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What Is the Timeline Like for a First Time Divorce?

Friday, December 18, 2020

With any luck, the first divorce in your life will be the last divorce. However, like when you do anything for the first time, you may want to know exactly what the process looks like. Unfortunately, as a divorce can take months of simply waiting for things to move forward, it is not so easy to lay out a concrete timeline. Instead, we wanted to highlight events as they will happen. As to how fast they will happen depends on how busy your local court system is and how much other parties drag their feet.

Timeline for First Time Divorce

If you are wondering what the divorce process looks like, your lawyer should be able to walk you through every step of the process, but as a whole, it can be rather simply broken down.

  • One spouse gets a lawyer and will write up a petition for divorce to start the process. This will include what they want in terms of financial, custody, and property division.
  • The petition is filed with the court.
  • The petition is served to the other party, requiring their legal response. Without a response, the court assumes they agree with the terms. The response is how the served spouse wants to deal with the above issues.
  • Mediation for issues is pursued if desired. Otherwise, the court will require compiled information on finances and property to help make the division.
  • If a settlement is reached, there will be a court hearing to make the agreement final and binding.
  • If the divorce is not settled, both sides will argue their side in court to help the judge settle issues.
  • The judge grants the divorce.
  • Both spouses retain the ability to appeal the court's decision on the decided matters, but it is typically unusual to have that decision overturned.

Conclusion

A broken down timeline makes divorce seem simple. However, it can take months and making the decisions can be difficult. If you are looking at a divorce in your future, contact us today to see what the professionals at the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help.

3 Signs That It May Be Time to Consider a Divorce

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Deciding that it is time to end your marriage is one of the most difficult things that a person, or a couple, can go through. However, if lies, betrayal, or years of resentment have left you feeling detached from your marriage, you may find yourself wondering if it is time for a divorce. Yet, how can you know for sure if things are really over? If you are unsure about the state of your marriage, here is a look at a few common signs that a divorce may be in the best interest of you and your spouse. 

You Constantly Feel Criticized or Put Down By Your Spouse

A clear red flag that all is not well in your marriage is if you are constantly put down and made to feel not good enough by your spouse. Constant criticism and emotional abuse from your partner can leave you feeling worn out and even depressed. If you feel as though you are constantly criticized or made to feel inferior, it may be time to consider a divorce. This abuse is not good for your mental health, and you should consider taking care of yourself by moving on. 

You Often Feel Lonely Even When You're With Your Partner

Over time, you may have noticed that you and your spouse have drifted apart. Through no one's fault, you may find that you no longer have anything in common, and you may not even have anything to talk about. This can leave you feeling lonely even when you are with your partner due to a lack of affection, closeness, and intimacy. If this is the case, it may be in both of your best interests to have a frank conversation about the condition of your marriage and whether a divorce may be the best option. 

Communication Has Fallen Apart

Towards the end of a marriage, it is not uncommon for communication to completely fall apart. You may even find that you are unable to have a simple conversation without things dissolving into arguments. Furthermore, these arguments likely don't get resolved, and you may find yourself arguing about the same things over and over again without finding a solution or common ground. This is often a clear sign of a relationship that has been damaged beyond repair. 

Conclusion

While it can be difficult to admit when it is time for a divorce, doing so can help you and your spouse to move on and heal from a broken relationship. However, if you plan on seeking a divorce, it is critical that you consult an attorney so that you have someone to walk you through this complicated process. Feel free to contact us to learn about how we can help you through this difficult time.   

Unique Issues With Same Sex Divorce

Monday, November 30, 2020

In terms of process, divorce is the same no matter whether you are a heterosexual couple or a same sex one. However, same sex couples do have two unique circumstances in divorce that they may face compared to heterosexual divorces. By knowing these potential issues, you can make sure you are prepared for them if they may be something you face in a same sex divorce.

Previous Domestic Partnership and Property Division

If you entered into a marriage when it became legal after years of domestic partnership, you may face some new difficulties when it comes to property division. While you did have a legal partnership prior to marriage, it may make property division work a little differently.

Property division and the establishment of shared property are strongly dependent on the date of the marriage. As such, it may be difficult for the courts to establish what is individual property and what is shared marital property if you were in a domestic partnership prior.

Typically, if you had a domestic partnership prior to marriage, you will want to work out as much property division outside of the courtroom as possible to avoid unanticipated splits.

Child Custody

The child custody between same sex couples can be particularly difficult. As a rule, the law will always side with the biological parent over those unrelated to the child. You can imagine the issues this causes with same sex child custody cases. However, if the non-biological parent is listed on the birth certificate or has formally adopted the child, they will have more standing. However, the biological parent will always have more.

Due to these unique issues, it is always more beneficial for same sex couple to work out child and property division outside of the courtroom. The courts tend to take awhile to catch up with new legal precedents sometimes, and unfortunately, this is one of those times. If you are a same sex couple going through divorce and need help, contact us today. Let the professionals at the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra come to your aid.

A Breach of Fiduciary Duty in California Spousal Support Requirements

Friday, September 04, 2020

Divorces happen and the process is rarely comfortable or easy, especially when alimony is concerned. Alimony was created to lessen the negative effects of a dramatic transition on a person who doesn't have the immediate means to fulfill their needs after a divorce. Unfortunately, much like any other program created to assist people, it can be abused.

What do you do if you suspect that your former partner has somehow dishonored a spousal support agreement? What course of action can you take?

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Each spouse has a responsibility to the other when it comes to any and all finances and debts acquired during the relationship. It doesn't matter if the assets and debts were acquired together or alone. California takes fiduciary responsibility very seriously and all assets must be disclosed during the process of a divorce or the person hiding relevant information can be punished. 

breach of fiduciary duty refers to the act of hiding assets and manipulating income levels that are reported to the court system in the case of divorce. It is illegal to withhold any information and is considered a breach of contract and a breach of trust. 

What Do You Do?

If you suspect that your former partner may be hiding assets or somehow manipulating financial information, address any and all concerns to your divorce attorneys and allow them to investigate your claims. It is a lawyer's job to investigate all contentious issues in a divorce. If they can find a breach, you may be entitled to what your former partner is hiding. 

If you are accused of breaching a fiduciary trust, you need to contact your divorce lawyer immediately to clear up any misconceptions. Your attorney's job is to protect you and your interests and direct honesty goes a long way.

What you DO NOT DO is conduct outside investigations on your own. Evidence obtained illegally or nefariously can damage any arguments that you have and make you look bad in the eyes of the court. 

No matter what, it is essential to begin the process of your separation with a trusted and qualified attorney with a proven success record to back you up in every situation.  

Call Us With Your Questions

The experienced and supportive attorneys at Jamra & Jamra are here to ensure you get the fairest deal possible when it comes to your family. Contact us at 310-278-9001 to schedule your free consultation, and we can get started on your case.

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.