Family Law Blog

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.

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.

Ways to Dissolve a Marriage in California

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Getting a divorce can be very emotional and stressful for the parties involved. However, understanding the legal requirements can help you put things into perspective. There are two ways to dissolve a marriage in California and both have very different requirements.

The first way to dissolve a marriage is by filing for Divorce. Each state has its own statutes for divorce.  Some states have fault-based grounds for divorce such as adultery, desertion or cruelty. However, California has is a non-fault based state. This means that you must state that there are irreconcilable differences.  

Another ground for Divorce in California is incurable insanity. You must prove that at the time of filing the petition your spouse has a permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. The court requires testimony from medical doctor or psychiatrist.  

Before the court will enter a judgment for divorce either you or your spouse must have resided in California for 6 months and 3 months in the county where the case is filed. 

The second way to dissolve a marriage is by filing a petition for an annulment. The California statute sets out several conditions that could nullify a marriage. A marriage may be voidable if you can prove incapacity, inability to consent, bigamy, fraud, consent obtained by force, incest, or either party or both were of unsound mind. The court can also award you attorney's fees if it finds that you are the innocent party.  

Divorce and annulment cases can be very complex and difficult to handle on your own. You should enlist the help of a qualified attorney to help you. Jamra & Jamra is a law firm with skilled attorneys who can help you sort out the complexities of your divorce case. If you need help navigating the process for dissolving your marriage contact us today.  

In California, Divorce Can Be Nobody’s Fault

Thursday, April 26, 2018

If you are contemplating a divorce, you may have many reasons for wanting to dissolve your marriage. If you live in California, however, you don't need to sit down and make a laundry list of all the things your spouse did that caused the divorce. There is no need to assign any blame or prove any wrongdoing on the part of your spouse.

The state of California is a "no-fault" divorce state. This means that couples who wish to divorce do not need to show evidence of misbehavior or transgression as the grounds -- the legal reason -- for the divorce. Fault is not a factor. In the majority of divorce cases in California, couples state irreconcilable differences as the grounds for the divorce. What this means is that you and your spouse can state that your marriage is beyond repair and, for that reason, you want to terminate the marriage. The other grounds for divorce in California is incurable insanity.

Each state has its own laws regarding divorce. In California, no divorce can be finalized until six months after the filing. If there is reason to believe that you and your spouse may reconcile, the judge in your case may stop the divorce proceedings for a period of up to thirty days.

While fault is not a factor in terms of the grounds for divorce in California, it can be a consideration for other aspects of a divorce settlement. The California courts can consider fault when making determinations regarding property division or awarding alimony.

Divorce can be complicated. If you have questions regarding the grounds for divorce, or any other aspect of the divorce process, contact us today. The experienced divorce lawyers at Jamra & Jamra work with you every step of the way to ensure the best possible outcome in your situation.


Property Division, Who Gets Custody of - Fido?

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Divorce and child custody battles often go hand in hand, with property disputes a close second among causes of high emotional and financial impact. Houses, cars, 401K distribution and what to do with the family RV provoke understandably strong emotions. Throw in disputes over who gets the family dog and the emotional stakes are even higher.

In most states, pets are viewed as property. The ultimate ownership of pets is dependent upon many factors, including which partner bought the animal and whether kids are involved.

Many pet owners find this approach heartless given that the animal's welfare isn't necessarily taken into account. The big screen TV and the car may hold high dollar values, but they also aren't granted quite the same status in the minds of owners, or, in fact, the law. Destroying your own television set rarely comes with legal repercussions, but animal abuse is another matter.

According to a new Illinois state law following in Alaska's footsteps, animals will be treated much like children in divorce proceedings. Effective January 1st, 2018, in cases where a divorcing couple is equally attached to a pet, judges in Illinois are now permitted to take the animal's best interests into account, much as they would a child.

The new law applies only in Illinois, but the results bear close watching. Most likely, who will make the better owner will be the main criteria for animal custody decisions, but, as with children, one wonders if that decision could usher in a host of other issues, including visitation. 

While California law still views pets as property, the California Family Code Section 6320 allows pets to be included in protective orders. Some California judges also consider visitation a valid option in pet disputes, as happened in the case of Gigi, whose ultimate disposition included a "bonding study" and cost her owners 100,000 dollars in legal fees.

