Deciding whether to file for divorce can be one of the most difficult decisions you have ever faced. However, it is a choice that millions of people in the US will ultimately make. The American Psychological Association (APA) estimates that 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the US end in divorce. While each case is going to be different, there are still common reasons why people end their marriages. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Infidelity: Strong marriages are built on a foundation of mutual trust. Although there are exceptions to this rule, marriages can fall apart when one or both partners are unfaithful. If you can no longer trust your spouse, and believe you never will again, it might be time to consider a divorce.
- Irreconcilable differences: Some couples have differences that cannot be resolved with therapy, mediation or by other means. As a result, the marriage becomes unworkable. This is a very, very common reason couples seek a divorce.
- Abuse: Marriages can fall apart when one or both partners are abusive. Abuse can be psychological, financial, emotional or physical. You may no longer feel safe in your own home. It is extremely important to seek help as soon as possible if you are being abused.
- Unhappiness: Divorce may be a good choice when one or both partners are unhappy with the marriage and expect the unhappiness to continue. If the thought of remaining married makes you depressed or anxious, it may be time to consider divorce.
- Constant arguments: Marriages can fall apart when both spouses are constantly angry with each other. Constant arguments or the feeling that you are always walking on eggshells around your spouse could be an indicator that it is time to end the marriage.
- Growing apart: Do you purposefully avoid your spouse? Does he or she do the same? Do you no longer feel a connection with your spouse? If you have grown apart and no longer have feelings for your spouse, then it may be time to question the purpose of staying married.
- Other attempts to repair the marriage have failed: Some spouses go through marriage counseling before seeking divorce. In other cases, spouses may try to repair the relationship on their own. If these attempts have failed, especially more than once, then divorce is an option you may want to consider.
There thousands of reasons why people ultimately make the choice to file for divorce. Whether divorce is the right choice for you is something that involves deep contemplation. You should also consider the possible legal and financial consequences that may come with a divorce. How could the property be divided if I file? Could I be required to pay child support, alimony or both? A San Jose divorce attorney at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. could help with this aspect of making the decision to divorce.
It can be difficult for law enforcement officers to determine whether motorists are under the influence of marijuana. There may be no smell or signs of impairment. Marijuana also complicates DUI laws in California in other ways. Law enforcement officers may use several tools to determine whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana.
- Field sobriety tests: Officers may ask you to perform one of several field sobriety tests if they suspect you are under the influence. These are physical or mental exercises that are supposed to help officers determine whether you are impaired.
- Blood, saliva or urine tests: You might be required to take a blood or urine test if an officer has probable cause to believe you are driving under the influence of marijuana. California law enforcement officers have also used roadside saliva mouth swab tests on motorists.
- Drug recognition experts (DREs): Some police departments may have drug recognition expert programs. Police officers who participate in these programs receive training to spot drug impairment. In some cases, they may be called to a DUI stop to evaluate drivers who are suspected of being under the influence of drugs.
- Asking questions: Police may simply ask drivers whether they are impaired by marijuana or if they can search the vehicle. In some cases, motorists may become scared of being arrested or searched and fess up to the officer.
What if I’m Charged with a Marijuana DUI in California?
There are currently few reliable ways to test for marijuana impairment. THC metabolites (THC is the active ingredient in marijuana) may be detected by urine tests for weeks or months after the last use. A person is not impaired several weeks after the last use of marijuana. Drug tests can also result in false positives. You could fail a field sobriety test even if you are sober. As a result, you could be charged with a DUI even if you were not under the influence of marijuana at the time of your arrest.
There are strong defense options for a marijuana DUI. If you are being charged, you should speak with a San Jose marijuana dui defense attorney right away. The attorneys at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. could help determine which defense options would best suit your case.
Alternative sentencing options allow you to avoid jail or prison time. Which options are available would depend on the circumstances of your case. Judges can determine alternative sentencing options based on multiple factors, such as your age, nature of the crime or prior criminal history (if there is one). These are only a few of many possible examples what might be considered. Options for alternative sentencing may include:
- Probation: With this option, you are allowed to stay in the community instead of serving time in jail. However, there is a catch. You will have to meet the requirements of your probation. Conditions during probation could include performing community service, meeting with your probation officer, refraining from drug and alcohol use, attending addiction counseling or making regular court appearances.
