Parenting Time Plays Big Role in Child’s Behavior

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law Firm

Parenting time is one of the hardest agreements to agree on during a divorce. Many parents feel they are the best parent for the child and deserve to spend holidays, vacations and quality time with each other. But in family law, the courts look to the best interests of the child, not the parent. Each parent must step away from focusing on himself or herself to determine what the child deserves.

The court will approve a parenting agreement that lets the child equitably have a relationship with each parent, unless there is concern for the child’s safety and wellbeing. But oftentimes long after the agreement is approved and the child has been shuttled between both parents, a conflict arises. How each parent treats the other parent can play a huge role on how the child perceives the split parenting time.

“Somehow, children get the message that going to the other parent’s house after a separation or divorce is optional,” says Esq. Bill Eddy of the High Conflict Institute. “If you give them a choice and imply it will be a negative experience, any healthy child is going to want to avoid it. Since children have so few options in their lives, if you give them an option to avoid something negative, they will avoid it.”

Eddy recommends focusing on how you speak to your child to make the transition from one parent to another. Instead of “You have to go” or “Your dad or the court is forcing you to go”, say “I expect you to go see your dad”. Expect is a much more positive word than the perception of conflict that a child will create if they hear the word force. It’s much like forcing your child to eat broccoli or brush his teeth; kids do not want to be pushed into anything.

“When given a choice, many children who live in two households would rather stay where they are at the moment,” said Eddy. “It doesn’t mean that they don’t want to see their Mom or Dad, it just means that they don’t want to stop what they’re doing, get up, pack up, and go somewhere else. Once they get to the other house, they act just the same way. Don’t take it personally: most of the time children just prefer where they are and what they’re doing. They live in the present.”

Equally as important is how each parent converses with each other. Arguments and fights can cause confusion, resistance, and abnormal behaviors from a child. Kids mimic their parents, often without knowing why, so many family therapists recommend treating your ex as if it is a business partnership. The goal of the “business” should be your child’s wellbeing. Speak to your ex like you would a colleague with neutral, respectful, diplomatic language. Children who can have a regular schedule with each parent and similar rules at each household will greatly benefit mentally and socially from a consistent routine. Everything doesn’t have to be the same at each household, but parents should work to agree on important things like homework, bedtime, activities, and big decisions involving medical and education needs.

In California, family law attorney Gerald Maggio helps individuals create a parenting agreement that the courts will approve and benefits the child. The Maggio Law Firm is experienced in joint custody matters, child support, and can help modify the parenting agreement should a change be needed years after a divorce.

Gerald A. Maggio is an Orange County divorce attorney, in Irvine, California. To learn more about Orange County divorce lawyer, Gerald A. Maggio, visit or call (949) 553-0304.

Domestic Partnership and Cohabitation Agreements Crucial for Committed Couples

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

Couples who are in a committed relationship but not married should register as domestic partners in California to get the benefits of certain legal protections. After registering, it is recommended to create a cohabitation agreement with a family law attorney’s expertise to define property rights, finances, parental rights and responsibilities, and even estate planning. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has seen a big increase of cohabitation agreements in 2011 for unmarried heterosexual couples and same-sex partners too, as California is still in a legal battle over gay marriage.

Cohabitation agreements cover the consequences if the partnership were to dissolve in the future so that each person has a clear understanding of their rights. These agreements are much like prenuptial agreements that give each party peace of mind that their priorities are addressed.

“Many couples decide to live with each other before diving into marriage, yet want to have an agreement that shows their commitment to their partner and protects each others assets,” said Riverside domestic partnership attorney Gerald Maggio, of the Maggio Law Firm.

Registration as a domestic partnership allows another partner the right to:
• Have coverage on the other partner’s health insurance plan
• Take family leave if a partner is sick, make medical decisions and have hospital visitation rights
• Enroll the partner in disability benefits should this occur
• Be the appointed conservator if their partner becomes incapacitated
• Take bereavement leave
• Rent control benefits, unemployment benefits
• Adopt each other’s children

Through California’s Separation Equity Act passed in late 2010, if a same-sex couple dissolves their domestic partnership or civil marriage, there is now a simpler form and process to do so. This act also holds for same-sex couples that were legally married outside of California to have the same rights to dissolve those marriages in California, too.

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

Get Expert Legal Counsel When a Divorce Forces a Business Division

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County Divorce Lawyer; The Maggio Law Firm

Dividing a business during a divorce can be an extremely difficult and stressful process. Unless there is a prenuptial agreement that clearly divides the ownership interests or the two individuals still want to be business partners, expert legal counsel is needed to keep the business assets safe. Most individuals choose to buy out the portion of the ownership interest from the spouse that does not want to continue the business. It is rare for the two to stay together in business if they cannot keep the marriage intact.

A good approach is to have a divorce team with your divorce attorney and a financial advisor assessing the best route to get the other spouse out of the business. The buy out strategy can include:
• Using a marital asset such as real estate, stocks, retirement funds, or cash
• A property settlement note that allows for a longer buyout of the amount owed with interest
• An Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) to generate funds by selling ownership interest to employees
• Selling the business and dividing the proceeds

ESOPs can work well if a business is worth more than $5 million. ESOPs are complex but they are tax deductible, so it can become a better scenario for your business. And since employees receive a small interest in the business, they typically become more engaged employees because they want the business to succeed even more.

An ESOP is controlled with a trust fund and a trustee, and the employees are the financial beneficiaries of it. The business makes tax deductible cash contributions to the ESOP and then the trust funds buys ownership interests based upon current values. Each employee gets a small interest annually and can cash in their portion when they leave or retire from the business. Interestingly, ESOP businesses are shown to grow eight to 11 percent faster than normal businesses, according to the National Center for Employee Ownership. Quicker growth equals a bigger increase in value. Thus, ESOPs can be the best route if the business forecasts growth and profits and values its employees as an integral part of the operation.

What’s more common, though, is that the business must be sold outright as a large portion of the assets are tied up in the company. This can be an excruciating process as it will leave one or more spouse without work, and the court must approve the value of the business for sale. The court will analyze the opinion of value from appraisers and accountants.

No matter which route is best, both sides need proper legal representation. Most likely one spouse will have to pay child or spousal support, so adding in the division of a business can create a financial hardship. Both spouses can benefit from mediation or a collaborative divorce to mutually work through the issues with their attorneys and accountants.

The Maggio Law Firm has many years of experience in divorce and the division of assets.  Mr. Maggio is known for his legal expertise and giving clients compassionate guidance through the maze of issues that are raised in a divorce.

Gerald A. Maggio is an Orange County divorce attorney, in Irvine, California. To learn more about Orange County divorce lawyer, Gerald A. Maggio, visit or call (949) 553-0304.

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