Family Law Blog

Things to Consider As You Start the Divorce Process

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Getting divorced can cause a lot of anxiety, due to a number of reasons. How will your property be divided? What happens when you are paying, or want someone to pay, child support out-of-state? Should seemingly insignificant things like the court date be thought about ahead of time? These are all important questions, each deserving your full attention and the sustained support of your legal counsel.

Property Disbursement

Property disbursement law in divorce cases is a complex issue. However, common sense rules still apply. For instance, property acquired before the marriage is typically sacrosanct from legal division. While this seems simple in principle, you might find you suffer from a lack of receipts or other proof that small-time items are, indeed, yours.

Child Support

Federal law requires each state to have an implemented child support system, but being the non-custodial parent out-of-state doesn't exempt that person from paying child support. Interstate legal proceedings involving child support are especially complicated. Each state has their own legal structure that determines who pays what to whose child and that state-specific legal structure has to interact with federal law which governs the whole thing.

Does timing matter?

The Huffington Post suggests that you think wisely about when you'll file for divorce. Your choice of date can determine how much of your 401k goes to your spouse. Also, filing for divorce before you have separated for a year could cause you to have to endure legal proceedings for a second time.

If you need help with any of these issues, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Are You Aware Of These Spousal Support Myths?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Spousal support payments are payments that are paid from one spouse to the other after a divorce. There are various elements surrounding spousal support which can lead to people believing the different myths and misconceptions that are out there.

If you are near a separation or a divorce, you should be aware of the actual facts about spousal support. Here are some myths and misconceptions about spousal support:

The Spouse Will Always Receive Support

This is not true. Many people think that spousal support payments will be made for life. There is no set length of time for spousal support payments to be made. The length spousal support payments are to be made will depend on a variety of factors. The judge will consider various factors, including the other spouse's ability to earn money and make a living.

Women Do Not Pay Spousal Support

Women can pay spousal support. Women work and some women are the family's sole income earner. When this is the case, men will be the ones receiving spousal support payments.

The Spousal Support Agreement Cannot Be Changed

The amount of spousal support payments can be changed or stopped completely if certain circumstances come about. If the ex-spouse who is receiving child support payments is eventually able to support himself/herself without the need of support, payments can be stopped early. If the spouse receiving spousal support marries again, spousal support payments can also be stopped.

Spousal support decisions can impact one's life in a number of ways. Decisions about spousal support should be made carefully, with the assistance of a professional. Contact us today if you need a consultation.


Selling the Family Home After a Divorce

Thursday, July 07, 2016

One of the hardest parts about going through a divorce is property division. Not only do you have to decide who is responsible for this process, but you have to go through many emotions when letting go of certain items.

The family home is definitely a source of anguish for divorcing couples. If you are forced to sell the home, here are a few tips to help make the process smoother.

Settle Some Things Up Front

Before you list your home, you will want to settle a few details with your ex-spouse up front. For example, you should discuss which agent you plan to use as well as what the asking price will be. In addition to this, you will need to discuss plans for showing the home and how you will review any offers that are put on the table.

Choose a Realtor with Divorce Experience

When you are choosing a realtor, make sure you choose one that has experience with selling homes due to divorce. Since the process of selling a family home is difficult under these circumstances, your realtor will have a larger role than normal. Choosing one with prior experience in this touchy subject will help make the process flow smoothly.

Prepare your Home

Finally, you will need to spend some time preparing your home for the home viewing process. You and your ex-spouse will need to decide ahead of time, which portion of the belongings you each plan to keep. Remove as much clutter as possible and make any necessary repairs before you list the home.

Property division throughout a divorce is never a simple process. However, when emotions are running high in relation to certain property, the process can be even more difficult. Using these tips will help you smooth over these feelings and get the process over with as soon as possible.

For more assistance with your divorce, contact us today.


Staying Strong: 5 Tips for Divorcing Parents

Friday, April 15, 2016

A divorce is a difficult change for everyone in the family. Learning what to expect during a divorce will not only help your children, it will help you and your spouse work through the complex emotions that arise. Here are some things to keep in mind for the sake of yourself and your children.

You're Not a Failure

You need to be aware of your own feelings just as much as your children's. It's common for divorcing parents to feel like they've failed, but that's simply not true. Your marriage has nothing to do with your ability to be a good parent. Know that you can still be there for your child in your own way and that it's okay to feel confused. You're not alone.

Vent About Your Ex - But Not to Your Children

Avoid negative talk about your ex. Anger and guilt are the most common emotions during a divorce, and it may be tempting to vent your frustrations. Don't do so around your children. It's okay to talk to your kids about what's going on and your emotions, but try to talk about it in a productive way. If you need to let off some steam about your ex, consider talking to a therapist or writing in a journal.

