TAGS

Family Law Blog

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. 

Does Moving Out Affect Property Division?

Friday, November 22, 2019

Divorce is one of those high tension scenarios that often make it one of the worst times in a person's life. As this is such a stressful time, it is no surprise that one person often decides to move out. However, does this make a difference in the case of property division? Does abandoning your house mean you lose assets?

With Children

In divorce with children, moving out during the process can be harmful to custody. It shows that daily interaction with your children isn't such a high priority for you. However, what about when you don't have children and are just worried about the property division? While moving out doesn't hurt you quite as much in this respect, often you can shoot yourself in the foot by doing it.

Depends On What You Leave Behind

You may be in a hurry to get away from the fights, and this may drive you out with nothing but a suitcase full of clothes. This is the main problem. If you moved out fully prepared with your financial documents, family heirlooms, and anything that is separate, non-marital property, then you would be fine. However, if you leave all that behind, it can become a hostage or a target for your spouse. Thus, they essentially have control over everything in that home as you have abandoned.

While big items like real estate can't be so easily disappeared, small items are less likely to be noticed by the courts. Don't be surprised if things start to disappear.

Contact Your Lawyer

If you believe that your spouse is maliciously hiding or selling off your assets inside a house, you need to contact your lawyer right away. They can help walk you through what you need to do to protect your property.

Conclusion

If you are starting divorce proceedings or have other family law problems, contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can do to help you make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Can a Spouse Trap You in a Marriage by Refusing Divorce?

Friday, November 15, 2019

Ideally, you and your spouse will both just eventually come to the conclusion that you are both unhappy and the marriage needs to end. You both get decide to get a divorce and the property division of it all is difficult, but done quickly and amicably. However, it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes one partner wants out, but the other wants so desperately for them to stay, which can lead to their refusal of divorce.

No, They Cannot "Hold You Hostage"

Fortunately, a spouse can't "hold you hostage" in your own marriage, so to speak. In the best case, their refusal to cooperate works out in your favor since failure to acknowledge divorce papers can be seen as a no contest divorce where you get everything. In the worst case, they do cooperate slightly, but actively work to slow the whole process down. While your spouse can certainly make divorce much more difficult, they cannot flat out refuse to divorce you. Even if they were to disappear suddenly in order to slip divorce proceedings, you could still progress.

A Lawyer Can Help

What often makes the difference in these cases is often the help of a knowledgeable lawyer. For every time that your spouse makes this process difficult, your lawyer will be able to best advise you on what you need to do next in order to take the next step forward. If your spouse is being difficult, it requires a bit more patience, but your lawyer can help you get to the finish line so you can continue to live your life after it is done.

Conclusion

If you are getting divorced, whether or not you have a difficult spouse that isn't cooperating, contact us today. The Law Firm of Jamra & Jamra is dedicated to helping you get the best possible outcome from your divorce or family law case.

A Beverly Hills Divorce Lawyer Discusses Games Divorced Couples Play

Saturday, September 07, 2019

man and woman sitting on couch

After a couple is divorced, each person begins to settle into their new life, single and unattached. Some couples have difficulty with this new way of living, and even though they are legally free and unencumbered, they continue to banter back and forth for a period of time. This is out of fear of that long forgotten way of life of living single again. 

Without a doubt, this change is not comfortable at first, and sometimes it is easier to try and hold onto that more familiar life, of having someone else around. Before your new life can get a firm foundation and, fully begin, divorced couples will play games with each other for a while until each finally accepts the break-up and moves forward. That is when the game playing usually ends.

Here are three games to look out for and to avoid if possible. 

Look at Me Now

 This game is usually played when one becomes thinner, healthier, dresses better, and in general is paying more attention to their physical appearance. That improved image is flaunted as a way of saying "Look at how much better my life is without you! Divorcing you is good for me".

The Better Parent

 Competing for being the better parent or the most liked parent by showering the kids with extravagant presents, or allowing them to break the rules the other parent sets.

Still Want Me? 

 The ex-husband becomes flirtatious with the ex-wife to see if she still wants him and will feign interest in her to see if he is still able to attract other women.

Divorce is filled with so much emotion, and even after the divorce is finalized, emotions can still run high and create problems for both involved. To learn more about divorce, please contact us.

Can a Divorce Be Stopped Once Filed?

Thursday, August 22, 2019

woman looking at paperwork

Once the divorce papers are filed, it seems very final, but in truth you still have a long way to go towards finally being divorced. As long as there has not been a final divorce decree issued by the court, you can still take that action back. You may decide that you acted in the heat of things or worked out some issues with your spouse. You as a couple could have also decided to stay together for the children. Whatever the case, you may still be able to take back a divorce filing once it has started.

The earlier you take action, the easier it will be to take back divorce filing. If you are already in court, it may be more difficult, but your lawyer can help make it happen. Most commonly, however, divorce filings are dissolved within the first few weeks of filing it. This can be done, in some states, via a form from the internet. However, the filer will probably want to go to the clerk where the divorce was filed.

Once there, they can ask it to be revoked, in which they will need to fill out the proper form that the clerk will provide. Once this is done, some states may require that the spouse that didn't file is served with a copy of the divorce dismissal. They will send this on your behalf to make sure they get it. If the spouse does not agree, then they are free to file for divorce instead.

While having a divorce filing revoked is somewhat rare, it can happen. If you want to revoke your divorce filing, even if you don't think you can, you should contact us today. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can help you walk through every step of divorce, including undoing the initial proceedings if necessary.

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.