Family Law Blog

Can You Get a Divorce When You Cannot Find Your Spouse?

Thursday, August 01, 2019

woman meeting with female divorce lawyer

Just like a marriage, it often takes two to make a divorce happen. One party files for divorce and the papers are served to the other party. They have a set time limit to respond to those papers. If they fail to respond, a default judgment can be issued giving the filing spouse everything they asked for.

However, this is only the case when the papers can be served to the other party. They have to reach their hands for that default judgment clock to start. So what happens when you can't find them? In truth, a default judgment can still be achieved even if you can't find your spouse. However, every measure has to be taken.

One of the best ways is to hire a private investigator to track your spouse down to ensure the papers are served. However, if that doesn't work you can also pursue an Order of Notice by Publication. In this avenue, you publish the notice of divorce in a newspaper in the last known area of your spouse. It runs for three weeks and if no response has been given, the divorce can then progress towards a default judgment.

 Your lawyer will need to detail that all diligent efforts were performed to see those documents served and that no response was given. Only afterwards will a judge grant the divorce and issue all that was asked for. Obviously if your spouse is missing, there may also be funds missing as well, but this will solve issues like custody and will break you from legal marriage so you can move on.

If you are moving towards divorce or any other family law matters, contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra is dedicated to helping settle complicated family law matters quickly and helping you get the results that you need.

What to Do When Assets Were Omitted From a Divorce Decree

Thursday, July 25, 2019

gavel and rings

It may take many long months and hundreds of headaches, but once a judge approves your final divorce decree, you are officially parted from your ex-partner. In most cases, you go your separate ways and only need to address each other if there are children involved. However, as we all know, divorce is never smooth. There could very possibly be a moment after the divorce decree where you realize the divorce isn't done because both parties forgot to split a piece of community property.

It could be real estate, retirement accounts, pensions, or anything with a significant amount of value. If it was not split in the divorce, then it will need to be. However, while you can return to court in order to get a decision on assets accidentally left out of the divorce decree, you typically only have a short period of time to do so. This is why you need to contact your lawyer as soon as you discover an omission.

Obviously, you can opt to sort the issue without going to court, but divorces are often messy and that may not be possible. It is also worth noting that small items that have low monetary worth but high sentimental worth are often not considered worth the court's time, and the case may not be reopened.

If you discovered assets that were omitted from the divorce decree due to the malicious intent to hide those assets, the courts will be a little more aggressive with opening your case. Your spouse may also face monetary fines and other penalties for trying to hide assets.

If you are going through a divorce and need help making sure it goes as smoothly as possible, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get the best possible results.

Married, Divorced, Married, and Divorced Again – How it Effects The Process

Thursday, May 23, 2019

woman taking ring off finger

Some people just can't stay away from each other. They may have gotten married without thinking, gotten a divorce, realized they were still in love, married again, and years later it is divorce time yet again for one reason or another. For some, remarriage may last forever, but if it dissolves into divorce again, does this have any effect?

The honest truth is if you are divorcing someone that you divorced before, it may actually make the process faster. The asset division from the previous divorce can be withheld, so this means that they only need to divide that which was new in the second marriage. However, it can create some unique problems.

For example, if you got the house in your first divorce, you could argue that it is not marital property in the second divorce. However, your spouse could argue the exact opposite. Both parties may technically be correct and a judge will have to sort that out. Furthermore, they may want the house in trade for something else. Is it possible for it to be a bargaining chip?

Thankfully, while the division of the actual stuff may be more complicated in some regards, alimony will typically stay the same. You won't receive the same amount from the first divorce, however. Instead, the court will examine the two separate incomes. These may have changed since the first divorce happened, so someone may be paying or paying less depending on their income. Furthermore, if a spouse is now financially independent on their own, there may no alimony payment at all.

One divorce is messy enough, but if you are divorcing a person that you already divorced in the past, you know you need help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get the best possible outcome. It's okay to be confused in loved, but don't let a marriage ruin your whole life.

