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Family Law Blog

Tips for Same Sex Marriages Ending in Divorce

Monday, August 10, 2020

Now that it is legal, same-sex couples can get married. While many same-sex couples rushed to get married because they finally could, others didn't feel the need to change the way that they have been living for several years. Many already felt married by that point, so they didn't. They have continued to live the way that they always have.

However, once married, same-sex couples can also get divorced. It can be messy and complicated. Here are some things to consider when getting a divorce.

Time Is Going to Be a Factor

The length of time that a couple is married can really affect a divorce. Unfortunately, many same-sex couples lived together for many years before being allowed to be legally married. Some judges will count the year that you were legally married, though some will count the time that you lived together to determine the rest of the divorce proceedings.

Dividing Property

When dividing up property and assets, the state starts at the property that you owned together since 2013. Even if you lived together for ten years at that point, they will only count the property and assets that you got from that point on.

Hire a Lawyer

Don't forget to hire a lawyer.You should never go through a divorce alone. You need an experienced lawyer on your side to make sure that you are protected and can find a divorce settlement that works for you.

Meditation

Consider using mediation. Since the courts have their own way of dealing with your property and assets, many same-sex couples go through mediation. It allows you to end the marriage on better terms and divide up your assets the way that you want to.

Conclusion

Getting divorced is never easy. If you are in a same-sex marriage, it can be even harder. Legally, you could have acted married for years before you ever did get married. This can really change your divorce proceedings. For this reason, many same-sex couples try to go through mediation and settle everything outside of the court system. If you can work together to come up with a settlement, it is going to be much better for everyone.

Contact us for all of your legal needs. We will be glad to help you get through this difficult time. 

When It’s Time to Modify a Child Support Order

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Going through a divorce after establishing a family is stressful and upsetting. Sometimes the turmoil doesn't end when your divorce finalizes. Perhaps you and your ex-spouse settled on a child support agreement—perhaps the court ruled on an appropriate order. Either way, changes may occur that give cause for a change in your child support order.

Changes That Effect a Child Support Order

Have you or your ex-spouse experienced one of the following changes?

  • The income of one or both parents has changed
  • A parent has a child from another relationship
  • There have been significant changes in time the child spends with each parent
  • A parent becomes incarcerated
  • The child's needs change in cost, including but not limited to health care, child care, or education
  • There have been changes in any of the factors used to calculate child support.

For parents who have already been through the trials of a divorce, going back before a judge to argue with your ex can be dismaying. You've already gone through the proceedings once before. Still, the financial needs of you and your children are very important. As a parent, you want the best for your child, and if some occurrence puts a strain on your wallet, it is in your best interest to obtain a fair resolution. Whether that is with the cooperation of the other parent or without, having the correct child support is essential to the stability of yours and your children's lives.

Proceedings

Child support proceedings can transpire through multiple avenues. You may reach a new settlement with your spouse amiably, or you may have to take them to court. You may also involve your local child support agency (LSCA). The LSCA acts as a middleman between you and the court; the agency determines whether a modification to your child support order is needed based on both parents' financial records. If you and your former spouse are able to reach an agreement without the interference of an outside party, the LSCA may also file what is called a "stipulation" to the court of your agreement.

Learn More About a Child Support Order

No matter the route that is taken to reach new child support arrangements, it is always important to have a family attorney to ensure that all outcomes are in the best interest of you and your child. Please contact us with any questions you may have about your child support.

Can Contentious Couples Be Successful in a Mediation Setting?

Monday, July 06, 2020

Did you know that mediation is possible in divorce to keep even the most contentious couples out of the courtroom for the duration of their legal separation?

Correct mediation procedures allow for practical and flexible resolutions to problems. Otherwise, they are finalized in a courtroom at a higher cost by a judge who doesn't know or understand you and the dynamics of your family.

What Does Mediation Involve?

Mediation is an Alternative Dispute Resolution for divorcing couples who truly want what is best for their children and their futures. We back you up during your meetings with a neutral third-person, or mediator, and your former partner to come up with unique and personal compromises that both you and your former partner can agree on. 

Mediation can cover all aspects of divorce, including:

  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child and spousal support
  • Property and asset division
  • Business evaluation

According to Rule 5.210 in the California Rules of Court 2020, every mediator in California must legally be impartial towards each party and competent of all laws and regulations concerning the divorce process. We will be right there with you to ensure that the process is legal and that you are protected from giving more than you are able. 

