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The Path for Unwed Fathers to Get Child Custody

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

If you have a child without the bonds of marriage, only to split as a couple later, getting child custody can seem like a hopeless path. Although marriage is less important than it once was, the family court system still strongly favors the mother. However, the path for unwed fathers to child custody isn't completely out of reach.

Establishing Paternity

For married couples, paternity is always presumed unless evidence is presented otherwise. For couples without an official marriage, the opposite is the case. The first step in a child custody case for unwed fathers is to establish their paternity through a test.

Filing a Custody Case for Unwed Fathers

With your child's paternity unquestioned, you can file a child custody case. It is likely that you will be able to secure shared custody, but if you are concerned for your child, full custody is not impossible either. In these cases, you will need to present strong evidence of the mother's neglect and unfit parenting. It is particularly difficult for a father, wed or unwed, to get full custody, but if the courts have unquestionable evidence of unfit parenting for the mother, then they will grant it.

What Happens Next?

As we said before, once paternity is established, the road to shared custody at least is rather smooth. There will be some bumps, of course, especially when it comes to setting up a parenting plan. However, you will have the rights you are entitled to.

Learn More About the Path for Unwed Fathers to Get Child Custody

If you are a father that is seeking custody of your child, or just a parent that doesn't know where to start when it comes to child custody cases, we can help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help.

Different Ways to Determine Child Custody Issues

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

There is no "one size fits all" for resolving child custody issues. At the foundation of every custody case, the law will always look to what is in the best interest of the children. Some parents may be able to agree on what that means for their family. They may agree where the children will live and who will have legal custody to make decisions about education and health. In these cases, the expense and time of litigation may not make sense. There may be other more effective ways to reach a resolution like mediation or a collaborative approach.

In other cases, the two parents may find it difficult to agree on anything. There may be one controlling adult who makes outlandish demands on the other parent. This can be especially frustrating. In situations like these, it might be best to litigate the case before a judge. However, because litigation can be a costly and lengthy process, it is best to consult an experienced family attorney to discuss your legal options. Our attorneys at Jamra & Jamra have extensive experience and are strong negotiators. They will help you make the right decision for your situation.  

Child Custody Options in California

There are several options to resolve a custody dispute in California. These include: (1) mediation, (2) collaboration, and (3) litigation.

Mediation

Mediation is when a mediator facilitates the child custody discussion. The mediator will always be a neutral party. They can offer insightful information and suggestions. However, a mediator will not advocate for your particular custody rights. If you are thinking about mediation, it is important to visit an experienced attorney so that you can know your protections as a parent.  Once an agreement is made, it may be harder to re-visit those agreements in the future.  

Collaborative Law

Collaborative law, like mediation, empowers the parties to reach an agreement. However, the major difference between mediation and collaboration, is that collaboration has an entire team working towards one common goal. This approach is more often used in divorce where child custody is one aspect of the divorce. The team may include two collaboratively trained lawyers, two divorce coaches, and one financial specialist. There may also be a child specialist or tax attorney.

Litigation

In some cases, mediation or collaboration is not an option. You want to protect your rights as a parent and protect your children as well. Going to court, gives the judge the power to decide what is in the best interest of the children, according to the law. Instead of having the parties decide, each parent submits evidence to show the judge what they believe is in the child's best interest. However, the judge will ultimately make a decision based on the evidence submitted by both parties.

Conclusion

If you would like to speak about your options for child custody, there are many ways to get to the result you want. Our experienced attorneys will sit down with you to discuss your particular situation, what the law allows, and the best way to get you there. We invite you to contact us to schedule a consultation.

Are Child Support Agreements Permanent?

Friday, January 15, 2021

After the end of child support deliberations, the judge will assign how much child support one parent must pay to the other parent in order to support their children. However, you may wonder how permanent this child support agreement is. Certainly you will be free from it once your child reaches their 18th birthday providing there are not any college education stipulations. Yet, child support agreements can be surprisingly flexible if your situation has changed.

It Depends on Your Situation

What you need to keep in mind about child support agreements is that they are based on your present situation at that time. If your situation changes for the worse, you are fully within your right to seek a modification of that child support agreement. Having one parent left destitute in order to support their children is not something that court wants. If you have lost your job and have been forced to take lesser employment, you can return to court and ask them to modify the child support agreement.

It merits mentioning that you cannot quit your job and should not try to get yourself fired in order to lessen spousal or child support commitments. It is not something the courts will look kindly on, and there are ways that they can find out what you are doing. However, if the situation is out of your control, then the agreement will likely be modified to fit your new situation.

Conclusion

While child support agreements seem like they are pretty concrete, they are in fact very flexible when life does happen. You want to support your children and the courts want to make sure you can do that sustainably. If you are going through the child custody and support process, and what to make sure you get an agreement that is fair to you, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help.

Fighting False Accusations in Child Custody Cases

Friday, January 08, 2021

Divorces are notorious for being messy. When children are involved, a divorce can get downright vicious. Unfortunately, when the claws come out, so, too, can the false allegations. Your ex-spouse could start flinging false allegations at you to get the upper hand. They need not be proven to be true, but can have negative effects. If you are concerned about false allegations in your child custody case, here is what you need to do.

