5 Things You Should Do When You Get Served With Divorce Papers

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top family lawyers Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmDivorce is a decision taken by two spouses. However, sometimes one of the spouse initiates divorce proceedings while the other one simply either agrees to agree to their demand or fight the case. If you are someone who has not initiated the divorce, the first news of divorce is when you will get the divorce papers. This can be an emotional time, but any misstep can cause you undue losses in the future. Hence, here is a list of 5 things you need to do when you get your divorce papers.

Read Them Thoroughly

The first thing to do when you get your hands on your divorce papers is give them a read. Typically, the first read will not be as through as it should be, so it’s best that you give it a read at least twice. This is primarily because these papers have a sea of information that the spouse needs to know. In addition to that the divorce papers will also highlight other aspects such as:

  • Which court is the case filed in?
  • The deadline date of the response
  • Whether she has attained the services of an Attorney or not
  • The grounds of the divorce will be laid down
  • The relief that the party seeks.

Hire an Attorney

This is an important step. Unless you think that you are good enough representing yourself on your own, it is recommended that you hire an Orange County divorce lawyer instead of trying to have a go on your own. Hiring an attorney will help you throughout the divorce, whether it is as a result of experience they have in fighting the case or their knowhow of the procedures that are to be followed. However, hiring an attorney for the sake of hiring one is equally bad. Make sure the attorney you hire is experienced and well versed in their job.

Give the Divorce Paper a Response

There are two way to go about this. Either you respond to the notice, disputing the facts, the claims made and rejecting the relief sought, instead seeking relief yourself or you don’t reply to the notice. Not replying to a notice is seen as accepting the terms of the divorce proposed by the other spouse and giving them all that they want. Which response to give, will depend on what you and your Orange County divorce attorney decide.

Gather Documents

If you have decided to dispute the claims made by the other spouse, you need to prepare for the divorce case. For that, the best way is to find evidences, documents and invoices if any that support your claim. If you have the documents on your side you may have a chance of winning.

Asset Protection

This is again an important step to do. Sometimes the other spouse can make off with all the joint ownership assets. To avoid that, make sure you keep their files safe and secure and keep all its legal formalities up to date. The better your asset protection the more the chance of you keeping your assets.

How To Get Child Custody From A Spouse Who Moved Outside the U.S.

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County child custody attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmDeciding to get a divorce is one of the hardest decisions that a person can take. Yet, this decision is just the start of a number of issues that you have to deal with. One of which is that of child support. Getting child support from a spouse in a divorce is hard even if the spouse lives in the U.S. with some spouse having to make use of the courts to ensure their support agreements are followed. What happens if one of the spouses who is ordered to pay the child custody is outside the United States?

This blog will take a look at how you can get child custody from a spouse that is outside of the U.S.

Foreign Reciprocating Countries

It is not necessary that the importance that the U.S. pays to child support payments is reciprocated in other countries. However, there are some countries with which the U.S. has pre-existing agreements with to get child support from the spouse living in their country. Currently the U.S. has such agreements with 26 foreign countries.

An international divorce and/or custody case where one of the spouses/parents is outside of the country will usually require the filing of a child support order with the local child support office. Once this has been done, that country will assign an agency to deal with the issue, contact the spouse in their country and to make them comply with the issue.

State Agreements

The above scenario is one where the federal government has an agreement with the other government. This can also be done down at the state levels. For example, if the State of California has an agreement  with another country, the courts can then order the state to make use of that agreement to make the spouse in the other country comply with the order.


There are a number of countries around the world that are a party to a number of child custody treaties. One of the most important treaties for the protection of a child is the International Hague Convention treaty. Countries that are signatories of this treaty for example follow the uniform international child abduction and custody laws and ensure that even if a spouse is not in the U.S. he or she should be made to pay the expenses of their child.

State Employers

The fact that the U.S. is the hub of most business around the world is an encouraging fact as far as child support case is concerned. If you are able to get the child support order in your favor in your divorce case and the company in which your spouse works has an office in the U.S. then you can move the court to start a wage garnishment service against the other spouse. What this would do is that the company of the spouse will deduct the child support amount from his salary monthly and transfer it on their own in your bank account.

Orange County Spousal Support: All You Need To Know

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmSpousal support, or alimony, is the legal obligation to financially support your spouse following the dissolution of your marriage. The concept of spousal support was created to help the spouse who earns lesser pay or has been unemployed to become self-supporting.

