Unmarried Mothers Should Consult With an Orange County Family Law Attorney

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County child custody attorney; The Maggio Law Firm

Unmarried mothers face a number of legal issues that must be dealt with to secure the health and happiness of their child. A family law attorney can help unmarried mothers navigate these difficult legal issues and secure adequate child support.

Unfortunately, many unmarried women find themselves alone after they become pregnant and the father of their child leaves. This abandonment can be emotionally taxing for a young woman by itself, and there are a number of legal issues at stake that must be handled as well. Not only must the child’s paternity be confirmed, child support must be secured from the baby’s father, and a child custody arrangement must be worked out between the parents.

Once an unmarried woman becomes pregnant, determining the paternity of the child is essential in pursing child support. With married parents, paternity is established automatically. However, if parents are unmarried, paternity establishment is not automatic.  Both parents should start the process as soon as possible, so that the child will not have to suffer. Once the child is born, unmarried parents can establish paternity by signing the voluntary Declaration of Paternity. If the father contests the paternity, a paternity test can be administered.

Once paternity is established, a family law attorney can then work to get an order of child support from the father, and the California Department of Child Support Services can assist unwed mothers with child support collection and enforcement. Securing child support is an essential step for unwed mothers, as it offers the financial support necessary to make sure that the child is properly taken care of.

Child custody arrangements between unmarried couples can be quite complex and difficult to navigate. An experienced family law attorney can help unmarried mothers construct a child custody arrangement that will work for both parents and will serve the best interests of the child. When establishing custody, the courts will take a number of factors into consideration including:

  • The child’s health, safety and welfare
  • The stability of each parent’s home environment
  • The history of physical abuse
  • The parents’ criminal history, as it may restrict custody or visitation orders
  • Whether or not siblings are involved
  • The wishes of the child, if he or she is old enough to make them known

A family law attorney can provide assistance in working through all of these issues. Just because a young woman is not married when she becomes pregnant doesn’t mean that the mother, and child, do not have legal rights.

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/.

Who Foots the Bill in a California Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

Dealing with divorce is complicated enough, but having to deal with dividing debts makes it considerably more difficult. How a couple’s debt is divided depends on a number of different factors.

In California, the community is liable for all debts that were incurred during the marriage, regardless of which partner actually incurred the debt and whether this debt benefitted the family or the individual. Both parties are thus equally liable for the debt, and this debt should be divided evenly when settlements are being discussed unless the parties come to some other agreement. For example, one spouse may agree to pay off the joint debts in exchange for a greater share of the community property. A spouse may be inclined to do this because it will ensure that he or she is not responsible to the creditors.

Couples often face issues when one party has been off the other’s pre-marital debts. Oftentimes, a couple is married and one spouse has a great amount of pre-marital debt that the other spouse agrees to help pay off.  In this case, the couple has used community property to pay off a separate debt. If either party files for dissolution of the marriage, California case law states that the community is entitled to reimbursement for the amount it paid to discharge one party’s separate property.

Debt that occurs after a couple has separated can be a more complex affair. If there is no court order or written agreement established in the separation that outlines payment of the debts incurred, then those debts that are deemed “necessaries,” will be confirmed to either spouse according to their respective needs and abilities to pay at the time the debt was incurred. Debts incurred by either spouse for things deemed “non-necessaries,” of that spouse or children of the marriage for whom support may be ordered shall be confirmed without offset to the spouse who incurred the debt.

Divorce can be a difficult process and dealing with debts incurred during the marriage and afterwards can be hard to navigate. It’s a smart idea to consult a California attorney who can provide guidance about how debts incurred during a marriage are likely to be divided by the court.

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/.

A Closer Look at Orange County Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you have a right to look to the Court for protection. There are several different types of restraining orders that can provide domestic violence victims with this kind of protection.

Being a victim of domestic violence can be a stressful and traumatic ordeal. However, there are legal ways to ease the stress and trauma by ensuring that further harm does not come to the victim. A domestic violence restraining order is a court order that protects a person from being abused or harmed by another person.

To qualify for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order you must have a relationship with the person you are seeking the order against. This relationship must be one of the following:

  • Married Couples (sometime known as Spousal Abuse)
  • Couples who cohabit
  • Persons who have a child or children in common
  • Persons currently in a dating relationship or who were in a former dating relationship
  • Persons who were formerly married to each other

In California, the victims of domestic violence can obtain three different types of restraining orders: an Emergency Protective Order, a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order, or a Criminal Protective Order.

An Emergency Protective Order (EPO) is issued by law enforcement and is only valid for a short amount of time, usually less than one week. This type of restraining order is particularly useful for victims of domestic violence, as it provides them with immediate protection after an incident has occurred. These types of restraining orders usually arise when the police have responded to a domestic violence call.

A Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is another short term restraining order valid for no more than 21 days. While these restraining orders only cover a short period of time, they can be made permanent for 1 to 3 years. The purpose of a TRO is to provide the victim with protection until a hearing can be held and a permanent restraining order can be issued.

A Criminal Protective Order can be obtained through the District Attorney’s office and is issued in active domestic violence criminal cases. Under this kind of restraining order, the individual the order is issued against is not to have any contact with the victim.

Each type of restraining order must be court-ordered, so you will have to go to court to prove your domestic violence case. It is important to have an attorney who can represent your best interests. An experienced family law attorney will ensure that all of the proper documents have been filed, will be able to handle any questions a judge might have, and will help you deal with any unusual circumstances that arise.

