, if you already have a plan, it is much easier to tell your children what they can expect going forward. It will be easier to answer their questions and settle their minds if you know what is going to happen.

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

What Happens if Your Spouse Doesn't Show Up For A Divorce Hearing?

Thursday, June 08, 2017

You have filed for a divorce and the day of the hearing has come. You are sitting in court, in front of a judge, and you wait. Your spouse hasn't shown up, and they don't show up. What then? Fear, guilt, apathy, depression, or spite may be keeping them away, but skipping court is never a good idea.

The justice system never likes to have their time wasted, and if your spouse doesn't show up for your divorce hearing, bad things will happen. If they failed to notify the court, the can be charged with contempt, and the judge can even issue a bench warrant for their arrest as well as a fine.

However, there are cases where the spouse agrees to the divorce but doesn't want to make a court appearance. This qualifies as uncontested divorce. In these cases, both parties must agree to the division of property, debts, child custody and spousal support. In doing so, the non-filing spouse won't be required to show up to the court hearing.

However, if both parties cannot agree, they are both required to appear in court. By not doing so, not only can the aforementioned bench warrant and fine be issued, but the courts are more likely to show favor to the party that did show up for their court appearance.

If you are filing for divorce and want to know if you need to show up to the hearing or feel your spouse might not show up, contact us today. As divorce lawyers, Jamra & Jamra are dedicated to providing the best legal representation and getting the outcome you desire.

Retirement Plan Property Division

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Employee retirements plans accumulated during a marriage are typically community property. Since these assets are not accessible under IRS or plan rules until a specific age, family law has developed a method to ensure equitable distribution at a future date. This method is called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) and applies to most employer-sponsored retirement accounts.

Employer-sponsored retirement plans are a relationship between an employer and employee. The spouse might be a beneficiary but is not a payee. The purpose of a QDRO is to recognize the spouse of an employee as an alternate payee. This legal recognition must be established for the employer to pay benefits to someone other than the employee.

QDROs are applicable to accounts covered under ERISA, which is the main federal law governing employer-sponsored retirement account.  This includes pensions and 401K’s. It does not include IRA’s and does not include military and many government employee pension plans. IRAs are readily divided in the same manner as other community property. Government employer plans can also be divided through processes that works largely like a QDRO, but which are technically not QDROs.

Formulas that guide division of the plans are well-recognized. Situation-dependent factor may mean that the divisions are not necessarily 50/50. For example, if a spouse with a pension had years of work service before the marriage, that portion of the pension would probably not be community property.

While the formulas provide guidance, the goal of the court will be to achieve just and equitable division in the complete context of the divorcing couple. Some negation will be possible, if it is in the overall interest of the parties. For more information on division of retirement benefits, please contact us.

How Long Do You Have to Pay Spousal Support?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spousal support, or alimony as it is commonly called, is used to make sure both parties are not driven to poverty after a divorce. If one side of a divorcing party is used to a certain standard of living and does not have a way to support that standard themselves, then the other side of a divorcing party will be expected to pay spousal support for them. However, the bright side is that spousal support is not forever.

Most commonly, spousal support will be deemed as rehabilitative. This means the supporting spouse will only need to pay alimony until the receiving spouse has received education or training into order to become self-supporting.

However, not all spousal support awards will be so reasonable. If your divorce decree does not specify an alimony termination date, then the payments will have to continue until the court orders it. Typically alimony can be ended for a number of other reasons, such as if the paying party suffers a significant loss of income. However, most commonly, alimony will end if the recipient remarries or the paying party dies. However, if the recipient still can't support themselves when the paying party dies, alimony can continue to be paid from their estate or life insurance proceeds.

If you are starting divorce proceedings, then alimony may be one of your big worries, but definitely not the only worry. As there is no such thing as an amicable divorce, you need representation to make sure you get your fair share of a dissolved marriage. For consultation on your case, contact us today.

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.

Divorce: What About The "Fur Babies"?

Thursday, April 06, 2017

We have reached a point in the journey of man where a canine companion is no longer viewed as a tool to be disposed of when it is no longer useful. Dogs have truly become "man's best friend" and couples even talk of their "fur babies" as members of their family. 

We have also reached a point in the journey of mankind where the divorce rate is above 50 percent. This begs the question, what happens to the dogs in the event of divorce? 

What Does The Law Say?

How dogs are treated in a divorce depends on the state the divorce is taking place in. Some states treat dogs as if they are inanimate property, while others have detailed statutes about how to divide up canine custody. For example, Alaska recently passed a law that will treat dogs as children while Texas treats dogs no differently than Grandpa's work bench. 

In California, pets are considered to be personal property, with courts working only to award a pet to one of the spouses in the event of divorce. While some courts will consider the best interest of the pet in making a decision, this is not a given. Where possible, it can be beneficial for the couple to work out a contractual agreement on their own in order to avoid litigation. 