- Suspended sentencing: A judge may refrain from or sentencing. They may also decide on a sentence but refrain from carrying out. A suspended sentence may or may not come with conditions. In the former case, you may be required to meet the conditions of probation or a treatment program.
- Rehab: If you were sentenced for a nonviolent drug crime, you could be given the option to check into a certified inpatient or outpatient addiction rehabilitation center.
- Community service: You may be required to perform a certain number of community service hours. With this option, you report to a supervisor who logs your hours. Community service may be performed in conjunction with other alternative sentencing options.
- Diversion programs: Diversion programs give you the opportunity to have your charges dismissed for meeting certain conditions. Pretrial diversion is where your case is halted so you can meet certain conditions. Deferred adjudication is where you have already entered a no contest or guilty plea, but the court does not enter a judgment of guilt. Both options occur before sentencing or a conviction.
- Fines or restitution: You could be ordered to pay fines to the state. Alternatively, you could be ordered to pay restitution to victims who were affected by the crime. There are cases where you could be ordered to pay both fines and
- House arrest: You may be able to avoid jail time by serving a period of confinement in your residence, possibly with some exceptions. If you are eligible for house arrest, you may be required to comply with electronic monitoring and other conditions.
You may be required to fulfill one or more alternative sentencing options at the same time. Eligibility for alternative sentencing options can vary. For instance, a person convicted of a violent crime may not be able to avoid or reduce jail time by attending rehab. Prior criminal convictions could also limit some of the options we have listed.
Have questions about alternative sentencing options or your case? The San Jose criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. could discuss the possibility of pursing these options.
President Donald Trump has signed the new tax law that was passed by Congress in late December. The tax overhaul will change how alimony payments are taxed. Under the new law, you would have to pay taxes on alimony payments if your divorce agreement is finalized after December 31, 2018.
You can currently deduct alimony payments to your ex-spouse from your income taxes. They are tax deductible. On the other hand, your ex-spouse does have to pay taxes on alimony payments she or he receives because it is treated like income. The new tax law makes alimony payments tax neutral. If you divorce after December 31, 2018 alimony payments to your ex-spouse would no longer be deductible. Your ex-spouse would also not have to pay taxes on the payments that he or she receives. If you are a high earner, you could lose out on thousands of dollars without the alimony deduction.
How could this affect your payments if you file for divorce in 2019? An example can help illustrate this change. If you are currently paying and deducting $30,000 a year in alimony and your income is federally taxed at 33 percent, then you save $9,900. You would lose out on this deduction if your divorce agreement is finalized at the start of 2019.
What does this mean for alimony agreements in the future? The new tax law will have a broad impact on how alimony payments are arranged in divorce agreements. Divorcees who are paying alimony will have less money from losing the deduction. As a result, alimony payments could be adjusted downwards by the courts.
Questions About Alimony and the New Tax Law?
Are you concerned about how the new tax law could affect your divorce? We encourage you to call our office with any questions. The San Jose family law attorneys at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. could discuss how the new tax law could affect your divorce.
If police pull you over because they suspect you are driving under the influence of alcohol, they may ask you to submit to a breath test. There are two types of breath tests that law enforcement could use. A preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) may be done at a traffic stop with a small handheld device. These are often called “breathalyzers.” If you are arrested and held in custody, then you might be asked to submit to a chemical breath test.
Breath test results can sometimes be challenged. These tests may be inaccurate for reasons that include but are not limited to:
- Incorrect calibration: Police officers have to regularly calibrate breathalyzers and other breath test devices. If they are not calibrated correctly by qualified individuals, it could produce an inaccurate reading.
- Lack of maintenance: Breath test devices require maintenance and must be regularly checked for accuracy. If these devices are not maintained, they could produce false results.
- Test errors: There are rules for breath tests (and other tests) that police officers are required to follow. If these rules are not followed, inaccurate breath test results may be produced.
- Health conditions: Certain health conditions may trigger inaccurate readings during a breath test. For example, a person with diabetes has high levels of acetone, which may be picked up as ethanol by a breath test. Acid reflux disease (also called GERD) may also interfere with readings.
Can I Challenge Breath Test Results?
Breath test results may be used in court, but they can also be challenged by your attorney in some cases. Whether your attorney could challenge the results depends on the specifics of the case. This is one of many reasons why it is important to select a criminal defense attorney with experience contesting DUI tests. There could also be other reasons why your DUI charges could be called into question. Challenging an erroneous breath test may not be the only criminal defense strategy that could be used in your case.
