Family Law Blog

Informing A Child About The Decision To Divorce

Thursday, October 12, 2017

If you have a child, and you and your spouse have decided to get a Divorce, it is likely you are pondering the best way to go about informing your offspring about the changes they are about to endure. Letting a child know that their parents are about to go separate ways can be a bit challenging, and extremely heart-breaking. Here are some points to keep in mind when starting the divorce process.

Be Sure To Let Your Child Know The Reasoning

Without getting into specifics, let your child know why you are deciding to get a divorce. Alerting them that you do not get along with your spouse as much as you did in the past or that you both believe you will be happier apart may not make your child feel better, but they will realize the truth in these words may lead to you having less stress and an overall positive outlook in the future. Let your child know they are in no way responsible for the divorce. Hearing this from their parents is important.

Work Out A Plan For Visitation If Possible

Do your best to work with your soon to be ex-spouse regarding the time each of you spend with your child. A sit-down discussion one-on-one about their well-being can be enough to get both parties to realize that your child should not be used as a pawn or for negotiating purposes. Their lifestyle and what is to happen soon should be foremost on your mind, as well as your spouse's. Keep their interests in mind with any decision you make throughout the divorce process.

Keep Things As Close To Normal As Possible

It is a good idea to stick with the same routines as much as you can. Incorporate visitation time with the other party into the schedule, making sure your child is well aware of the dates and times they will be seeing your spouse. Do not speak poorly about your spouse to your child, no matter how angry you are. This will help to keep your child from feeling as if they have to pick sides, leading to possible depression as a result.

The divorce process is extremely difficult. Pick up the phone and contact us to find out more about child custody, visitation rights, in addition to property and asset distribution today.


Social Security and Divorce: What Happens To The Benefits When You Split?

Friday, October 06, 2017

Social security is meant to help support you when you reach retirement age, and if you get married then you and your spouse's social security benefits are entwined. But what happens if you get divorced? Well, it really depends on how long you were married as the Social Security Agency points out.

10 Years is The Sweet Spot

If you were married for ten years, or longer, then it is possible to receive benefits based on your spouse's income. As long as you:

- Are 62 years of age (or older)

- Have not remarried

- Your ex-spouse is entitled to receive either retirement or disability benefits, and those benefits are greater than what you would receive for your own retirement or disability

If you meet the above qualifications, then you could be entitled to one-half of your ex-partner's social security benefits. Additionally, if you have remarried but you divorce, your marriage is annulled, or your partner dies before you reach the ten-year mark, then you could become eligible for benefits under your former partner's social security once again.

It's also important to remember that your ex-partner doesn't necessarily need to be receiving social security in order for you to claim your portion of it. If your ex-partner qualifies for social security (whether or not they're currently receiving any benefits), and you have been divorced for at least two years, then you can start receiving your benefits as soon as you qualify for them.

Divorce complicated social security, but the system can be navigated with relative ease if you pick up the phone, and contact the agency in question. They're typically more than happy to answer your questions, and walk you through the process until you're comfortable with how it works.

For more information on divorce, division of property, and how you can move on with your life after your split, simply contact us today!

Reasons to Choose Annulment Over Divorce

Thursday, September 28, 2017


It happens every day. Couples come to the decision that they no longer want to be together. If they were dating, the split is heart-breaking but simple. However, if they are legally married, splitting up is just ever so much more difficult. When it comes to dissolving a marriage, there are two choices: divorce or annulment.

Contrary to the belief, annulments aren't just for quickie weddings in Las Vegas, they can be employed for a number of reasons. Unlike divorce, an annulment can only happen if there are specific situations about the marriage. In most states, these include reasons of fraud, bigamy, underage or incompetent spouse, or the marriage has not been consummated.

Typically the difference between an annulment and a divorce is that an annulment makes it as if the marriage never happened, but a divorce will always be on record. In days past when divorce had a negative stigma, seeking an annulment was the preferred course of action. However, today most people seek annulments in order to protect their property and possessions. If you can prove that a spouse was already married or lied about who they were, then a marriage can be annulled and even in an equal division of property states, they will have no claim on what is yours.

Annulments may be the preferable option for some, but if you do not fit the strict requirements, then you will have to settle for a regular old divorce. However, that doesn't mean you have to lose everything. With the right divorce lawyer, you can make sure your divorce goes smoothly and in your favor. If you are considering a separation, contact us today.

Three Ways To Know that Divorce is Right for You

Friday, September 08, 2017

Getting divorced is a difficult decision. Though it can be a long hard road, especially if you have children, it may be the best thing for your family. Before, during, and afterward, many people struggle with their decision, even if it was the right one to make.

Here are some ways to know that divorce is right for you (and your family).

There are no more feelings between you and your spouse. Many times couples still love each other but they see no way to make their marriage work. Throughout these divorces, there are too many hurt feelings. One or both of you may think that you can work it out eventually. However, if neither of you love each other anymore, a divorce could be a good thing.

You need to know if you are truly serious about divorce or you are just threatening with it, in order to change something. Many people threaten their spouses with divorce to make them change their mind about something. They may want to gain some control in the relationship or they may really just want to give their spouse a wake-up call.

