Family Law Blog

Do Not Let Emotions Interfere With Property Division and More During a Divorce

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The divorce process can be time-consuming and costly in addition to emotionally draining, which is all why it is easy to make mistakes when dissolving a marriage. Consider these tips when wanting to minimize financial expenses.

Focus on the important things:

Some people think divorce is the proper time to get revenge or air grievances, but this only draws out the process and makes it more expensive. It is important to try to act rationally instead of thinking with anger, grief or guilt. To get the best outcome from a divorce, you may need counseling or an attorney first.

Know when patience is necessary: 

Whether you are letting emotions get the best of you or dealing with a spouse who is, waiting out drama is often necessary to avoid regrets later. Trying to rush a divorce or giving in out of exhaustion will only result in an unsatisfactory settlement on your part. If there is an issue of contention or spouses have trouble communicating, alternate forms of divorce like negotiation or mediation might help.

Try to work together: 

Emotions do not always have to get the better of those going through a divorce. To resolve a divorce in a timely matter, both partners typically need to communicate honestly and be open to compromise. It may help if you have a few priorities in regards to matters like property division, alimony or child custody as this lets you focus on what you find most valuable while making concessions with less important items.

An attorney could offer a more objective point of view and help one negotiate and reach an agreeable settlement, so contact us when going through a divorce.

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Divorce or Legal Separation? What's Best For You?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Going through a divorce or separation is tough for all parties involved. There are times, however, where legal separation is more beneficial for both people. Do you know which is best for your circumstances?

In this post, we'll cover some basic questions and answers about which route is best for you: divorce or legal separation.

First, do you know what the grounds are for divorce? According to The State of California, there are two reasons for dissolution:

  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Incurable insanity

In both cases, your spouse must have lived in California for six months and in your county for at least three months prior to filing. On the other hand, legal separation has no residency requirement.

Second, it is possible to apply for a legal separation or annulment instead of a divorce. For additional information on the particulars of your case, click here to read more about both.

Third, to file for divorce, you must gather the proper paperwork. Do this by purchasing dissolution paperwork from the county clerk, or by clicking here and reading more from the California Courts homepage.

Then, once you have all of the necessary paperwork, your attorney will prepare a Petition and a Summons.

Last, remember that California is a "no fault" divorce state. A no fault divorce state means that:

[T]he spouse or domestic partner that is asking for the divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse or domestic partner did something wrong.

No matter what decision you choose, remember that you should never go through a divorce or legal separation without a family divorce attorney.

We can help you through your tough times. Please contact us today for more information.

Jamra & Jamra are Beverly Hills family law attorneys focused exclusively on family law. Our law firm also firmly believes that legal representation should be customized for each case.

Who Gets the House? Property Division in California Divorces

Friday, March 11, 2016

California is a community property state, meaning that all property and debts acquired during the marriage must be divided equally among the spouses. However, property division is not always as easy as splitting assets 50/50. A common concern of divorcing couples is the disposition of the family home. After all, the home is often one of the couple's most valuable assets.

There are many arrangements for disposing of the home depending on the family's circumstances. One of the easiest is simply selling the home and splitting the proceeds equally.

However, sale of the home may not be possible due to a slow real estate market or negative equity in the home. Additionally, the issue can be complicated due to the emotional significance of the family home. One spouse may not wish to sell the home and all of the memories it represents. Other spouses may wish to avoid further emotional distress to children by allowing them to remain in the home.

When one spouse is adamant about keeping the home for sentimental reasons and can afford to maintain the home with no financial assistance from the other spouse, one alternative is to allow that spouse to buy out the other's interest in the property. Where both spouses are concerned about the impact of the home's sale on their children, both may agree to maintain joint ownership and to allow the custodial parent exclusive use of it. In slow real estate markets, the couple may agree to maintain the home as a joint investment in hopes that the home's value may increase over time.

However, these arrangements require a level of cooperation between the divorcing spouses that is not always possible.Contact us today if you are divorcing and are concerned about the ultimate disposition of your home and other assets. Whether you need an attorney who can craft a workable compromise with your ex or need one who can litigate your position aggressively in court, we can help.

An Overview on What Child Support Covers

Thursday, February 25, 2016

If you are in the process of working through a child support case, you may wonder exactly what child support payments cover. The California Department of Child Support Services states that child support payments cover a parent's contributions to a child's living and medical expenses. A court ruling determines the amount of child support a parent pays. The court can rule that either parent or both parents are required to provide the child support payments, essentially stating that both parents are legally mandated to contribute to the financial well-being of their child.