Peace Of Mind For Beverly Hills Pet Owners

If you are considering a divorce and have concerns about what will happen to your dog, speaking to an experienced divorce lawyer can help put your mind at ease. Contact us to schedule a consultation.


Circumstances That Can Cost You Spousal Support

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Divorce is expensive. When a couple legally dissolves their union, each faces a new financial reality. Often, the person with the higher income pays spousal support as determined by a court of law. It is not uncommon for these payments to continue for a long time. If you receive this support, however, you should know the circumstances that can cause you to lose some or all of your alimony.

  • In many jurisdictions, spousal support terminates when the supported party marries a new partner. It is important to note that courts might or might not end support when the payee begins cohabitation with another person without getting married.
  • Courts can modify or terminate alimony when the receiving party begins earning a larger income. It is up to the local court to decide whether an adjustment is warranted. For example, if the former spouse works a temporary job which has a fixed expiration date, the court might decide against modifying the support agreement.
  • An adjustment or end to alimony can occur when the paying party suffers a lost in income. For example, if she loses her job or becomes ill or disabled and cannot work, a judge will most likely reduce or end support payments. Most cases required a substantial loss of income for the court to alter or terminate spousal maintenance.
  • If the divorce degree contains an escalator clause, support is modified upwards any time the payor receives a pay increase. For example, the payee receives a share of a former spouse's cost of living raise.
  • Sometimes a change with spousal support occurs when the payor gains a new support obligation. For example, if the person paying support gives birth to or fathers a child, the court might decide to modify the alimony order citing a hardship. Note, though that the choice of a person to support stepchildren does NOT generally warrant a change in alimony payments.
  • When either party faces a financial emergency, the court can demand an increase or decrease in spousal support. For instance, if the supporting person must pay significant medical bills, the court might lower alimony payments.

Remember that either party in a divorce can request an increase or decrease in spousal maintenance by petitioning the court. Contact us to learn more about  support following a divorce in California.

Myths And Misconceptions Of Spousal Support

Thursday, March 02, 2017

It is amazing how many couples who are seeking to receive guidance through their divorce have false notions when it comes to spousal support. The internet is filled with a significant amount of false information about spousal support. There are some common myths and misconceptions that we want to address.

Myth 1: The Men Pay The Women

It is surprising how many people believe that only ex-husbands have to pay their ex-wives. Spousal support is based on who earned more during the marriage; it is not based on a gender. Men do not always pay spousal support. If the man and the woman make nearly the same amount of money, nobody will have to make payments. Spousal support can also be waived, unlike child support. 

Myth 2: Spousal Support Can Last Forever

The recipients of spousal support usually think they will be entitled to the payments forever. No one can receive spousal support for a lifetime. Indefinite alimony is awarded to someone who was in a long-term marriage if there was a difference in the incomes. Indefinite alimony can be changed by the court and it can also be ended by the court. 

Myth 3: Quitting My Job Will Prevent The Pay Of Support

If someone quits a job to avoid paying spousal support, the court can assume that he or she is very capable of earning income that he or she has earned in previous years. The court will usually impute income in order to make sure no one is treated unfairly and to make sure the other person receives a punishment as a result of not being honest about finances. 

Every case has its own facts so every case will be different. What happens in once case may not happen in your case. This is why it is so important to find the right legal team to help yu with your case. Contact us today if you need a consultation. 

What You Need to Know About Child Custody

Thursday, February 23, 2017

If you're getting divorced, you are wondering what it takes to attain the custody of your children. Fortunately, it is possible to come to an amicable agreement with your ex-spouse concerning whom the children will live with, as well as visitation rights.

Negotiation

Negotiations can involve a professional mediator, or consist of just you and your former partner. This is preferable in many ways to pursuing the court option because time and money are saved, not to mention the psychological health of any children involved. Keep in mind that negotiations don't need to take place in an "official setting." For instance, you can arrange to meet at a local restaurant where you will both be put at ease and will be able to focus on the important and relevant issues.

The Courts

If for some reason negotiations fall through, you could try your luck in court. The judge will look at various factors to determine what is best for the child. What is in the child's best interest includes their psychological and physical health, as well as what seems best for him or her long-term. Usually a court appointed psychiatrist will assess any children involved, and this will heavily influence the court's decision as to which parent will be awarded custody.  

Physical vs. Legal Custody

The two main types of custody that you should be aware of are physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where your child will reside day-to-day. Legal custody concerns the ability to make decisions affecting the child's education, health-related concerns, and other important aspects of life. Despite which parent is awarded physical custody, legal custody is typically shared between both parents. 

Please, contact us immediately.