Five Ways to Get Over the Ex

Thursday, May 02, 2019

So, the person you spent months or years with ended up not being right for you. Bummer. Perhaps they broke your heart, or you just couldn't handle some of their behaviors. Divorcing someone you were in a relationship with is never fun, but eventually, you have to move on in life. You might be asking yourself how to do such a thing when your life feels like it has been turned upside down. So, here is a list of five ways to move on after a divorce!

1. Do all of the things that you didn't when you were with the ex. They didn't like the beach? Well, it's time for a beach day! They hated Italian food? On tonight's menu are Zuppa and lasagne! Enjoy all of the little things you had to give up to make your ex-partner happy. 

2. Date. Yes I know, it's probably the last thing you want to do. Unless you plan to stay single forever then you need to get back in the saddle. Hopefully, you won't have to kiss too many frogs to find your prince or princess. 

3. Move somewhere you always have wanted to live. If there is nothing tying you to your current location, then why stay there? Maybe you moved to that city to be near your now ex, but really you want to live somewhere warmer, colder or less expensive? By all means, do it! 

4. Reconnect with friends and family. Everyone knows that a marriage takes up a lot of your time, and that is okay. Other relationships may be put on the back burner during your marriage but now as a single person, you can rekindle those relationships. Haven't seen grandma in a while? Shame on you! Get over there as soon as possible!

5. Go out as a party of one and become comfortable with your own company. When was the last time you went to a movie by yourself? Never? How about going to the gym or a concert sans spouse? It is time to get out there and enjoy yourself, by yourself. This is important, as it will help you become more comfortable with who you are as a person and you may develop interests you never knew you had!

Divorce is definitely not fun, there's no doubt about that. Sooner or later it's time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back out into the world. Hopefully, these five suggestions will help you do just that. Feel free to contact us for further help with your separation and divorce.

5 Factors to Consider Before Choosing A Divorce Attorney

Thursday, April 11, 2019

woman signing divorce papers

Once you start thinking about divorce, it pays to stay ahead of the curve. An experienced divorce lawyer will have valuable advice regarding actions you should take long before you file for divorce. This advice can save you time, money and heartache during an extremely stressful time. Retaining the right attorney can make a huge difference in how you fare in your divorce. It's important to shop around and make sure your time, money, and trust is being invested in the right representation. When the stakes are high, make sure you've considered the following factors before you make hiring decisions:

Cost

The first thing you'll want to know is how much the attorney charges. Most divorce attorneys will require a retainer fee and charge by the hour. These fee amounts will ultimately determine who you can reasonably afford to hire. You will want to get an estimate of the total amount you'll end up owing attorney but it's unlikely that he or she will be able to give you an exact figure during an initial consultation.

Experience

The attorney's work experience is a major factor you'll want to evaluate. You'll want an attorney who specializes in divorce and family law matters, as these proceedings have require a unique set of skills. A certification of specialization in family law is reassurance that you're dealing with someone who knows what they're doing. Additionally, each state has its own set of laws dictating divorce, and jurisdictions within a state may have their own local nuances in divorce proceedings. As such, it is important to retain an attorney who is familiar with the state law and the local practices in the county in which you'll file for divorce.

Reputation

One of the best ways to find a good attorney is to see who comes referred. Reach out to friends and family who have gone through the divorce process, ask which attorney they used and find out what their experience was. Even if their recommendations are out of your area or budget, it can be helpful to contact their offices and see if they can refer you to someone who may work for you. After you've spoken with a potential candidate, don't be afraid to do your research and ask around.

Convenience

Convenience shouldn't be a deal breaker in all instances, but you'll want to hire attorney who is easy to get in touch with and whose office isn't located in at unworkable distance. Finding a lawyer whose office is close to home, work, or your kids' school can make life much easier on you down the road.  

Comfort

The final factor may be the most important of them all. You will want to hire an attorney who you can feel comfortable around. Divorce cases are an understandably emotional process. Your attorney is a person who you'll depend on throughout this extremely tumultuous period. This is someone you will need to be excruciatingly honest regarding sensitive topics. As such, your divorce attorney will need to be someone you can trust.

 Going through a divorce is a difficult process. Don't make things any harder on yourself by hiring the wrong divorce attorney. Considering these five factors can help you find the right attorney for you. When you need an honest, experienced, and reputable attorneys handling your divorce, contact the lawyers at Jamra & Jamra today.