Child support is intended to cover a range of expenses such as shelter, food, clothing and medical insurance. Some other expenses, such as medical expenses not covered by insurance, education expenses, and expenses related to extracurricular activities, are generally not covered in child support payments unless a specific settlement agreement outlines these costs, or a court rules otherwise. Parents may also be required to spend additional monies during their time with a child because the child support payments are only an estimate of what is needed to cover the basic living expenses and needs.

Child support is paid to either parent, but it usually common for the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the parent who has physical custody of the child. In the event the parents have joint custody, the parent with the higher income may be required to pay child support to the parent whose income is lower.

If you are going through a child support case and have questions, contact us. We can sit down with you and go over your own personal circumstance and advise you accordingly. 

3 Tips to Help You Get Through Your Divorce Case

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Going through a divorce can be painful. Your emotions are all over the place in an attempt to try to figure it all out. While divorce cases aren't exactly the most exciting cases to be involved with, that doesn't mean you can't come out ahead in them. You deserve to be treated fairly in your case. With an attorney working on your side, you can do just that. Here are a few tips to help you win your divorce case and walk away with the whole mess behind you.

Don't give in to the negativity.

Refrain from letting all of the negative voices in your head get to you. You have to realize that they are simply trying to make your future bleak and ruin everything you worked so hard for. You have the power to control your destiny and rise above the madness. Choose to put the negativity aside and start thinking positively.

Figure out what it is that you want.

Oftentimes, people go into a divorce case simply trying to get it done and over with. They can't think about anything else but how to move on. Unfortunately, that could end up costing you in the long run. You need to stop and take the time to think about what it is that you want to accomplish in the process. There is a lot to gain in the process, but there is also a lot to lose. You have to have an idea of what it is that you want to achieve during the process if you are going to come out ahead. Otherwise, you will end up losing out on a lot during the whole proceeding.

Hold true to your values.

Divorce proceedings can leave you lost and hopeless. These feelings can be quite common. One minute you might feel fine and the next you might feel lost and alone. The one thing you need to remember is that you don't want to sway from who you are and what you believe in. The last thing you want is to feel guilty about the way things ended. Don't play dirty or get ugly. It's far better to come out of the case with your pride and dignity intact than it is for you to attack the other party.

Contact us to find out how you can walk away from the mess without all the stress and hassle.

Conciliation Court for Child Custody Mediation

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sometimes when two parents decide to separate or divorce and there are children in the relationship, the parents will go to conciliatory court for child custody mediation. If there is a custody dispute, mediation will be mandatory. Even if the two parents are not disputing custody, mediation can be a great way to work out the issues of custody and do what is best for the child(ren) in each situation.

You do not need to be nervous about attending conciliation court. It might help, however, if you have an idea of what to expect before you attend. First, you need to set up an appointment with the court. Appointments are typically scheduled in the courthouse where the hearing will be held. In some counties of California, it can also be held in other Conciliation Court Offices so you might call around if you are looking for a shorter wait on an appointment.

When you arrive at Court, both parties will be asked to sign in and complete an information form. If you do not want to feel rushed filling it out, you can request the form in advance and bring it with you already filled out. The mediator will review your form to gain information about the family before sitting to talk with you.

Initially, both parties will be told the rules of mediation. Be sure you listen and ask questions if you need clarification. Breaking the rules of mediation could affect your child custody decisions. The mediator may meet with both parties together, meet with you individually, or both at different times.

The mediator will ask questions to gain more insight and understanding of the family and the needs of the children. The mediator will also share information with both parties about the needs of the children, to include developmental and emotional needs, and more. You will also discuss things like holidays, school, transportation and other important needs and schedules of the child.

As the final task of mediation, you will discuss the potential options and the best resolution for the children. The goal is to be able to walk away from conciliation court with a custody agreement all parties can agree upon.

If you'd like to learn more about child custody mediation, conciliation court in California, or other family law matters, contact us today.


3 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Family Law Case

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Divorce is never easy. It takes a toll on you emotionally and physically. You end up going through a range of emotion trying to sort everything out and figure out how you are going to make it on your own. For some, they never seen the divorce coming. This causes them to be hit harder than the party who filed for divorce in the first place. To make sure you get through your family law case without getting shorted on the settlement, here are three mistakes you want to avoid.

Not showing up for court.

One of the worst things you can do is not show up for court. Regardless of whether you think it is important or not, you need to make sure you are there when the proceedings are going on. If you don't show up, the other party can simply ask for whatever they want and you won't be there to say anything about it. The judge could end up listening to the other person and you end up losing out.

Not knowing the value of an asset.

When the assets are split up between the parties, you want to make sure you get your fair share. It isn't going to do you any good to get the house if there is still a large amount owing on it while the other party walks away with vehicles, firearms, furs, jewelry and so on that they can sell for money and come out ahead of the game. Make sure you get an equal share of the property.