You need to be ready for your life to change completely. Not only are you going to lose the person who was supposed to be the most important person in your world, your living situation, finances, and your whole life is going to change. If you have children, they may go through phases where they are angry and unhappy and you have to be prepared to deal with that.

Getting divorced may be the best thing that ever happens to you. However, if you are not ready, you will just spend more time grieving the life that you thought you were going to have. You need to make sure that you don’t have any more feelings for your spouse as well as be ready for all of the changes that are coming!

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

Property Division: Who Pays The Bills During A Divorce?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

stressed-couple-sitting-at-counter-paying-billsGetting divorced is the sort of thing that tends to eat up all your time and attention. You worry about your kids, you worry about your finances, you have to keep your court dates straight, file the right paperwork, and talk to your attorney to make sure everything is going smoothly. And that's if you and your partner are going your own ways amicably; if you're not, then you have to attend negotiations with someone who is trying to fight you on every ground involved in this divorce.

A lot of stuff can fall by the wayside while you're understandably involved in this process. Your social life, your hobbies, and even your career can all take serious hits from your divorce. It can affect practical things, too. Things you might not even think about when you first start your proceedings. Things like, whose job is it to keep paying your bills while going through this divorce?

Generally, It's Whoever's Name Is On The Account

When it comes to paying bills during a divorce, the answer is usually pretty simple; which name is on the account? That's who pays the bills, according to Simple Texas Divorce, because they're still that person's bills. If your spouse has a credit card or an on-demand movie account, those are still their bills, to be paid on-time just as if there wasn't a divorce proceeding going on.

That might sound simple, but things can get complicated when both of you are listed on an account, and you are both held liable for the bill. For example, say you're getting divorced, but you both still live together in the same house. If both your names are on the power bill, for example, then you're both on the hook for it. That means it's up to the two of you to figure out some way to cover the expense that is amenable to all parties involved.

However, this requirement needs to be reflected based on your current living arrangement. If you are separated, and each of you has your own places where you live, you should update your billing information to reflect that. Everything from credit cards and banking, to utilities and your Netflix account, should be divvied up, with each of you handling your own part of it whenever possible.

Lastly, though, it's important to remember that you can't just shut off a service during a divorce proceeding. Any account closures will need to be joint, and negotiations will have to involve both parties. Otherwise, that could cause further complications to the divorce. After all, it isn't just about what paperwork you submit, or what you say in court; it's about how you are living your lives, and what actions you're taking throughout the divorce process. Every action is throwing a stone into a pond, and the ripples can have consequences when the court makes a decision.

Can I Take Money Out of My Account?

It can get nerve-wracking, examining every financial decision through the lens of your divorce. However, as Bedrock Divorce points out, all of your shared assets as a couple will need to be assessed and split before you can both go your separate ways. That includes savings accounts, retirement accounts (like a 401k), and pretty much any other resources. Which is why it's important not to touch those accounts, or to do something like taking out a loan against your 401k, without communicating about it, and making sure it's something you both agree on. Sometimes you'll need to dip into these accounts to pay your bills while the divorce is going on, but any one-sided activity could hurt you when it comes time to divide the marital assets.

For more advice on what you can do to make your divorce go smoother in Texas, simply contact us today!

What About Our Home After a Divorce?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Divorce can be a devastating experience. Not only are you splitting from someone you once loved, but you must divide your assets. One of your biggest assets is likely your home. Deciding who gets the home can be a difficult and contentious decision, which should ideally be made by you and your ex rather than be left up to a judge's decision. When making decisions about your home, you have several options.

One of You Keeps the Home

Sometimes, the best solution is for one of you to keep the home. In some cases, the one keeping the home may buy out the other person, allowing one spouse to have the home while the other has the money.

One of you keeping the home is also often a good solution when you still have children at home. The children can continue to live in the home until they are grown. In some cases, the house may then be sold. In other cases, the person living in the home may continue to live in the home even after the children have moved out.

Sell the Home

For many splitting couples, selling the home and splitting the profits is the best solution. This might be the best solution if both of you want the house or if maintaining the home would cause a financial burden for the person wanting to keep the house. It is also often a good option if neither person wants to keep the home, especially if both people want to make a fresh start, in a new community, far from the memories of that home.  

Each Keep One

If you own more than one home, you may be able to come to a compromise where you each get one home. Of course, this may require some serious compromising on one or both of your parts, especially if one home is worth significantly more than the other.

Unfortunately, your home is just one of the property division issues you will face during your divorce. Contact us to learn how we can help you through the divorce process.

Will Your Spouse's Unemployment Affect Your Divorce?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

If there is one thing that can quickly ruin a marriage, it is financial issues. If one spouse is unemployed and not able to find work, it can put a lot of stress on your relationship. Combined with other marital problems, this stress might be just enough to make it break. However, if your spouse is unemployed, will it have any effect on your divorce?

The answer is yes. If your spouse isn't working and you have been supporting them, you may find that after your divorce, you will be responsible for paying them maintenance in the form of spousal support. Typically this makes divorces even more contentious because, well, who wants to pay someone they aren't even with anymore?