When a Mother or Father Opts Out of Parenthood Following a Divorce

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Divorce has tremendous effects on the partners involved. These adults face a loss that accompanies dissolution of their union. Fortunately, they can choose from a myriad of resources to help them adjust to their new lives without their former partner. Children of divorced families face difficult changes as well. Unfortunately, this can include the greatest of children's issues during a divorce, the loss of the ongoing presence of one of his parents.

Regrettably, there are many situations in which one parent abandons his child. If this parent chooses to forgo his relationship with the child, it is up to the remaining parent to help the child cope. Learn how to help him deal with this heartbreaking loss.

Communication is vital when a parent leaves following a divorce. Be as honest with your child as possible regarding the situation without overwhelming him with details. He will ask whether the other parent will return. Again, be truthful and tell him that you do not know if or when that will happen. Reassure him that YOU will not leave. Encourage the child to talk about his emotions. Listen to him talk and validate his feelings accordingly. Let him know he is not to blame for the divorce and/or the other parent's absence.

Set up a routine following the divorce. Children need structure to feel safe and stable. Enlist the aid of other adults to help establish a "new normal". For instance, teachers, coaches, and mentors are often invaluable at this time. If possible, keep your child in the same school and in the same activities as before. Balance the schedule with "downtime" so your child does not become unduly stressed and has time to reflect.

Look for changes in behavior or mood that commonly occur with kids abandoned by a parent. Often, children will act out in reaction to a parent leaving. They are angry and sometimes do not handle their emotions appropriately. Do not, however, use the other parent's absence as a justification for misbehavior. Discipline the child as necessary but let him know you understand his frustrations. Provide him with outlets such as athletics or arts which can help him direct what he is feeling in a positive manner.

Finally, be willing to find professional help for your child. This includes counseling for him alone and both of you collectively. An experienced therapist can teach you how to handle the difficulties your family faces. Stick with treatment even if you do not see immediate results. Divorce and abandonment produce serious issues which require long-term treatment for your child and yourself.

Contact us when you need to know more.

Divorce When One Spouse Has Dementia

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

elderly woman with dementia

As the baby boomers move into their golden years, gray divorces, or divorces in a person's elderly years, have skyrocketed. In these divorces, typically they are more complicated due to the number of assets usually involved, but what if one person is not as mentally competent as perhaps they should be for a divorce?

Dementia is a difficult disease, and yes, it is one that can shake even the strongest of foundations. Some may not be up to the task of caring for or dealing with a person that has dissolved so greatly in mental capacity that they no longer even recognize them. For this, a divorce is an option, but it likely won't be your more traditional divorce, but it does not need to be more complicated than usual.

In states that need a reason for divorce, typically diminished mental capacity can be used. In states that don't need a reason for divorce, mental capacity doesn't really matter. However, what will likely need to happen is that the spouse with dementia will need to have a guardian appointed by the court to represent their interests in the matter.

Of course, guilt may play a major part in a divorce when one person has dementia, but it shouldn't. If they have become increasingly difficult to take care of, it can be increasingly stressful for the spouse that has to do it. For some, their golden years are the only time they can fully enjoy their life, and a partner with dementia can quickly end that.

If you are considering divorce of your spouse who has manifested advanced dementia, contact us today. We can help walk you through the process so both parties get what is fairly there without too much difficulty. Let the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra come to help you through this difficult situation.


Divorce: Are You Responsible for Your Spouse's Debts?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

If you are thinking about divorce or in the midst of one, it's good to know whether or not you are responsible for your spouse's debt.

During the Marriage

California is a community property state. This means that property and other assets are owned by the couple jointly. As counterintuitive as it may seem, debts are considered negative assets by divorce courts. They are therefore subject to the same principles as assets. Debts are held in common just as assets are. Therefore, one spouse is responsible for the other's debts, even if only one spouse incurred the debt.

So spouses are both responsible for a jointly incurred debt, such as a mortgage or vehicle loan that both co-signed. Each is also responsible for debts the other incurred solely. In other words, if your spouse opened a credit card or obtained a personal loan during the marriage, you are responsible for the debt.

