Family Law Blog

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! 

If Divorce is on Your Mind

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Are you contemplating divorce? The legal process is complicated and can involve working with your spouse as much as possible to avoid unnecessary conflict, or it could mean a long drawn-out court battle. The important thing to remember is that no two divorces will be precisely the same, as different factors will come into play. 

The First Step

You will either be on the receiving end of a divorce petition, or you will be in the position of serving it to your former partner. You should consider where to file for divorce. Usually, the next step entails you filing papers in the state or county where you or your spouse lives. Also, make sure to familiarize yourself with your state or county's residency requirements so that you are filing in the correct location. If your partner serves in the military, you have the option to file papers where your partner is stationed. 

Will You File for a "No Fault" Divorce?

Choosing between a "fault" and a "no fault" divorce is an important part of the filing process. "Fault" divorces encompass the negative aspects of a marriage such as abuse or adultery. If children aren't in the picture or assets are at a minimum, getting a "summary" divorce is a possibility. Seeking the advice of a lawyer would be wise here, as you don't want to inadvertently surrender your property or child support rights. 

Mediation is Important 

Divorce doesn't need to be synonymous with bitter conflict. Mediation is a very valid option when it comes to resolving the finer points of separation, and can save you quite a bit of time and money. Mediation experts, while not perfect, are experienced in hammering out solutions to points of contention between you and your spouse. This process should be considered among the first steps to take after filing for divorce rather than a last resort.   

If you are contemplating divorce, contact us for more information. 

Will Your Spouse's Unemployment Affect Your Divorce?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

If there is one thing that can quickly ruin a marriage, it is financial issues. If one spouse is unemployed and not able to find work, it can put a lot of stress on your relationship. Combined with other marital problems, this stress might be just enough to make it break. However, if your spouse is unemployed, will it have any effect on your divorce?

The answer is yes. If your spouse isn't working and you have been supporting them, you may find that after your divorce, you will be responsible for paying them maintenance in the form of spousal support. Typically this makes divorces even more contentious because, well, who wants to pay someone they aren't even with anymore?

Luckily, the amount of spousal support is determined by the court. They take into consideration whether or not the unemployment is voluntary, who primarily handled any childcare activities, and if the unemployed spouse is disabled or able to get gainful employment.

With all those things considered, spousal support may be permanent, limited, of a rehabilitative nature, or even meant to repay the spouse for their past financial contributions. So depending on the nature of your spouse's unemployment, it is likely you will have to pay them some spousal support, but it may not be forever. The duration is usually lengthened if they are disabled or if they were the full-time care taker for young children or those with special needs. As those children grow and develop, the court may also expect them to seek employment.

If you are preparing to file for divorce for financial or other reasons and are concerned about paying spousal support, contact us today. The Law Firm of Jamra & Jamra can help you go over your case to see how likely spousal support might be.

How to Come to a Property Division Agreement

Thursday, May 25, 2017

In California, division of property in a divorce follows community property rules. That means that the marital property is not split equitably, but rather evenly across both parties. However, separate property, which was bought by one party in a marriage alone is kept by its owner. However, if you are the major earner in a marriage, and are likely getting the short end of the stick with community property rules, there is a way around it.

While you can let the court decide property division, it is better for both parties to come to an agreement themselves. A property division agreement is an informal agreement with your soon to be ex-spouse where you can both negotiate a fair split. This is a way to easily get around community property rules, but only if both parties agree. Naturally, when the other party could legally be getting more, getting them to agree to a property division agreement is not easy, but not impossible either.

One of the most important things to consider when sitting down for a property division agreement meeting is whether or not to have attorneys present. No matter how friendly you still are with your ex-spouse, it is best for both parties to be represented just so things stay fair. Some parts of the property may have more sentimental value than they do monetary value, which is the major reason to do division of property independent of the court in community property states. By sitting down and doing it independently, everyone can get the specific things they want.

If you are filing for divorce and are looking to sit down to a property division meeting with representation, contact us today.

How Long Do You Have to Pay Spousal Support?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spousal support, or alimony as it is commonly called, is used to make sure both parties are not driven to poverty after a divorce. If one side of a divorcing party is used to a certain standard of living and does not have a way to support that standard themselves, then the other side of a divorcing party will be expected to pay spousal support for them. However, the bright side is that spousal support is not forever.

Most commonly, spousal support will be deemed as rehabilitative. This means the supporting spouse will only need to pay alimony until the receiving spouse has received education or training into order to become self-supporting.

However, not all spousal support awards will be so reasonable. If your divorce decree does not specify an alimony termination date, then the payments will have to continue until the court orders it. Typically alimony can be ended for a number of other reasons, such as if the paying party suffers a significant loss of income. However, most commonly, alimony will end if the recipient remarries or the paying party dies. However, if the recipient still can't support themselves when the paying party dies, alimony can continue to be paid from their estate or life insurance proceeds.

If you are starting divorce proceedings, then alimony may be one of your big worries, but definitely not the only worry. As there is no such thing as an amicable divorce, you need representation to make sure you get your fair share of a dissolved marriage. For consultation on your case, contact us today.

Getting a Temporary Restraining Order

Thursday, April 13, 2017

When most people hear the words restraining order, they think about an abused and scared woman. However, they can also be needed during bitter divorces. They are also called an order of protection and are put in place to help people going through divorces.

Everyone knows that divorce can really hurt people and families, causing them to act inappropriately. They may lash out physically, emotionally, and even financially. For this reason, many people get a temporary restraining order in order to protect their family.

Some people will do anything when they are faced with an awful divorce. They may try to move the children without the other parent knowing. They may wipe out combined bank accounts, leaving the other person with no money at all. Really scared people may take a loan out on the house without the other person knowing.