Child Custody Cases

As child custody cases are not criminal court cases where evidence needs to be presented to support your guilt, you need to consider it the reverse. If you believe that false allegations will be thrown around, you need to gather evidence to support your innocence. Witness statements from caretakers and teachers if your child is of school age are particularly helpful when it comes to allegations of abuse.

Legal Documents

However, one of the more problematic allegations is lying on legal documents, especially if it is technically true. There is a reason you want to be absolutely truthful on legal documents, and that is because it is a crime not to be. If your ex-spouse uses the fact that you may have stretched the truth on legal documents against you, it can be particularly harmful and can be very difficult to defend. A judge sees this and thinks you may not be as diligent in respecting a child custody agreement either.

Conclusion

When you believe that false allegations may become part of your child custody case, the best defense you have is a great lawyer. They can work to unravel these allegations before they have a serious effect. If you are starting the child custody process, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you navigate these complicated waters.

Making the Grade: From Co-Parents to Virtual Classroom Co-Teachers

Friday, December 04, 2020

Educational decisions are typically custodial decisions to be made jointly by both parents. However, those decisions can be anything but typical when two co-parents must collaborate as co-teachers to facilitate at-home, virtual education. What if you and your co-parent cannot agree on how much parental supervision or cooperation a child needs? What if there are inconsistent resources or follow-through in each home? How can you ensure you remain equally involved in your child's education plan while still working within the parameters of your existing co-parenting plan?

Lesson One: Communication

Co-parents who are co-teaching must develop a plan for timely information sharing and decision-making. For example, it may be helpful to download a co-parenting communication app that provides a shared calendar for enrollment decision deadlines, assignments, and more. Then, even parents who are not on the same page can be on the same screen.

Lesson Two: Core Values

Not every parent understands the Common Core curriculum, but all parents understand their family's common goals and core values. If one parent is more available for supervised learning and the other parent has a rigid work schedule that cannot accommodate homeschooling, stop keeping score of hours and overnights and focus on the joint goal of successfully educating your child. Lean into your respective situations. Find creative ways for the homeschooling parent to get a break and for the non-schooling parent to be more involved.

Lesson Three: Continuity

For a child to have a successful virtual learning experience, there needs to be continuity between the "schools" in each home. So, if the child needs an internet connection for virtual learning, or a dedicated study area free from intrusion or interruptions, both homes should provide it. Allocating the responsibility and the resources for learning between both homes ensures fairness to both parents and gives the child security.

Conclusion

If co-parenting while co-teaching has you feeling overwhelmed or has left you with more questions than answers, you are not alone. Contact us at Jamra & Jamra for the thoughtful and specific guidance you need to ensure an A+ co-parenting experience.

Who Pays for a Child's Health Insurance?

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Affordable Care Act states that all children under the age of 18 must be covered by health insurance. However, that is not always as simple as it sounds, especially for divorcing parents. In many cases, the child will also be covered by the health insurance that a parent may get through their work. Even if the parents are divorced, the children will still be covered by the health insurance of choice or if the non-custody holding parent only has health insurance. Unfortunately, if neither parent has health insurance through their work, the coverage becomes a little more complex.

A Judge Decides

If neither parent can cover health insurance for a child post-divorce from their job, they will have to buy health insurance for their child. Unfortunately, this can be costly – as much as $1,000 per month. Who covers this cost? While mediation can negotiate splitting costs or help decide the paying party, if you take it to court, a judge will make the decision simple.

Healthcare for the child, under the eyes of the judge, is necessary for the support of the child. As such, it will typically be factored into child support payments. This means that the custody-holding parent will likely be responsible for finding health insurance for their child, but the support-paying parent will be paying for it with their monthly support payments.

This is not an ideal situation for the support-paying parent. Health insurance is expensive and the support payer may not be convinced that their huge support payment is really going to solid health insurance. However, if it is discovered that the custody-holding parent is not being aboveboard, they can be taken to court for it.

Learn More About Children's Health Insurance

Are you going through a divorce or have any other family law issue? We can help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get the best possible results.

Can Child Support Agreements Be Made Outside of Court?

Friday, September 11, 2020

For many, the costs of divorce and separation are prohibitive. No one wants to go to court, and no one really wants to pays the court their fees for their service or for legal representation in the courtroom. However, much of divorce and child support negotiation can be done outside of the courtroom to keep things affordable.

In a Courtroom

There is no requirement that says child support and parenting plans need to be figured out in the courtroom in front of a judge. Often, you will want your lawyer to help suggest what is fair in terms of child support, but much of everything else can be figured out between the two parents outside of the courtroom.

Unfortunately, when it comes to child support agreements, you can't escape the need for a judge. Once a parenting plan and child support agreement has been figured out between two parents, it will need to be presented to a judge for their approval. When it comes to child support, the first priority of the judge is the well-being of your child. As such, they will make sure the agreement looks fair and it good interest to the child. They will then approve or reject it appropriately.

This is a necessary step, but while it may be an extra cost to you, it is to your benefit. Having a judge approve your support agreement will make it legally binding. If your ex-spouse violates it, then you can take legal action against them. This is why you want to make sure as many bases as possible are covered in the agreement.