Kinds of spousal support 

If you seek spousal support while your case is in process, it will be known as a “temporary spousal support order.” It will be called “permanent spousal support” if the court case and divorce has been finalized.

Calculating spousal support

In the courts of Orange County, judges refer to the factors listed in the California Family Code to determine how much spousal support is required as they decide the final spousal support order. The factors mentioned include:

  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The standard of living each person maintained while being married and the needs based on that.
  • The amount of money each person can afford to pay to maintain the standard of living while they were married.
  • Property and debts, if any.
  • If there were any instances of domestic violence during the marriage.
  • If one spouse had to quit their career to care for the children or the household.
  • The impact spousal support would have on the payer’s taxes.

The long-term spousal support depends on the duration of the marriage and the goal of the idea is to ensure that the spouse will be able to support themselves after a reasonable amount of time. The judge need not fix an end-date for the spousal support if the duration of the marriage was “long-term,” which is 10 years or longer.

Domestic violence and its impact on spousal support 

If there has been any recorded evidence of domestic violence, the judge will take into consideration these details before the final decision has been made. If the abusive spouse is paying the spousal support, the judge will declare that any distress that was faced by the other spouse due to the violence must also be supported.

Once the court order has been published, the spouse must continue paying the alimony until a change has been declared by the court or until the end-date mentioned in the order. In Orange County and California in general, if you fall behind on your spousal support payments, you will have to pay 10% interest per year on the due balance which is known as “arrearages.” You can also be held “in contempt of court” if you are found to be willfully not paying the alimony.

3 Things That Can Cause Divorce Mediation To Fail

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmWhen couples decide to split, the decision they take can often have far-reaching effects. Hence, it is important that people choose the right method to get divorced. The easiest and most popular method of getting divorced is through divorce mediation. This is a method where the spouses are empowered to come to terms with one another and resolve the divorce issue themselves.

Despite it being a fast, empowered, stress free and conflict free way of getting divorced, sometimes, even divorce mediation can fail. This blog outlines the 3 reasons why it can fail, so that you can avoid them and make your divorce mediation a success.

Expectations Not Matching Reality

People to people contact, the internet and other online resources have a number of different advantages, but one disadvantage of the process can be the spreading of misinformation. Some of the spouses that come for Orange County divorce mediation have a belief that everything that their spouse has is theirs. When spouses have such unrealistic expectations, it is hard to negotiate with them because they want the other spouse to merely accept what is being offered or risk losing all of it in a litigated divorce.

Despite the fact that their belief is wrong, these spouses and their sky high expectations can decrease the chances of a meaningful conversation and a resolution.

Engaging in Good Faith Negotiation

The key to success in Orange County divorce mediation is having good faith during negotiations. This is not a game of chess or a game of hearts where you keep your cards and your moves close to your chest. For mediation to work, the spouses need to trust one another and should outline all of their options on the table. Inability to do so can result in a breakdown of negotiations.

A good faith negotiation is where both of the spouses feel willing to negotiate and provide true, relevant information beforehand. Lying, keeping information and assets hidden can be taken in bad faith and might ultimately lead to a failure of the mediation process.

Trying to Use Mediation as a Way of Mending Broken Bridges

There are some spouses who enter mediation, not with the goal of having a peaceful resolution to their divorce process, but instead to salvage their marriage. These spouses believe that unlike a litigated divorce, the pace of this divorce can be dictated. Hence, they try and slow the pace down only to buy time to salvage a relation.

This is often the wrong approach to take, since once another spouse has decided to take such a big step of ending the relation, there is a minute chance if any, of them going back on their word and the only thing delaying mediation achieves, is getting the two embroiled in a bitter litigated divorce.

OCCourts.org – A Guide to Your Orange County Divorce Case Online

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmOnce an Orange County divorce case has been filed and you have case number, the parties and their attorneys can access their case online.  Www.occourts.org is the website you can go to for information on your case. This website highlights your case information such as status of your case in the court, anything and everything that has been filed in your Orange County divorce case, a detailed list of all the hearings that have happened and the parties and attorneys in the case.  It will also highlight the date set for the next hearing.

Interesting Facts about the Website

  • While the document list is there for you to view, you cannot view the original document. For that a trip to the court is necessary or you can order any documents from the case online and pay the processing fee by credit card.
  • Mistakes can sometimes happen and if you think there has been a mistake make sure you call up your Orange County divorce lawyer to confirm.
  • The website, despite being updated regularly, is not always up-to-the-minute accurate. There is often a delay in between receiving, scanning and getting the information posted online.