Santa Clara DUI defense lawyer Daniel Jensen has experience with cases in criminal, civil, state and federal courts. For a consultation explaining your legal rights and possible defense options, please give the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. a call at (408) 493-0082. You can also describe your situation by filling out our online contact form.
In some cases, a divorce may have an extremely negative effect on your child’s mental health. During a contested divorce, children might be caught in the middle of fights involving the division of property, custody disputes or visitation rights. Fortunately, there are alternative options that could help some couples avoid the drawbacks of a traditional divorce. A mediated divorce is an option for divorce that hinges on cooperation. If separating couples are good candidates for this option, it might help their children avoid some of the emotional consequences associated with divorce.
Mediation involves using a neutral third party (the mediator) to help former spouses negotiate a divorce agreement. Decisions involving the division of property, children and financial assistance are worked out with the help of a mediator. Mediation might be easier on the children for reasons that include:
- It could save money: Some divorces are very expensive. With mediation, differences could be worked out without numerous court appearances or legal battles. Therefore, the process may be less expensive. More money could be available to spend on your children.
- It is less adversarial: A mediated divorce is not adversarial. Successful mediation relies on conflict resolution. Instead of fighting with your former spouse, you cooperate on creating the terms of your divorce agreement. Your children may benefit from seeing you and your former spouse cooperating instead of fighting.
- Mediation focuses on the children: Former spouses can create divorce agreements that are in the best interest of their children. With mediation, children are less likely to feel as if they are being fought over.
- It could take up less time: Depending on the circumstances, it could take months to create the terms of a divorce. A mediated divorce may give you more time to spend with your children.
Is a Mediated Divorce the Right Choice for My Family?
We have only discussed a handful of reasons why mediation could be easier on your children. However, it is important to understand that a mediated divorce is not for everyone. Some couples may not benefit from seeking a mediated divorce. Whether this is the right option for you depends on the circumstances.
You can speak with a divorce attorney to further explore this option. An attorney may help you decide on whether a mediated divorce is the right choice for your family of if there are other options to pursue. The Santa Clara divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. could answer questions you have about your divorce.
You could face a series of harsh punishments for failing to make child support payments on time. There are multiple tools and methods to collect past-due payments for a child support order in California. Child support enforcement actions can thrust you into a dire legal and financial situation. The consequences for failing to pay child support might include:
- Contempt of court: If it is discovered that you are able to pay child support and ignored a valid court order, then you could be found in contempt of court.
- Wage garnishment: Your employer could receive an order to withhold a portion of your pay to satisfy past-due child support payments. Tax refunds may also be garnished.
- Financial levies: Your bank accounts may be frozen for failing to make child support payments.
- Property liens: A lien could be placed on a piece of property, such as a home, to satisfy unpaid child support payments.
- Lowered credit scores: Past-due child support payments might be reported to the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This information could be posted on your three credit reports, which could hurt your credit scores.
- License suspension: If you have a professional license, it could be suspended for failing to make payments. Your driver’s license might also be suspended.
- Passport denial: Do you travel internationally? Your passport could be denied until you become current on child support payments.
Should I Seek Child Support Modification?
If you believe you are unable to make child support payments, then you must take quick action. The consequences of failing to make payments are severe, even if you believe the payments are excessive. It may be possible to receive a modification to lower your payments.
A family law attorney can help you determine the best course of action for modifying child support payments. If you have questions about child support payments, then please call our San Jose family law attorneys at (408) 493-0082. You can also describe your situation by filling out our online form. The Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. is here to help.
As we said in the conclusion to last week’s blog, many people make mistakes after being arrested and charged with crimes. Errant social media posts are only one of many possible mistakes you could make. You could also make mistakes while being placed under arrest and held in police custody. Depending on the mistake, you could end up putting yourself in a much worse situation. Common mistakes to avoid include but are not limited to:
- Resisting arrest: Never resist officers while they are attempting to place you under arrest. You could face more serious consequences for resisting.
- Speaking without an attorney: Police may try multiple methods to get you to confess while you are still in their custody. They may try to mislead you by saying that everything will go easier if you explain the details that led to your arrest. Whatever you say during questioning might be used by the prosecution. You could remain quiet and instead say, “I need a lawyer.”