Not having a lawyer look everything over for you.

Never sign anything that your lawyer hasn't looked over for you. Don't sit there and assume everything is fine. You never know what might be hidden in those papers. It is crucial that you understand what you are signing and that you agree to the terms before you sign anything.

By avoiding the three mistakes above, you can get through your case with ease. While it might not take the sting out of the divorce, it can help make sure you don't lose out on more than what you should. If you are ever in doubt about what is going on or what you need to do, make sure to ask your attorney what you need to do. Contact us for additional information about how to deal with your case.

Some Basic Facts About CA Property Division After a Divorce

Thursday, January 07, 2016

When a divorcing couple divides their property and debts, they need to put a plan into motion that works for them both -- or ask for court facilitation.

In most divorce cases -- when mediated by an attorney -- property division is usually an agreeable situation. Couples can normally split property up fairly and without too many problems or snags.

When dividing property, you must remember that all shared debts and community property can not be fully divided until a judge has issued a final order. So, even if you both verbally agree on which items you will split, such an agreement isn't viable until a judge has it in writing and signs off on it.

Further, in the state of California, it's just as important to consider that all property, assets, and debts acquired during the marriage fall under common property laws, and they should be divided equally anyway.

Coming up with a "net share" of all of your assets will help you split them equally. Do this by adding up all of your property's values and subtracting the total amount of debt. The remaining number is your total "net value," which is the amount to be divided between the two of you.

It is also possible to use your debt to balance out someone getting more than their shared half.

An example of this concerns one person getting a house, which has obvious and intrinsic equity and value. Then, according to courts.ca:

If one spouse or domestic partner is taking something with a high value, like a house in which there is equity (value), it may be possible to equalize or balance out the division by giving that spouse or domestic partner the credit card debt.

It is necessary to use your resources when dividing property. Always work with an attorney to ensure that all of what's your stays in your hands. The last thing that you want to do when dividing your property is to do it without legal counsel.

For more information on how we can help you with all of your family law needs, please contact us anytime. Remember, family law can go one of two ways, we're prepared for both.

Higher Divorce Rates For This Group Of Americans

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Some people have needlessly pessimistic viewpoints about marriage as they believe that divorce rates are rising even though this is typically not the case. However, California residents might not know that those 50 and older do have higher divorce rates. One study found that elderly couples divorced twice as much in 2014 than in 1990.

Multiple answers for the divorce rate among older individuals may exist, and these are a few reasons suggested by a DeseretNews National Edition article:

Money Matters

While divorce can be the best course of action for many couples, dissolving a marriage is sometimes expensive. Older couples might divorce more than younger ones because they are better able to if they are financially stable. Young couples may also face more costs and hassles with a divorce as spousal support or a parenting plan may often be necessary.

Love Connection

People who got married decades ago might have a new perspective as older individuals who are not in bad marriages could still divorce because they want to find someone new based on loved. Motivations popular in the past like finding a good provider or caregiver are now not as important as compatibility and friendship.

The Horizon

Since people now live longer, those who are 50 could have several decades ahead of them. This can cause some older individuals to evaluate the future and decide that they want something different as a marriage may offer less satisfaction or happiness than before.

Your Situation

There are a number of factors to consider when going through the divorce process, and things like age, assets, debts and children all make a difference. When wondering about matters like property division or spousal support, an attorney can give you more information and help you prepare for a divorce. A lawyer could also give you possible options if you want a less costly or time-consuming divorce, so contact us to learn more.


Does it Matter Who Files for Divorce First in California?

Friday, November 20, 2015

There are very few situations where rushing to file for divorce is advantageous. Unless there is an urgent need to file immediately, such as physical abuse or the need to protect children and assets, the decision to divorce should be a well thought out and calculated plan. Generally, there is little to gain from rushing to file, however it may be beneficial at times.

First, filing first will determine the jurisdiction and venue that the divorce case is heard in. This is especially important if you and your spouse live in different counties, states, or even countries. The jurisdiction of the court allows your case to move forward. If you live in Orange County, but your estranged spouse files for divorce in Sonoma County first, the divorce proceedings will take place in Sonoma. This creates the need to find a local attorney in Sonoma County and to travel across the state for all court appearances. 

If you believe your children are in danger physically or your spouse may abduct them, you should always file for divorce immediately. Family courts have the power to issue immediate orders concerning the children. Choose a lawyer that will aggressively address your concerns. Not doing so can result in you being forced to file in another jurisdiction in an attempt to recover the children. It can also hurt your case later if the court questions why you did not take action if you truly believed the children were in danger.  

For more information on divorce proceedings, contact us today. Our experienced attorneys are ready to assist and will fight to protect you and your children.