A Few Key Features

  • The case can be searched on the website using the name of case or its number. A name search will also require to enter a code to notify the system that not a computer spammer.
  • The initial screen of the case will highlight you the status of the case, the date of filing and the number of the case.
  • There are a number of different tabs on this screen and one that says “Register of Actions” tab will be the one that gives you a lowdown on what has been filed in your case up until this point. Whatever you may feel you miss here can be gotten by you through the family law clerk’s office.
  • Another section known as the participants will tell you the people involved in fighting the case. This will usually lay down you, your spouse and your lawyers.
  • There is also the hearings section to keep you updated on the dates that you need to be present in court on and the dates that have already gone by.
  • If you are interested in any document filed in your Orange County divorce case, the use of the shopping cart section will allow you to order it home. Of course the document you get will be a copy. The turnaround time is typically 3-5 days.

Understanding Domicile in California Divorce Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law Firm, Inc.With regard to the issue of California residency requirements in a divorce case, it is important to know that the person filing for divorce must have lived in California for 6 months prior to filing and for 3 months in the county they are filing in.

California Residency Requirements – How Do You Show Domicile?

The most important word to highlight whether you fulfill the California residency requirement is domicile. This can be broken down into two parts, one is intent to stay in the state and the other is physical residence in the State of California.

The most important thing to know when showing domicile is that it is at the very least not a black and white rule at all. There are a number of issues that the court will look at such as:

  • Voter Registration
  • Organizations, mail receipts and memberships
  • Registration of vehicle and your driver’s license
  • Residency or home ownership
  • Filing of tax returns
  • What banks hold your money and where

What You Should Ask Yourself Before Filing

A lot of the times you will find yourself unsure regarding the correct domicile to file for your divorce case. However, if you are unsure, it’s best that you ask yourself the following questions:

  • How likely is it that your spouse will file for a divorce in another state?
  • How well do you think you match up to the residency requirements to file for an Orange County divorce?
  • Where are the children, financial documents and witnesses that back up your claims located? This is an important question because their presence in the county will help you establish domicile.
  • Is it feasible in line with a cost benefit analysis for you to file in this jurisdiction and have the jurisdiction challenged, or for you to challenge jurisdiction in another state?

Conflict between Parents after Divorce – Part 2

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmThis blog is a continuation of the previous blog “Conflict between Parents after Divorce – Part 1”.

How the Positions In A Divorce Case Affect Future Co-Parenting

One of the most common science quotes is, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. This applies perfectly well in cases of a divorce. Simply put, what you do in your Orange County divorce case will come back to bite you if you are not careful as far as co-parenting goes.

Sometime for example, the threat to a child from one of their parents may be so great that they will have to be kept away from them for their own safety. Yet, these are often rare cases and typically this won’t be the case. So even if there is a high conflict between the parents, the custody of the child can carry on as usual.

The positions you take over co-parenting in a divorce case will go on to dictate the way you act in co-parenting with or without conflict. Hence it is best that any position taken must be taken with care and a strict sense of the future in mind. The one things that can often create conflict in co-parenting after divorce is placing emphasis on something too much, more than it warrants.

How Parental Conflict Can Sometimes End In Better Co-Parenting

When you get into a conflict with the other spouse, emotions of hatred and bitterness are in play. Keeping tabs over these emotions is  a great test of character and integrity of a person. The best way to do is by practicing logic and making sure you handle everything with courage.

Yes, conflicts can become ugly most of the times and for a child to see their parents have a conflict even during or after they have gone through a divorce can be testing to say the least. But, on the brighter side, going through conflict actually teaches the divorced parents how to handle their emotions. How to ensure that logic triumphs and how to make sure difficult moments can always be overcome if you have the best interest of the child at heart.

Most parents love their children and would do anything to get their custody, conflict in co parenting teaches the other spouse how they may have love and emotions for the child, but the other parent has the same feelings.

The key to co-parenting is trust and allowing the other parent to enjoy as much space as you do with you child, and once you have had conflict with the other spouse, you will know that the other spouse is as eager as you to spend time with the child.

Conflict Between Parents After Divorce – Part 1

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

family law attorney Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmToday the greatest emphasis is put on no conflict parenting as a result of a divorce. But despite all this importance being placed on it, is it even possible? Is the separation of conflict a realistic, achievable target? This needs to be considered in line with the fact that a father and mother may love their child the most in the world but will they be ready to shed the feeling of bitterness against the spouse having gone through a divorce?