- Trying to be your own legal advocate: A criminal defense attorney has experience representing individuals who are being charged with crimes. You most likely do not have this experience. Trying to be your own legal advocate never works out like it does in the movies.
- Waiting to hire an attorney: You should not wait to hire an attorney. An attorney could begin laying the groundwork for your defense and will protect your legal rights, which could put you in a more advantageous position. In addition, an attorney could also help you avoid common mistakes after your arrest.
- Lying to your attorney: Never lie to your attorney, even if you believe your charges are egregious and embarrassing. Whatever you tell your attorney is confidential. An attorney is working to defend your rights, not to judge you or cause trouble. In fact, your attorney could face severe sanctions for publicly speaking about your case without your permission.
Why Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney if I’m Arrested?
There are other possible mistakes that our blog did not cover. You should speak with an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest, as it could make it easier for them to create a successful defense strategy if they are hired. The longer you wait, the more difficult it could become to create a successful defense. Remember, you have legal rights. It is your attorney’s job to defend those rights.
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, the attorneys at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. could work to create a winning defense strategy.
Last week’s blog discussed how social media posts could get you into trouble during a bitter divorce. Errant social media posts can also cause you trouble if you were arrested and charged with a crime. Whatever you post online after your release could come back to haunt your case. Common social media mistakes people make after an arrest include:
- Discussing your case: Avoid discussing the specifics of your arrest on social media. This could include messages, posts, photos and videos related to your case.
- Allowing friends to tag you: Facebook has a feature that allows friends to tag you in photos and at locations. Your friends could inadvertently make posts about you that are later used to establish a harmful narrative.
- Making irresponsible posts: If you were arrested and charged with a DUI, then it would be a bad idea to brag about heavy drinking and partying. Irresponsible posts, photos or videos could cause you problems in the future.
- Committing other crimes: It is a major mistake to post evidence of a crime on social media. In addition, it is a mistake to commit crimes over social media, such as making threats of violence towards another person.
Are There Other Mistakes You Could Make After an Arrest?
We only discussed a small handful of possible mistakes you could make on social media after an arrest. During your criminal case, it is best to assume that anything you say can be seen by others.
You should always contact an experienced criminal defense attorney after being placed under arrest and charged with a crime. Many people make mistakes after being arrested, and social media is only part of a much bigger picture. Future blogs will discuss other mistakes people make after being arrested and held in police custody.
The Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. can consult with you on your legal rights and possible defense options if you are facing criminal charges. Attorney Daniel Jensen has presided over cases in civil, criminal, federal and state courts.
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat are used by billions of people around the world. Chances are, you use one of these websites multiple times per day. However, what you say on social media websites could be permanently etched into the internet forever. You may not be able to take back posts that you later come to regret. It is especially important to remember this fact if you are going through a divorce that involves the court.
Electronically stored information (ESI) such as social media posts, texts and emails could be used as evidence during divorce proceedings. In such cases, your posts and messages could negatively affect the outcome of your divorce. Common social media mistakes people make include:
- Bashing the ex: Depending on the relationship dynamics prior to your separation, you may be very upset with your former spouse. You should be very careful not to insult your ex online. Consider that you may share friends or connections with your former spouse on social media. If your spouse or the court catches wind of these comments, it could lead to legal consequences or less favorable divorce terms. Of course, the consequences would depend on what you say. It is best to just say nothing at all.
- Harassing your ex-spouse: Harassing your ex over a social media platform can get you into legal trouble, especially in cases involving threats.
- Bragging about a raise or new possessions: In some cases, going through a divorce can hurt the ego. However, you could end up hurting yourself by creating a grandiose picture of your finances.
- Sharing irresponsible photos: Posting photos of yourself drinking heavily at parties could reflect poorly on your fitness as a parent. This is only one example. Sharing irresponsible posts or photos could affect the terms of your divorce.
Even if you use the maximum privacy settings for social media, whatever you share could still cause you problems. Social media platforms allow us to share our lives with others. During a divorce, especially a bitter one involving court proceedings, sharing too much information can get you in trouble.
You could temporarily stay off accounts that are not used professionally to avoid these common social media mistakes. However, you could also just be careful about what you are posting or liking. The decision is up to you, but do realize that you will be doing yourself a favor by exercising caution on social media.
The San Jose family law attorneys at Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. could answer any questions you may have about your divorce. You can reach us by calling (408) 493-0082 or filling out our online form.
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