Custody and ownership as separate issues is the standard in most states and under most conditions, but as pets have become normalized as part of divorce settlements, laws have had to keep up with human emotional bonds. Contact us to learn more about how pets factor into divorce proceedings.


Challenges of Early Life Divorces

Friday, January 12, 2018

You know what they say, your younger years are for making mistakes. However, for most people, those mistakes don't include a bad marriage, or rather, they don't realize it is a mistake until much later. However, if you get married young and realize it was a mistake, getting a divorce in your 20's can provide some unique challenges.

One of the most unique challenges you will face is the social stigma. Friends and family will likely have the "I told you so" of it all ready to go once the filing has begun. For many, this may pressure them into staying in an unhappy marriage because they don't want deal with the negativity. However, one of the benefits of realizing a marriage is not working while you are young is that you have plenty of time to start over. Don't let it ruin you for other relationships, but rather use it to know what you want out of your next one.

Furthermore, another unique challenge you face through an early divorce is the financial strain of the process. You may not have to deal with stock portfolios or retirement accounts quite yet, but many young divorcing couples find the divorce process more expensive than they can afford. This means it might be difficult to come up with funding for the legal process, but typically in early divorces, there is not much in the way of asset division. Neither you or your spouse have become accustomed to a lavish way of living because the wages in your early years are somewhat low. Typically this means asset division is easier, but you should both plan for post-marriage life before divorcing. Money may be tight and you should both allow yourself enough time to make arrangements.

While early divorces are stressful and expensive (though not more or less expensive than if you were married 10+ years), you still should not be afraid to go through with it. You deserve to be in a marriage where you are happy. If you are young and considering a divorce, contact us today.

What Happens if One Party Doesn’t Show Up to a Divorce Hearing?

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Divorce is a very contentious time in the lives of divorcing couples. Emotions run hot and a lot of arguments can come up. It often gets to the point where bitterness can take over and one part of a dissolving marriage doesn't want to see the other's face ever again. They think that maybe they can trip things up a little by not showing up to a court date. However, not going to court when ordered to appear is perhaps one of the worst things you can do.

If you or your spouse fail to show up for your scheduled divorce hearing, then it is effectively wasting the court's time, and they are not pleased about it. If no good reason is given, the judge will hold the absent party in contempt of court, authorize a bench warrant for their arrest, and you will likely have to pay a fine for it. Furthermore, skipping a court date in a divorce only works in favor of the party that was present. It could cause a biased in their favor when it comes to the terms of the divorce.

That being said, sometimes one party just wants things to be over without going to court. If you agree to the terms of the divorce, but don't want to sit in court, either party can file for an uncontested divorce. In this, only the filing spouse needs to attend court. However, before this can happen, the separation agreement needs to have agreed upon terms by both parties in regards to spousal support, child support, debt repayment, and property division.

If you are filing for divorce and believe your spouse may be non-compliant to showing up to court or agreeing to an uncontested divorce, contact us today. The good news is that is your spouse is being difficult, the divorce will still progress after filing whether they like it or not. Furthermore, it may even come out more in your favor.

What Happens to the Family Home in a Divorce?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

You made a lot of good memories in your home, and even if your marriage started to sour, those memories may be something you want to hang on to. However, the messiest part of divorce is dividing up the stuff, and the family home is part of that stuff.

If you want to keep the property, your best course of action is to come to some agreement on it. When it comes to property division, real estate isn't physically divided by the courts, but rather it must be sold off and the monetary value is then split between the divorced couple. This means you lose the house and all those memories are now just solely in your mind.

However, there are some cases in which one party may retain ownership without having to make a compromise. The most common situation for this is if the home was bought before the marriage. If you bought the home before the marriage and your name remained the sole name on it, then it will most often be awarded back to you. However, even if you added your ex-spouse's name on to the house, it may still be argued that since you bought the property before the marriage that it is still yours.

Unfortunately, most married couples buy their first home together. This means that no matter how much you cherish those memories, your property will still need to be divided. If you still want to retain it, you will need to work extensively to compromise with your ex-spouse. If you are divorcing and desperately want to keep your family home, contact us today!