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.

What To Know About Community Property and Domestic Partnerships in California

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law Firm

Registered domestic partners have the same rights as married couples when it comes to community property. Unless couples establish an agreement prior to their registration, community property rules will apply in the event of dissolution or death.

In California, a domestic partnership gives parties a legal status that is similar to marriage. As such, those parties involved in a domestic partnership have certain legal rights afforded to couples who are married, including community property rights. In a registered domestic partnership, community property is generally regarded as the property acquired by either partner during the period of the registered domestic partnership. This means that all income, assets and savings acquired after registration was filed and all assets accumulated from earned income are considered to be equally owned and, therefore, community property. This is regardless of titling of deed, asset, or account.

Under California’s Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003 community property concepts apply to property rights, but not for tax purposes. In the event that the domestic partnership is dissolved or a death occurs, each partner would automatically be entitled to a half interest in any property that was purchased during the time of the registered partnership.

However, if one partner dies, community property concepts will not be used in order to determine the size of the decedent’s estate. If the partnership is simply dissolved, the community property would be divided equally between partners, and they would have the right to use the state court system in order to properly divide their assets.

If couples are not registered as domestic partners, then they do not have any community property rights. All pre-registration assets and gifts or inheritances received at any time during the registered partnership are presumed to be separately owned.

Community property rights will also not apply if registered partners have prepared a Domestic Partnership Agreement that outlines how assets, debts, and property are to be distributed in the event of a separation. This agreement provides both partners with legal protections should either party ever decide to end the relationship. It can also help couples avoid the effects of certain domestic partnership laws that can be disadvantageous to them.

If you are considering dissolving a domestic partnership or would like to establish a Domestic Partnership Agreement, you should consult with an experienced California attorney who can help you navigate these difficult, complex legal processes.

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.

Prenuptial Agreements Allow for Division of Future Earnings

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law Firm

Prenuptial agreements can be designed to protect more than just premarital assets. They can outline how couples want to divide their future earnings in the event of a divorce.

While many people assume that prenuptial agreements are only useful when one partner brings a significant amount of wealth to the marriage, this assumption is incorrect. Prenuptial agreements are not limited to specifying the division of assets attained before the marriage. They can also be useful in specifying the division of assets that are accumulated during the marriage. There are a number of different situations which warrant a prenuptial agreement when neither partner has a lot of assets before the marriage.

A common example of a situation in which a prenuptial agreement might be necessary is when one partner agrees to support the other during professional or graduate school. Even though neither one of the partners has a lot of money at the beginning of the marriage, supporting the other partner through school can have a great impact on that partner’s future financial success. In a situation such as this, the earning potential of the partner who receives the advanced degree is likely to be much greater than that of the supportive partner.

Without a prenuptial agreement the partner who earned the advanced degree isn’t likely to be obligated to share his or her earnings with the other spouse in the event of a divorce. However, a prenuptial agreement can be used to protect the interests of the supporting spouse by specifying terms for spousal support in the future.

More and more Americans are choosing to become small business owners, and a prenuptial agreement can also protect spouses who have individual interests in forming a business and those who choose to go into business together. A prenuptial agreement can set out rules for how business assets should be handled and divided in the event of a divorce. By agreeing on these issues in advance, both spouses can be confident that their earnings will be divided fairly.

Prenuptial agreements can thus provide couples with a feeling of security about the assets couples accumulate together. An expert family law attorney can help couples draft a prenuptial agreement that will protect the interests of both parties and their future earnings.

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/.

What To Understand About Same-Sex Couples and Adoptions in California

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County stepparent adoption attorney; The Maggio Law Firm

Same sex couples face unique legal challenges when they decide to become a family with children. While California allows same-sex couples to adopt, the process can be long and difficult.

The adoption process is often difficult even for heterosexual couples, and same-sex couples face even greater challenges when it comes to adoption. In California, GLBT adoption and second parent adoption are legal and can present significant legal and social challenges for same-sex couples.

Gay and lesbian couples often decide to bring a child into their lives through conception and birth. For a lesbian couple, this involves finding a male donor or visiting a sperm bank and then having one member of the couple become pregnant. In such a partnership, the other parent can then become a legal second parent through stepparent or second parent adoption. Gay men can also become legal parents of a child through the use of a surrogate mother.

Having a child through conception and birth can be a long and difficult process, so some prospective gay parents choose to go through the state system. For these prospective parents, success in adopting from the public child welfare system greatly depends on two things: the state adoption law and the attitude of the adoption agency being utilized. In California, state law protects prospective gay and lesbian parents from discrimination during the adoption process. It is illegal for public agencies in California to reject adoptive parents on the basis of their sexual orientation.

While the law provides some protection for prospective gay and lesbian parents, it does not guarantee that prejudices don’t exist within the agencies. Social workers who are not comfortable with homosexuality may determine that the prospective adoptive parents are unsuitable for a number of other reasons. Private agencies, on the other hand, establish their own set of criteria for prospective adoptive parents. These agencies may consider age, fertility status, marital status, religion and sexual orientation when making adoption decisions. Same-sex couples, then, may not have as much success in finding a private agency that is open to adoption by homosexual parents.

Raising a child can be one of the biggest decisions in your life, so it is important to know all of the legal ramifications of such a decision before engaging in the legal process of adoption. If you are a same-sex couple considering adoption, you should contact an experienced family law attorney who can help you through this difficult and complex process.

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.

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