Because of this, temporary restraining orders can maintain the status quo until your divorce is over. It is temporary and will end as soon as your divorce is all settled. By then, you will know how everything is divided and settled and there will be no need for any harsh actions. It will be time to let go and start to move on.

In order to get a temporary restraining order, the party will need to file a petition for a restraining order at the same time that he or she files for divorce. The sooner this is done, the less likely that you will have to worry about protecting your family and your money. However, a temporary restraining order can also be issued at any time during the divorce if the need arises.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for all of your legal needs. We want to make sure that you and your family are protected during this scary time in your life.


Divorce: What About The "Fur Babies"?

Thursday, April 06, 2017

We have reached a point in the journey of man where a canine companion is no longer viewed as a tool to be disposed of when it is no longer useful. Dogs have truly become "man's best friend" and couples even talk of their "fur babies" as members of their family. 

We have also reached a point in the journey of mankind where the divorce rate is above 50 percent. This begs the question, what happens to the dogs in the event of divorce? 

What Does The Law Say?

How dogs are treated in a divorce depends on the state the divorce is taking place in. Some states treat dogs as if they are inanimate property, while others have detailed statutes about how to divide up canine custody. For example, Alaska recently passed a law that will treat dogs as children while Texas treats dogs no differently than Grandpa's work bench. 

In California, pets are considered to be personal property, with courts working only to award a pet to one of the spouses in the event of divorce. While some courts will consider the best interest of the pet in making a decision, this is not a given. Where possible, it can be beneficial for the couple to work out a contractual agreement on their own in order to avoid litigation. 

Peace Of Mind For Beverly Hills Pet Owners

If you are considering a divorce and have concerns about what will happen to your dog, speaking to an experienced divorce lawyer can help put your mind at ease. Contact us to schedule a consultation.


What if My Spouse is Hiding Assets in Our Divorce?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Divorce is sometimes messy, and sometimes it involves one spouse hiding assets from the other.  Because California is a "community property" state, meaning that all property acquired during a marriage is marital property and jointly owned, spouses are occasionally tempted to keep some assets a secret so that they are not evenly split with their soon-to-be ex-partner.  

In fact, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education, nearly one-third of people admit to financial deception with their partner. It is logical to assume that divorce does not improve these percentages. Automobiles and other tangible items are hard to hide, but bank accounts, investment accounts and retirement accounts are more easily concealed.

California Family Code Section 2100 states that divorcing parties must provide "full and accurate disclosure of all assets and liabilities in which one or both parties have or may have an interest."  Although not doing this might be tempting, it is a bad idea and carries severe penalties.  

If one party does not accurately disclose all assets and engages in "oppression, fraud, or malice" as outlined in Section 3294 of California's Civil Code, then the court must award 100% of the hidden assets to the spouse from whom they were concealed. In other words, if a husband hides his $50,000 savings account from his wife during the divorce and meets the "oppression, fraud or malice" criteria, then a judge will award the $50,000 to the wife.  The court might also award attorney fees.

If you are considering divorce, then please contact us.  Our skilled, dedicated attorneys will review your situation and determine the best path forward.  We are here to protect your rights.

Divorce: Making Things Right During The Holidays

Friday, December 09, 2016

Anyone who has experienced a divorce or is currently experiencing a divorce knows that a divorce can turn things upside down. Everything can change during a divorce. When parents make the decision to split, it seems that everything will be impacted. This is especially true when it comes to the holiday season.

The holidays can be a very difficult time for a divided family who has to make arrangements so the children can spend time with both parents. The old holiday traditions are a thing of the past, and parents now have to create new traditions and start new memories.

If the parents are going to work together to give their children the best holiday experiences, there needs to be a detailed visitation schedule when the parents agree to co-parent. The schedules and agreements should not be vague because these types of agreements will likely fall apart very quickly.

The holidays should be an enjoyable time for families, but this is not always the case when families have separated and the children have to spend the holidays in two homes. However, when parents can agree and stick to a schedule and any other agreement, there will be a less amount of stress and there will be no arguments and disagreements.

The court system is available to help families figure things out and do what is best for the children, but one of the best things parents can do is try to work things out on their own. If families do not want to be stress and burdened with going to court, they should try to work together and keep things positive.

We do understand that sometimes families need to go through the court system so they can be advised of the best steps to take. If you need advice about your situation or if you would like a consultation, do not hesitate to contact us today.


My Divorce is Amicable: I Don't Need an Attorney, Right?

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Many people going through an amicable divorce think that involving attorneys in the process is unnecessary. While this is sometimes true, there are many reasons why going through a divorce without legal representation can be dangerous—even when spouses are getting along with each other.

If you are going through a divorce, an attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected. An attorney can also ensure that the formalities of divorce agreements are met. Additionally, an experienced attorney will be able to forecast issues that may arise in the future, and help you plan for them accordingly.

Protect your rights

It is always a good idea to at least consult an attorney before signing or consenting to any major commitments. The terms of a divorce can influence your life for a long time. Play it safe and talk things over with an attorney, even if you feel like you have it under control.

Ensure that your agreements are binding

Like any contractual agreement, there are certain formal requirements that must be met for divorce agreements to be binding. An attorney can ensure that these requirements are met.

Plan for the future

Custody and alimony arrangements may need to change in the future. Sometimes property divisions that seemed fair at the time are revealed to be unfair later. An attorney can help you prepare for these types of occurrences.

If you there is no major property involved, no children, and no chance that either party will seek alimony, a divorce attorney may not be necessary. However, if any of these factors are present, an attorney can help make sure the process goes smoothly and that any agreements reached are fair and binding. If you would like more information about this issue, please contact us today.