Contentious Arguments

When you and your former partner argue, or disagree, about a situation, then the mediator will call for a break to cool down and discuss further options with your lawyers. The discussion can continue after a reevaluation of the situation from both sides or we can make another appointment and come back after a time of contemplation and consideration.

Mediation has worked well with many contentious couples. The process works around your schedule, not ours, and so decisions are not made hastily or out of exasperation. Arguments and even bickering are halted immediately and, with much contemplation, attacked creatively from a different angle. We want the process to be a smooth as possible and we are here to help you do that. 

Contentious couples can be very successful in mediation and sometimes the process can change your relationship with your former spouse into a more positive one, one that supports a positive co-parenting experience for everyone involved. 

What Can Jamra & Jamra Do for You?

Our legal mediation support is crucial and renders court appearances unnecessary. We can work together to create a binding contractual agreement that accomplishes everything a traditional divorce does in a quicker, more personal, and much more private way. 

California Super Lawyers at Jamra & Jamra L.L.P. Family Law Attorneys in Beverly Hills use creative and personalized strategies that focus solely on you and your protection during divorce proceedings, no matter what direction you decide to take. Family law can go one of two ways. We're prepared for both. 

Contact us for a free consultation and brainstorming session to discuss what could be our cost-effective and diligent plan of defense. We understand your needs and are prepared to stand by your side.

How Does the Length of a Marriage Affect Spousal Support?

Monday, June 29, 2020

There are many aspects of marriage to consider when calculating spousal support when filing for a divorce. However, one of the more crucial aspects is the length of the marriage. The length of your marriage not only factors into how much you get, but how long you will get it for, and even if you will receive spousal support at all.

Shorter Marriage

Typically, those who have been married for a long time, usually more than ten years, will receive a lengthy spousal support period. However, the length will also be extended if the spouse asking for support does not work or makes a small amount of income.

For example, if a grocery store worker divorced a millionaire after a year of marriage, they will likely get no spousal support from the marriage. They weren't married very long and were able to support themselves just a year ago. Now, they can do it again. Even if they quit their job during the marriage, it is one they could get again without much difficulty.

Longer Marriage

Now, take a dissolving 30-year marriage where one party is a sole earner and the other has been a house-maker for the past 20 years. It is likely that the non-working party will get a long-term or lifetime of spousal support. This is because they have been out of the workforce for so long that it would be difficult for them to become gainfully employed.

Learn More About Spousal Support

It is likely that your marriage falls in between these two extremes. Typically, what the standard couple will be looking at is a limited spousal support award based on the length of your marriage. This will allow the lesser earning party an adjustment period after the divorce, but the payments will end eventually.

Are you going through a tough divorce and need help? Contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get through this difficult experience.

How to Keep the Cost of Divorce Low

Monday, June 22, 2020

It is not a highly advertised fact, but getting a divorce can be expensive. For some, they have the funds to draw things out and make sure they get their fair share. However, that is not the case for most of us. If both you and your ex-spouse aren't exactly flush with cash or assets, there are a few things to keep in mind if you are looking to keep the cost of divorce as low as possible.

Divorce Amicably

If you and your ex-spouse are willing to work out property division and child custody amicably in mediation, it will save you quite a bit. Not only is it cheaper to not have to get the court involved, but it is also much faster.

Share Documentation

Bank statements, retirement account, or anything else you have that is a financial document – share it. Nothing will slow down a divorce faster than dragging your feet presenting documents or even trying to hide assets. The longer you take, the longer you need to pay your lawyer. If it becomes apparent that someone is being unnecessarily malicious, they may even face punitive measures.

Don't Fight For Items Not Worth It

If you and your ex-spouse are having a disagreement over who gets the multi-million dollar mansion, then certainly fighting for it is worth it. However, fighting over who gets a set of DVDs or a potted plant isn't worth what you are paying your lawyer for. There are battles worth fighting and there are battles that aren't worth it. You should know firmly what you aren't willing to give up and assess if it is really important to fight for it or if it can be replaced over time.

Conclusion

Are you going through a divorce? We can help. Contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can do to help you keep your divorce fair, quick, and as affordable as possible.

Can You Relocate Your Children Following Divorce?

Friday, June 12, 2020

Divorce is never easy as there is rarely a clean break. Often, the most precious assets are children over which there are custody decisions. Usually, a custodial parent is named and is the one who will have the most time with the children. The other parent is generally given visitation rights on a set schedule. Sometimes, "joint custody" is agreed upon or mandated by the court in which both parents have equal custody. However, one is named the "residential parent" whose address is utilized for the purposes of postal mail and school.