Don't Discuss the Details Around Your Kids

You and your spouse will have a lot of complex topics to discuss, like the division of assets and child custody. These are topics that are best discussed when your kids aren't around. Of course, it's important to talk with your children about the separation, but leave the more "adult" topics for a later date.

Be Prepared for Behavioral Changes

Children react in different ways to a divorce. Some kids will act up at school or at home. Other children may bottle up their emotions, which can manifest as physical illnesses. Keep an eye on your child's eating and sleeping habits, and don't be afraid to ask teachers for progress reports. Sometimes, asking your child how he or she is feeling is enough to start the conversation and come up with a solution together.

Make Your Own Joy

Take a little time every day to find happiness, independently and with your kids. Take a day off from work and go out for ice cream. Make a new tradition with your kids, like a game night after dinner. Intentionally spending time like this will help you to rediscover your ability to live in the moment and be grateful for the little joyous moments that happen every day.

You don't have to go through this on your own. Jamra & Jamra can help you with the divorce process and all the emotions that come along with it. Contact us today.

Do Not Let Emotions Interfere With Property Division and More During a Divorce

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The divorce process can be time-consuming and costly in addition to emotionally draining, which is all why it is easy to make mistakes when dissolving a marriage. Consider these tips when wanting to minimize financial expenses.

Focus on the important things:

Some people think divorce is the proper time to get revenge or air grievances, but this only draws out the process and makes it more expensive. It is important to try to act rationally instead of thinking with anger, grief or guilt. To get the best outcome from a divorce, you may need counseling or an attorney first.

Know when patience is necessary: 

Whether you are letting emotions get the best of you or dealing with a spouse who is, waiting out drama is often necessary to avoid regrets later. Trying to rush a divorce or giving in out of exhaustion will only result in an unsatisfactory settlement on your part. If there is an issue of contention or spouses have trouble communicating, alternate forms of divorce like negotiation or mediation might help.

Try to work together: 

Emotions do not always have to get the better of those going through a divorce. To resolve a divorce in a timely matter, both partners typically need to communicate honestly and be open to compromise. It may help if you have a few priorities in regards to matters like property division, alimony or child custody as this lets you focus on what you find most valuable while making concessions with less important items.

An attorney could offer a more objective point of view and help one negotiate and reach an agreeable settlement, so contact us when going through a divorce.

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Who Gets the House? Property Division in California Divorces

Friday, March 11, 2016

California is a community property state, meaning that all property and debts acquired during the marriage must be divided equally among the spouses. However, property division is not always as easy as splitting assets 50/50. A common concern of divorcing couples is the disposition of the family home. After all, the home is often one of the couple's most valuable assets.

There are many arrangements for disposing of the home depending on the family's circumstances. One of the easiest is simply selling the home and splitting the proceeds equally.

However, sale of the home may not be possible due to a slow real estate market or negative equity in the home. Additionally, the issue can be complicated due to the emotional significance of the family home. One spouse may not wish to sell the home and all of the memories it represents. Other spouses may wish to avoid further emotional distress to children by allowing them to remain in the home.

When one spouse is adamant about keeping the home for sentimental reasons and can afford to maintain the home with no financial assistance from the other spouse, one alternative is to allow that spouse to buy out the other's interest in the property. Where both spouses are concerned about the impact of the home's sale on their children, both may agree to maintain joint ownership and to allow the custodial parent exclusive use of it. In slow real estate markets, the couple may agree to maintain the home as a joint investment in hopes that the home's value may increase over time.

However, these arrangements require a level of cooperation between the divorcing spouses that is not always possible.Contact us today if you are divorcing and are concerned about the ultimate disposition of your home and other assets. Whether you need an attorney who can craft a workable compromise with your ex or need one who can litigate your position aggressively in court, we can help.

Conciliation Court for Child Custody Mediation

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sometimes when two parents decide to separate or divorce and there are children in the relationship, the parents will go to conciliatory court for child custody mediation. If there is a custody dispute, mediation will be mandatory. Even if the two parents are not disputing custody, mediation can be a great way to work out the issues of custody and do what is best for the child(ren) in each situation.

You do not need to be nervous about attending conciliation court. It might help, however, if you have an idea of what to expect before you attend. First, you need to set up an appointment with the court. Appointments are typically scheduled in the courthouse where the hearing will be held. In some counties of California, it can also be held in other Conciliation Court Offices so you might call around if you are looking for a shorter wait on an appointment.

When you arrive at Court, both parties will be asked to sign in and complete an information form. If you do not want to feel rushed filling it out, you can request the form in advance and bring it with you already filled out. The mediator will review your form to gain information about the family before sitting to talk with you.

