California Prenups Can Cement Your Relationship

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

The latest soap opera features a couple contemplating signing a prenuptial agreement. He feels it’s not very romantic.

It’s true; there’s a great deal of debate over the necessity of having a prenuptial agreement in place prior to getting married. If there were ever any questions about whether or not it was really the right thing to do, one could ask Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt for their experiences with a prenuptial, which isn’t to say that prenuptials are only for wealthy people, because that isn’t the case.

“One of the most prevalent myths about prenuptials is that they ‘are’ only for the wealthy and that those who don’t have much don’t need an agreement. While you might not have that much money to go around, having an open and honest talk about how each of you handles finances before you’re married will make sure there are no surprises later,” explained Gerald A. Maggio, an Orange County divorce attorney.

Also, who knows what the fates will deal out? One of the spouses may acquire more money in the future through a business venture or an artistic talent. Knowing how to handle the business division now, in advance of any possible divorce is a good move.

Many people also think that prenuptials are only designed to protect the spouse that has the most money and take it away from the one who doesn’t have much. “The truth of the matter is that prenuptial agreements are supposed to be created to protect ‘both’ spouses. It should go without saying that any prenuptial that is one-sided will not likely be enforceable in court,” Maggio indicated. The whole idea behind these agreements is that they are fair. In order for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable, signing it must be voluntary and thus, the agreement can’t be unfair when it is signed.

As for the romance of the situation, it’s better to discuss touchy things like money before marriage rather than find out later that neither party likes how the other one spends and handles money. While this may not be a great deal of fun, working toward a common goal often cements a relationship into a viable working partnership; a partnership where both are clear about their financial goals.

For some reason, people seem to think that they must deal with every possible issue that might come up in a divorce later. “This isn’t the case. In fact, prenuptials may be as complex or as simple as the parties wish. They are private contracts and therefore they can have just about anything in them. As an example, if one party only wants to protect just their pre-marital property that may be written into the contract,” commented Maggio.

The toughest thing for couples to understand seems to be the myth that if they just live together, the live-in doesn’t have any claim on the other’s property or income. Think again, the one with the income and assets could be risking them by living together without being married. “No doubt the word ‘palimony’ comes to mind and while difficult to prove, it has been done and people still try this route to claim support after a breakup,” Maggio said. The bottom line here is if people choose to live together without getting married, it’s a smart idea to have a cohabitation agreement.

Gerald A. Maggio is senior partner of The Maggio Law Firm, Inc., an Orange County and Riverside Divorce and Family Law firm headquartered in Irvine, California.  The Maggio Law Firm is experienced in all aspects of divorce and family law matters, including child custody, child support, spousal support, complicated high asset marital property cases, and domestic partnerships.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce lawyer Gerald Maggio, contact The Maggio Law Firm by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting http://www.maggiolawfirm.com/.

To Agree or Disagree – the Question in Modifications to Child Custody Schedules

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmIt’s not that child custody schedules can’t be modified; it’s usually more a matter of having both parties to the schedule actually agree on the change.

Let’s consider the hypothetical case of Mike and Nicole who had been divorced for over six years. Their original custody order worked out well for both of them, but Mike got a new job and his hours of work changed. He needs to have the visitation schedule altered or modified. Mike needs to know what to do to get the order modified. He also needs to know if he has any custody rights to modify the existing agreement.

These are tough questions and most people should find out the answers before attempting to make any changes/modifications to an existing child custody schedule. “Legally speaking, the parents definitely have child custody rights to make modifications. If the circumstances of either of the parents change, or it’s for the best interest of the children to change the initial arrangements, the parents may ask the court for a custody order modification,” indicated Gerald A. Maggio, an Orange County custody lawyer. There are a few things to keep in mind before doing this.

The first thing may take both parents by surprise if they are used to “not” talking to one another, and that is to discuss the modification with the other parent and work out the changes together. If the parents are on the same song sheet and support the changes, they only need to file some papers in court and the order is thereby modified. Modification may be just that simple.

“Communicating with each other over a change to the original child custody schedule is made a lot easier if the change isn’t enormous, like one parent moving out of the state or country. Smaller changes that really don’t impinge on the overall agreement are more readily accepted. The bigger the change, the higher the likelihood that the other parent won’t agree and the matter will be going to court,” Maggio added.

If the matter does wind up in court, the parent wanting the change has to be prepared to show the court it is in the best interests of the child. This may mean using witnesses that state if the change doesn’t happen the child will be harmed. “The prevailing concern of the courts in situations like this has to do with providing the child a stable environment. Unless the change will do just that, the court isn’t always inclined to grant the modifications,” said Maggio.

Gerald A. Maggio is senior partner of The Maggio Law Firm, Inc., an Orange County and Riverside Divorce and Family Law firm headquartered in Irvine, California.  The Maggio Law Firm is experienced in all aspects of divorce and family law matters, including child custody, child support, spousal support, complicated high asset marital property cases, and domestic partnerships.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce lawyer Gerald Maggio, contact The Maggio Law Firm by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting http://www.maggiolawfirm.com/.

Checking the Divorce List Twice Before Filing for a California Divorce

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

Divorcing isn’t easy. Handling the various details required for marriage dissolution in California is enough to send a person into panic.