The key here, though, is that both spouses are responsible only for debt taken on during the marriage. If your spouse incurred debt in their name before the marriage, you are not responsible for it. So if your spouse is still carrying credit card debt on a credit card opened when they were single, you are not responsible for that.

After the Divorce

Community property rules no longer apply after the divorce. Any debt incurred after you are divorced is the responsibility of the party who incurred it.

The only exception is if you continue to maintain joint accounts (on bank or mortgage accounts, for example) or the debt is taken to repair jointly held property, such as a home or boat. In that case, because the accounts or property is held jointly, you would be equally responsible.

If you need to speak to an attorney about divorce, contact us. The first consultation is complementary.

Divorce: Considerations of Changing Your Name in a Divorce

Thursday, February 07, 2019

woman speaking with divorce lawyer

Sometimes, women who are getting divorced consider reverting to their maiden names. This is a relatively simple procedure in California and can be done by your submitting your proposed Judgment (Form FL-180) for divorce. Your attorney will let you know what you need to do. Even if you don't elect to change your name at that point, it can be done after the divorce, by filing a Petition for Change of Name. This is slightly more complicated, but still a relatively simple procedure.

More important than the steps, however, is the decision itself. If you are a woman who took her husband's name, or part of a couple who hyphenated their surnames, dissolving the marriage can raise complicated feelings about what your name will be after it. It's important to note that changing the name will not have any impact on the financial settlement or divorce decree. Nor does it have any impact on legal responsibility once the divorce is finalized. You will never, for example, be responsible for a spouse's bills or other obligations because you share a last name. Even if creditors track you down because of the surname, you are a legally separate entity once the divorce goes through. You have only to tell them you are divorced.

So what are the considerations you should think about when deciding to change your name in a divorce?

1. Your feelings about your ex-spouse

If you and your spouse are amicable, it may make no difference to you whether you keep the name or not. If the divorce is a painful one, however, your feelings about your spouse may color your feelings about your surname. If it would make you feel better, you may want to revert to your maiden name or remove the hyphenated name. If you don't want to do that, you can change your name to a third option of your choice.

2. Your feelings about having the same name as your children

Some people would prefer to have the same name as their children or think the family name should be held in common. If this is your married name, you may want to keep it. But changing the name of both yourself and your children is also an option.

3. Your feelings about a fresh start

Some people see their divorce as a time of new beginnings. If it would support that feeling to change your name, it can definitely be an option as well.

Do you need to discuss divorce with an attorney? Contact us.

What Can a Divorce Lawyer Do For Me?

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Divorce modifications don't have to be mind-boggling, migraine-inducing precursors to an evening of too much wine. Discussion of the divorce process begins with the basic duties of a divorce lawyer. The better your lawyer understands your needs, the less stressful your divorce will be. 

Divorce is one of life's most challenging occurrences. Often, in stressful times, we plunge straight ahead without considering any possible consequences. There could be no worse possible time to do that than during a divorce.  Even under the most congenial circumstances, handling a divorce on your own can be detrimental to you and any children involved.   

A divorce lawyer is an attorney who specializes in divorce and family law. They can help you through the red tape and frustration of a divorce. Divorce lawyers do many things from ensuring the fair treatment of their client, equal distribution of assets and proper documentation and record filing. 

The most important advantage is the knowledge of divorce and family law and legal experience a divorce lawyer uses to your advantage.  Divorce law is intricate and challenging.  The education and practical experience of a qualified divorce are immeasurable. 

Alimony, child support, custody, and visitation are all aspects of a divorce that a divorce lawyer will work out on your behalf. Laws and divorce trends change from state to state and vary as the years pass. A divorce attorney stays abreast of the newest laws and how they apply to their clients in their state of practice.   

Most divorce lawyers have payment plans and work out schedules that are possible for their clients to do.  Before hiring a divorce attorney make sure to gather all the documents you have obtained during the marriage and any other proof of ownership. Call several local divorce lawyers and schedule a consultation to learn more about what they can do for you. 

When you have tough divorce questions, contact our office for professional, courteous advice.