Notice of Intent to Relocate

Many courts deem "joint custody" as the ideal situation ("in best interest of children"), but sole custody is ordered when declared appropriate. For example, in cases of domestic violence or other threats to a child's safety. When there is shared custody, one parent is required by law to provide notice of intent to change residence by certified mail at least 60 days prior to moving. This is the case with any relocation, even if it is within the same neighborhood.

This notice is required to include:

  • The new mailing address if known. If unknown, the city for relocation must be named
  • A current contact phone number for the relocating parent
  • Proposed date of relocation
  • Short statement describing reasons for intended move of the relocating parent and children
  • Proposed plan for adjusting custody conditions (including visitation) as necessary

Consequences for Failure to Provide Notice

A parent who relocates his/her children without providing the required written notice risks much with the court in which custody was initially decided. The court will take into account this breach and will use it as a factor when deciding how, when, and if custody and visitation will be modified. It is possible the judge will order the children returned from the relocation and the offending parent might be ordered to pay expenses of the non-relocating parent.

Objection Filing By Non-Relocating Parent

Once a parent is noticed of his/her ex-spouse's plan to relocate, he/she has 30 days in which to file an objection with the court which initially handled the child's custody issue. Should the parent fail to file, the court will most likely allow the other parent to move. If the petition is filed, most often the court will hold a hearing to determine if the relocation is in best interest of the involved minors.

Factors the Court Might Consider

  • How drastically the current custody agreement will need to change to accommodate the distance of the move. For example, if the non-relocating parent currently has his/her children every weekend, a far away move would likely make visits much rarer.
  • Both parents income might be taken into account by the court as funds are needed to permit frequent visitation to other parent's residence.
  • Does the move provide a more stable and safe environment for the minors. For instance, is the new home in better condition than the old one, are there good local schools, is the new location in a lower area of crime, is there less air pollution in the area of relocation?
  • Record of prior visitation; for example, does the parent filing the objection have a history of frequent visitation or is it sporadic or rare?

Learn More About Relocating Your Children Following Divorce

A qualified and experienced attorney in child custody is advisable for those who wish to relocate a child following divorce. Jamra & Jamra is a firm dedicated to help those with divorce issues including child custody and visitation concerns. Please contact us so we can help you with your situation.

How a Parent's Home Could Impact Child Custody

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Judges may take each parent's home and overall living conditions into account when determining custody in California. Although considerations can vary from court to court, a judge may consider the total number of children, their ages, and their genders when evaluating the parents' homes.

The Total Number of Children Involved

Judges will decide whether or not the number of children may impact their living conditions. If multiple children are involved, parents may need to make sure they have sufficient space to accommodate them.

For example, a parent with four children will need to ensure that the home has enough bedroom space for each child to spend the night comfortably, or else the judge may rule unfavorably.

The judge will also consider whether the children are from multiple relationships and the primary parent with whom they live.

Ages and Genders

Generally, older children will need more space than younger children. Thus, courts could consider this whether the older child shares a bedroom with a younger sibling when determining custody.

Regarding gender, the court may require parents to maintain children's privacy if the children are of the opposite sex. This could include providing each child with his or her own bathroom or bedroom.

The Children's Safety

The overall safety of the children is also a huge consideration, including the safety of both the parent's home and the surrounding area. If the judge perceives any risk of injury at home or in the neighborhood, this could result in certain visitation restrictions. Parents should gain a good understanding of their neighborhoods, including the specific kinds of crimes that take place, the presence of sex offenders in the area, and the frequency of crimes.

Ability to Adjust 

Another factor that could impact visitation and custody could include the child's ability to adjust psychologically to a new living environment. For instance, a child may find it difficult to adjust to smaller accommodations when used to living in a more spacious home.

Conclusion

Contact us today to learn more about child custody and visitation and find out how the attorneys at Jamra & Jamra can help you.

Determining Parentage During a Same-Sex Divorce

Friday, April 10, 2020

Establishing parentage is important to make sure that same-sex parents maintain parental rights and are allowed to participate in parental responsibility allocation during the divorce process. However, there are still legal uncertainties in many locations throughout the U.S. when it comes to establishing parentage for same-sex couples. In California, the same rules applied to traditional paternity suits and divorces also apply to same-sex divorce and parentage.

Keeping the Divorce Out of Court

Same-sex couples going through the divorce process can benefit from staying out of court when resolving child-related issues. Couples can do so by discussing the matters with each other, in therapy, or with the help of a custody mediator who may be mandatory regardless of whether the divorce is in or out of court.