Going for marriage dissolution is a tough decision, made even more difficult if there are children involved. It’s a time for second guessing, worrying about the welfare of the kids, and about the future. Then there are all the details that need to be attended to in order to get marriage dissolution in California. The stress levels couldn’t be higher. In situations like this, discuss your fears with your divorce attorney. That’s what they are there for; to guide you through the labyrinth of confusion that arises when divorce proceedings take over what was once a normal life.

In order to get a handle on some of the stress, one of the better ways to get mentally organized is to make a checklist; a divorce checklist. While this might sound like the last thing on earth you would want to do with the roof falling in on your head, it offers you the chance to clearly focus on what needs to be done, what is done and what is pending, as well as puts into focus what documents or information you will need to round up.

The other positive thing gained by using a divorce checklist is that it tends to prevent any surprises further down the road if both of the spouses are on the same page during their dissolution proceedings. While this may be a very upsetting thing to do, it will pay off in the long run when all the sticky issues that need to be taken care of are out in the open and ready to be discussed with some degree of equanimity.

A divorce checklist should also have an asset and debt inventory section that covers various items that need to be shown to the court. That usually includes marital debts for the couple and an accurate record of all marital property. The property may include bank loans, bank accounts, student loans, pension plans and retirement plans, IRAs, bonds, stocks, sporting goods, the marital home, jewelry, and the vehicles both spouses drive. If there are any questions on how to classify property or divide your debts, speak to your divorce attorney for clarification.

One of the hardest things to sort out for a divorce proceeding is the value of assets, and in most instances, a reasonable guess will suffice keeping in mind that you may also need to be able to prove the actual value of the asset at a later date. The value of the asset should also include details about when the item was purchased and which person will take possession of it. Splitting the debts should also be done in a similar manner. In other words, who incurred the debt, how much is owed and who is going to take the responsibility to repay it.

There are other questions that will need to be dealt with over the course of the dissolution proceedings, and if you stay in constant contact with your divorce attorney, the journey to divorce won’t be quite as devastating or confusing.

Gerald A. Maggio is an Orange County divorce attorney, in Irvine, California.  For more information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce lawyer Gerald Maggio, contact The Maggio Law Firm by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting www.maggiolawfirm.com.

Coercion’s Role in Domestic Violence in California

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

If you don’t think coercion plays a role in domestic violence in California, think again. This tactic may cost you your visitation rights with the children.

While many people work hard at their jobs and their relationships with significant others and get ahead on their own merits, there are those who attempt to get ahead by bullying, intimidating and coercing others. Some people may choose to live with this, others ignore it, some tolerate it, and others bear the brunt of it.

Typically, when coercion enters the picture in a personal relationship, it isn’t something that improves communication between the parties. It may in fact find one of the parties charged with criminal threatening and on their way to court and perhaps jail. A skilled Orange County divorce attorney will outline this for you if you have been charged with domestic violence.

Coercion is defined as forcing someone to act in an involuntary manner by threatening the person with bodily harm if they do not comply. What this means is that if the person feels compelled to act in a certain way out of fear, or because they are afraid of being harmed or hurt, that person may choose to file charges against the person trying to coerce them with threats.

Often coercion and criminal intimidation is used in a variety of settings from work to home and from school to social events. It seems to know no boundaries as the aggressor is intent on getting their way at any cost. This kind of violence is more common than we would like to think, particularly in situations where there is a marriage breakdown. This is one of the major reasons that speaking to a seasoned Orange County divorce attorney makes sense. The attorney is able to offer you a variety of options at your disposal to alleviate this situation.

Most often the aggressor is the male and rather than try to calmly and fairly settle a dispute, they use coercion to accomplish their goals. They intentionally make others do what they say by telling them if they don’t, they’ll “pay” for it; meaning they’ll be beaten or forced into doing something else. This type of conduct may spill over to other family members, most notably the children.

If the person uttering the threats and causing serious harm to others is charged, they may face the possibility of misdemeanor or felony charges. In the more serious cases, there may be fines, jail time or probation. While the perpetrator may think it’s no one’s business but their own what they choose to do and how they choose to act, if they are convicted of this type of crime, it will have a direct impact on visitation rights with their children. If you’re in the midst of a divorce proceeding in California, you will need to consult with your Orange County divorce attorney to find out what your options are under the circumstances.

Domestic violence, which includes coercion, has a direct impact on child custody disputes. In fact, California Family Code, Section 3044 states that: “Upon a finding by the court that a party seeking custody of a child has perpetrated domestic violence against the other party seeking custody of the child or against the child or the child’s siblings within the previous five years, there is a rebuttable presumption that an award of sole or joint physical or legal custody of a child to a person who has perpetrated domestic violence is detrimental to the best interest of the child.”

Put another way, if you are facing a divorce and have been accused of domestic violence or coercion, it is vitally important that you do everything possible to prevent a conviction if you wish to retain custody or visitation rights with your children.

Gerald A. Maggio is an Orange County divorce attorney, in Irvine, California.  For more information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce lawyer Gerald Maggio, contact The Maggio Law Firm by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting www.maggiolawfirm.com.

 
No Legal Advice Intended: This website includes information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems. Full disclaimer.