Initially, both parties will be told the rules of mediation. Be sure you listen and ask questions if you need clarification. Breaking the rules of mediation could affect your child custody decisions. The mediator may meet with both parties together, meet with you individually, or both at different times.

The mediator will ask questions to gain more insight and understanding of the family and the needs of the children. The mediator will also share information with both parties about the needs of the children, to include developmental and emotional needs, and more. You will also discuss things like holidays, school, transportation and other important needs and schedules of the child.

As the final task of mediation, you will discuss the potential options and the best resolution for the children. The goal is to be able to walk away from conciliation court with a custody agreement all parties can agree upon.

If you'd like to learn more about child custody mediation, conciliation court in California, or other family law matters, contact us today.


Does it Matter Who Files for Divorce First in California?

Friday, November 20, 2015

There are very few situations where rushing to file for divorce is advantageous. Unless there is an urgent need to file immediately, such as physical abuse or the need to protect children and assets, the decision to divorce should be a well thought out and calculated plan. Generally, there is little to gain from rushing to file, however it may be beneficial at times.

First, filing first will determine the jurisdiction and venue that the divorce case is heard in. This is especially important if you and your spouse live in different counties, states, or even countries. The jurisdiction of the court allows your case to move forward. If you live in Orange County, but your estranged spouse files for divorce in Sonoma County first, the divorce proceedings will take place in Sonoma. This creates the need to find a local attorney in Sonoma County and to travel across the state for all court appearances. 

If you believe your children are in danger physically or your spouse may abduct them, you should always file for divorce immediately. Family courts have the power to issue immediate orders concerning the children. Choose a lawyer that will aggressively address your concerns. Not doing so can result in you being forced to file in another jurisdiction in an attempt to recover the children. It can also hurt your case later if the court questions why you did not take action if you truly believed the children were in danger.  

For more information on divorce proceedings, contact us today. Our experienced attorneys are ready to assist and will fight to protect you and your children. 

Why Timing Is Crucial in Your Divorce

Thursday, July 09, 2015

The recently announced divorce of Hollywood stars Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner has raised eyebrows because of its timing. The couple filed for divorce exactly 10 years and one day after they were married. In other words, they seem to have waited until the ten-year mark to file for divorce, and that may not have been a coincidence.

Under California laws, a marriage that has lasted 10 years is considered a long-term marriage, and that will have an impact on the division of assets, spousal maintenance, and other aspects related to the divorce. Not only is the amount of spousal maintenance impacted by the length of the marriage, but the duration of the spousal maintenance or the number of years which the payer will continue to make spousal maintenance payments is also impacted by the length of the marriage. The spouse who is learning less can petition for more alimony or alimony of longer duration.

There is also speculation that there could have possibly been clauses in the Affleck-Garner prenuptial agreement that provided for additional benefits to one partner if the marriage lasted for at least 10 years. That is not unheard of in a prenuptial agreement, and very often, there are clauses in these agreements that will give one partner a heftier spousal maintenance, or spousal maintenance of a much longer duration if the marriage has lasted for a certain number of years.

Some clauses, for instance, will allow the lesser-earning spouse to receive a certain additional settlement amount for every additional year of the marriage after a ten-year anniversary. That can add to the overall settlement, which is the reason why timing is so important in a divorce.

What Is a Collaborative Divorce?

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

A collaborative divorce is a divorce that is not contentious or contested. In this kind of divorce, the couple will agree to meet with each other, possibly with their attorneys present in order to hash out issues.

A collaborative divorce will help end the marriage without any contentious issues being taken to court. The couple may in some cases involve a mediator, to help them come to resolution of any disputes if these exist. Typically however, these divorces are ideally suited for those marriages or divorces in which the spouses expect to resolve all issues without any hostility.

When there are children involved, the parents do not want to put them through a traumatic or long drawn-out divorce battle. For obvious reasons, they want to settle all issues related to the divorce with as little stress and trauma on the children as possible. A collaborative divorce, therefore, will allow the parties to reach an agreement that is in their mutual best interests, while prioritizing the children.

In a collaborative divorce, the parties will have control over the process, because they're involved in making decisions, instead of deciding to trust the court to make the decisions for them. However, there are certain key requirements that must be in place for a collaborative divorce to work. Both of the spouses must agree right at the outset, that they will not choose the litigation route to resolve their disputes. If both of the parties are mutually agreeable about the need to avoid litigation, a collaborative divorce can work. Besides, it is also important to seek out attorneys, mediators, and possibly even psychological health professionals in order to help you resolve the disputes.