Learn More About Making Child Support Agreements Outside of Court

Are you preparing to go through a divorce or have some other family law issue? We can help. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra can do to help you get the best possible results.

Do You Need to Pay Child Support If You Are on Unemployment?

Friday, August 28, 2020

Hard times have hit everyone after the pandemic-caused economic dip. While things are slowly recovering, there are many who are still on unemployment and filing for it after businesses fail to recover from their loss in business. This can be a difficult time but is made even more so if you have child support payments to consider.

Unemployment Benefits

If you are on unemployment benefits, you will still be expected to pay your child support. Failure to do so can result in a court action that will often result in you paying even more punitively. The good news is that if your unemployment benefits prove significantly lower than your previous income, the courts will consider this. They may lower your expected payment until you can resume work. Once that is done, your current pay will be examined, and the payments will be readjusted again.

Child Support Payments

If you have lost your job and are ineligible for unemployment, your child support payments may be temporarily stopped, but that doesn't mean you won't pay. What happens is that the court will want you to document your ongoing job search to prove you are looking. Once you have found a new job, your child support payments will resume. They will also likely be higher as you make up for the missed payment from your period of unemployment. This is why if you have some savings during an unemployed period, it may be better just to continue payments. Especially if you expect your job search to be a short one.

Learn More About Paying Child Support If You Are Unemployed

Do you have child support payments and a difficult financial situation? Are you getting ready to go through a divorce? We can help. Contact us today to let the professionals at the Law Office of Jamra & Jamra help you with all your complex family law issues so you can get the best possible results.

More Tips for Same Sex Marriages Ending in Divorce

Monday, August 17, 2020

When it became legal to marry someone of the same sex, many rushed to the alter because they finally could. However, others decided that they were fine the way that things were.  They decided not to change anything about their lives. 

However, once married, same-sex couples can also get divorced. It can be messy and complicated. Here are some more things to consider when getting a divorce.

Think About Your Children

If you have adopted children during your marriage, you have to consider their needs. You are going to have to come up with a good custody arrangement that works for everyone. If needed, you should pay child support so that your children can continue the life that they have been living.

Find a Way to Co-Parent Together

If you have children together, you are going to be in each other's lives for the rest of your lives. The sooner that you can get along, the better off you will be. It will also be much easier on your children if you are able to spend holidays and special occasions together.

Get the Help That You Need

If you are really struggling, you may want to talk to a therapist. He or she will help you find ways to cope with your divorce and all of the feelings that you are having. It can really make a difference in healing after a divorce.

Don't Give Up

Just because you are getting divorced doesn't mean that you are a failure. You are going to find someone again that makes you happy and ready to settle down again. You may even decide to marry again. In fact, many people are much happier in their second divorce because they really know what they want and need from their partner.

Find More More Tips for Same Sex Marriages Ending in Divorce 

If you have children, you need to consider them during your divorce. They need both of you in their lives so it is important to learn to work together so that they still have a good life. Then, if you are struggling, you need to get some help. There is nothing wrong with talking to someone as you adjust to this new time in your life. 

Contact us for all of your legal needs. We will be glad to help you get through this difficult time. 

The Child Support Process Doesn't Have to Be Scary

Friday, July 17, 2020

Unfortunately, just the words "child support" can strike fear in the hearts of fathers and mothers alike. It is a stigmatized government system that is often misunderstood and seen as a necessary evil. 

In reality, child support is designed to ensure children receive consistent and reliable support from both of their parents. This is best achieved by understanding each parent's current life circumstances and then guiding them how to best provide for their children in both homes. 

An Unbiased System

The system is set up to be unbiased. Payment responsibility and amounts are calculated using an impartial statewide calculation system. Items that impact responsibility and amount include:

  • Gross income
  • Expenses
  • Amount of time spent with child(ren)

With regards to the last item, it is important that each parent accurately documents the amount of time spent with their child(ren) in case it becomes a "he said/she said" situation at any point. The court looks favorably on a paper trail. Minimally, use a calendar to not only note sleepovers, but also rides to/from school, extracurricular activities spent together, visits and so on. An hour here and a couple hours there adds up quickly. It is particularly important to note when custody schedules are not being upheld and why.

Professionals Remove the Emotional Factor

Many amicable parents tend to handle the payment of child support on their own, trusting the paying parent to do so in a timely manner. Unfortunately, the relationship could take a turn for the worse for a wide variety of reasons, and withholding child support is often the first line of attack.  

This can be avoided by engaging with a professional right from the beginning. It takes the emotion out of the equation since the agency is in the middle acting as a non-partial gatekeeper, so to speak. Children's lives are kept more consistent and stable, which is of utmost priority.

Let Jamra & Jamra Help

Jamra & Jamra's Beverly Hills child support lawyers have been practicing family law in California for nearly 40 years. We are experts at providing guidance through complex and emotionally fraught child custody and child support scenarios.

Examples of services typically provided are:

Please contact us for a free in-office initial consultation. After a thorough analysis of the facts of the case, our lawyers will promptly offer all of the legal options available.