If the divorce goes to court, the rules pertaining to parenting rights for traditional couples will also apply to same-sex parents.

If Both Spouses Are the Legal Parents

Many divorces will involve two spouses who are both the legal parents of the child, which can be the case if both parents jointly adopt a child. The spouse of the child's biological mother is also considered the legal parent if:

  • The child was born prior to the legal marriage between the mother and father
  • Birth occurred 300 days of terminating the marriage
  • Non-biological parent adopted the child through a second-parent or stepparent adoption or developed a parent-child relationship via another parentage action.

If both parties in a male same-sex couple wish to establish dual parentage, either the non-biological parent will need to adopt the child, or if both parties are nonbiological parents, they must jointly adopt the child.

If One Spouse Is a Legal Parent

If only one individual is the child's legal parent, the other parent won't benefit from any parenting rights under any circumstances. Without establishing parentage, it may be difficult to secure visitation rights, although the legal parent will be able to determine if the second parent should be allowed to be involved in the child's life, as long as it is in the child's best interests.

Conclusion

For help with the same-sex divorce process and to learn more about establishing parentage, contact us today to see how Jamra & Jamra can assist you.

When to Consider Getting an Online Divorce

Monday, April 06, 2020

Couples today have the option of filing for divorce online in the absence of an attorney, but this isn't the best decision in many cases

Many couples may hesitate to hire attorneys because of the costs associated with them, but the fact is that working with an attorney can help you reach a better settlement than an online divorce without representation.

When You Can Get a Divorce Online

If you decide to file for divorce online without an attorney, there are some specific conditions that you'll need to meet to avoid any issues during the filing process. If you want to file for a divorce online, you should only do so under the following circumstances:

Both Spouses Agree to Divorce

If both spouses would like to get a divorce, they may not need an attorney. On the other hand, if only one spouse agrees to the divorce, an attorney may be required to serve divorce papers to the unwilling party.

Both Parties Are Involved Throughout the Divorce Process

When filing for divorce online without a lawyer, both spouses also need to participate in the proceedings. Spouses will be required to perform specific tasks and collect all of the necessary documentation to complete the divorce process. If either spouse fails to cooperate, an attorney may be required to help maintain compliance between both parties.

Both Spouses Are of Sound Mind and Judgment

If both parties are capable of making key decisions throughout the divorce process, you may be able to file online without issue. However, an attorney's involvement may be required if either spouse is incapable of making these decisions for any reason such as mental incapacitation or substance abuse.

Agreed to Full Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities

Both parties in the divorce process will need to maintain openness and honesty to avoid the involvement of an attorney, including full disclosure of all liabilities and assets involved.

Conclusion

If both parties meet these circumstances, it may be possible to get a divorce online. In most cases, it can be beneficial to both spouses to work with an attorney to assist with the divorce process, which can be complicated. Contact us to learn about what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you navigate a divorce to secure the best possible outcome.

Some Child Support Myths Busted

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Child support is frequently misunderstood and, too often, feared. This is understandable since it deals with people's most precious assets - their kids and their money. In reality, the intention of child support is to ensure a child's well-being, in both households.

How well do you understand how child support works? 

MYTH

Given 50/50 custody schedule, there will be no child support payment by either parent.

BUSTED: Child support payments are not based only on the amount of time each parents spends with the child. Additional factors include gross income and certain expenses such as other child support payments or medical bills.

MYTH

The father always pays the child support.

BUSTED: Child support payments may be made by the father or mother and are determined by the amount of time each parent spends with the child, gross income and other eligible expenses.

MYTH

Once a child support amount is set, it never changes.

BUSTED: Child support may be modified when parental circumstances change. Examples include an increase or decrease in income, the birth of additional children, or unemployment.

MYTH

Only the child's parents are eligible to receive child support.

BUSTED: Parents, legal guardians, or any party receiving public assistance for a child may apply for child support.

MYTH

It's no big deal if a child support payment is missed.

BUSTED: Enforcement methods for nonpayment can be severe - driver's license/passport may be suspended or revoked, tax refund can be intercepted and a bank account levied.

MYTH

Dad is not listed on the birth certificate, so he cannot receive or pay child support.

BUSTED: Parentage can be assessed using genetic testing, which ultimately determines rights and responsibilities. It does not matter if the father is not on the birth certificate.

Conclusion

Still have questions or myths to be busted? The experienced lawyers at Jamra and Jamra are here to make sure you know the facts. You can learn more on our website about child support and child support modifications. Contact us anytime.