Luckily, the amount of spousal support is determined by the court. They take into consideration whether or not the unemployment is voluntary, who primarily handled any childcare activities, and if the unemployed spouse is disabled or able to get gainful employment.

With all those things considered, spousal support may be permanent, limited, of a rehabilitative nature, or even meant to repay the spouse for their past financial contributions. So depending on the nature of your spouse's unemployment, it is likely you will have to pay them some spousal support, but it may not be forever. The duration is usually lengthened if they are disabled or if they were the full-time care taker for young children or those with special needs. As those children grow and develop, the court may also expect them to seek employment.

If you are preparing to file for divorce for financial or other reasons and are concerned about paying spousal support, contact us today. The Law Firm of Jamra & Jamra can help you go over your case to see how likely spousal support might be.

Remembering the More Obscure Marriage Assets

Thursday, July 20, 2017

There isn't a couple in the world that plans for divorce, but it happens. If you are about to start your filing, then it is also time to start locating your assets. However, you first need to recognize that there are some assets that you might not be thinking about at first. Everyone remembers those typical assets like cars, bank accounts, and property, but some other assets like retirement accounts or investments, we tend to forget about.

Here are a few more unusual assets that you need to remember to look for in the event of a divorce:

  • Capital Loss - These carryovers can save a lot of money on your taxes, so be sure to check last year's tax returns to see what deduction you can take. If you find that you have a capital loss, then this is definitely something that should be brought up.
  • Land Purchases - If you or your spouse purchased land, cemetery plots, or any other shared interests together, it is time to identify them and assess their value. This is particularly important in cemetery plots since these can be particularly expensive. It is best to sort out the value of your share of the plot, or the plot altogether if you don't want to keep it. Land can be a little easier to sort out since the couple can often just sell it and split the profits.
  • Memberships - Did you and your spouse purchase a membership to a golf course, country club, or own a timeshare? These are something that people often forget about if they aren't using often, but they can be costly shared assets as well as become problematic if you ever want to use them again. Don't forget to bring them up in divorce proceedings as well as address who gets to keep the membership in question.

This is just a sample of some of the more forgotten assets that need to be addressed in divorce. If you are beginning your divorce proceedings, contact us today. Here at the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra, we know how important legal representation is in the event of a divorce. Don't get caught without representation if you want to make sure your divorce goes fairly and as smoothly as possible.



How Does Mental Illness Effect Child Custody

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Mental illness can be a tricky issue, more so when it is brought into a custody case. Raising a child can be a challenging endeavor, and this can be problematic for people who suffer from mental illness. However, there are parents that have mental illness who are great parents, and also those who are not. This means when it comes down to mental health issues, it is left to a judge to carefully consider and decide on custody.

Rest assured that the judge will always make decisions in custody cases that are in the best interests of the child. However, if you suffer from mental illness and are worried about losing complete custody of their child, there are things that can affect the judge's decision for better or worse.

When a judge is considering your case, here is what you should keep in mind:

  • Is the mentally ill parent compliant with treatment?
  • What specific mental health issue the parent suffers from
  • Is the home environment stable?
  • Does the mental health issue affect the parent's ability to meet the emotional and physical needs of a child?

Naturally, if a parent suffers from depression, they are not considered as potentially destructive to a child as a manic schizophrenic. However, any mental health issue, if treated and the patient willingly undergoes treatment, can still allow them to keep custody. The willingness to undergo treatment and provide a stable home environment for a child both go a long way to keeping custody of them.

If you are divorcing and worried about your mental health issue affecting your custody case of your child, contact us today. The Law Firm of Jamra & Jamra believes that if you are seeking treatment and a good parent, any mental health issue shouldn't keep you from spending time with your child.

Marriage Versus Domestic Partnership - The Legal Advantages of Both

Thursday, June 29, 2017

It wasn't so long ago that people only knew about domestic partnerships as a way to give same-sex couples basic legal and economic protection. However, now that marriage is legal for everyone, that doesn't mean the domestic partnership has gone away. In some states, the title is open to any couples that cohabitate together while other states stimulate that the couple must be above the age of 62.

So if marriage is legal, why just remain in a domestic partnership? Well, not everyone believes in marriage and often it is a lot more work, from both a legal and emotional standpoint. There are many employers that still extend benefits to domestic partners and this partnership gives them other legal rights, like the ability to make medical decisions. Another benefit of domestic partnerships is that they are much easier to dissolve than a marriage.

Unfortunately, marriage has its perks as well. In domestic partnerships, you still have to file taxes separately and you aren't entitled to your partner's Social Security benefits. The most unfortunate part is the transfer of assets and inheritance between partners is that they are still taxable.

Marriage is a longer commitment, but a domestic partnership is still a great way for couples to create bonds, like sharing health insurance. While it lacks many of the benefits of marriage, it is easier to go into and get out of, sort of like a marriage-lite.

If you are considering a domestic partnership or are considering whether marriage is right for you, contact us today. We can help you go through all the benefits and disadvantages of a domestic partnership to make sure it is right for you and your family.