These are questions that need to be answered and will be answered in this two part blog. This is the first part of the blog.

An Art Learned

The most important thing to note here is that co-parenting is an art that people are not born with. This is something that needs to be learned over time and with experience. The first and most important thing needed to learn this art is hard work and determination. You need to know in your mind that you are doing this for the betterment of your child. Once you know that the end goal is the betterment of your child, it is likely that you will be able to overcome obstacles that may have put you off earlier.

The Start of Conflict

When you have gone through an Orange County divorce, there is bound to be bitterness in between spouses. But this bitterness seldom transforms itself into conflict without initiation from either side. There are a number of different ways where this initiation can start. Some examples of how a conflict between parents starts after a divorce are highlighted below.

·         Making Use of the Child as Leverage

When two spouses go into a divorce, more often than not they perceive it as a fight which needs to be one at any cost. It is a fight alright but what the weapons? Unfortunately, for some parents children are weapons of attacking and gaining leverage over the other spouse. Using children as leverage will include instances such as:

  • Parental Alienation
  • Violation of the joint legal custody rights
  • Parental gate-keeping
  • Use of false child abuse allegations etc.

The goal of all the actions highlighted above is simple, to frustrate and anger the other spouse into either submission or making a mistake.

·         A lack of Trust is a Lack of Respect

The use of children is not the sole way a parental conflict exists. Sometimes the fact that there is a growing lack of trust between the spouses can give rise to conflict. This conflict can in most cases take a hostile turn, most commonly in cases where there is a lack of respect. The most common issues that can come up are:

  • Lack of financial support
  • Perception of the other parent being broken up
  • Infidelity which has broken trust beyond repair
  • Perception that the other parent lacks the requisite parenting skill

Protecting Your Rights When Divorcing A Narcissist

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmGoing through a divorce is a tough task on its own and add to that the fact that you have to deal with a narcissist spouse and you may really be at your wit’s end. The fact that you going through a divorce with a narcissist spouse doesn’t necessarily mean that you should suffer through a turbulent and pain-staking divorce. There are ways for you to deal with such a spouse and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the case and after the divorce.

Here are a few things that can be done to protect your rights and make your divorce against a narcissist spouse easier to bear.

Stand Up to the Intimidation

Narcissists believe that the world revolves around them. They will want to avoid changes that are not approved by them and if you have filed for divorce on your own, to them it’s a challenge to their authority. They will typically try and intimidate and threaten you to comply with their wishes. This is especially true if they even have the upper hand in terms of economic contributions to the household. If that is the case, you need to consult your Orange County divorce lawyer and move the court for an injunction against the other spouse to make sure your safety is ensured.

Alert the Court of any Non-Disclosure of Information

Both spouses litigating a divorce case have the right to know about the financial position of the other spouse. This is an important part of the divorce case trial. If the narcissist spouse refuses to cooperate in this regard it is best that you try to compel him or her to provide information, in case they fail to do so, you should alert the court. Courts have the ability to slap the unreasonable spouse in a divorce case with monetary sanctions and fines. Once they start to hurt them, they will start to cooperate.

Use the Court to Get the Judgment Implemented

Often it may be so that the court has passed an order in your favor and have asked the narcissist spouse to give you monthly spousal support. If the narcissist spouse fails to do so and refuses to abide by the judgment you need to contact your divorce lawyer and move the court against the non- compliance. The court can order the non-complying spouse to comply or else fail several other punishments such as a jail sentence, a forceful transfer of the narcissist’s salary to the other spouse etc.

What Not to Do?

A narcissist will use every dirty trick in the book to gain the upper hand in the divorce case. As much is expected of them, yet the situation will go south when you start to do the same things. If you start to leverage against the other spouse unfairly not only will your case weaken but you will also find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

Tips to Successful Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce attorney; The Maggio Law FirmHiring an Orange County divorce lawyer is never an easy task. A lawyer is the person in charge of your future in court and making a mistake in that regard could cost you dearly for the rest of your life. Hence, it is recommended that before you choose a divorce lawyer for your case, its best that you meet them and have a consultation with them. This blog will highlight a few tips to judge whether the lawyer is the real deal to handle your case or not.

How experienced are they?

You may have heard the saying old is gold. In jobs such as that of a lawyer the more experienced the lawyer means generally the better. When you sit down with a lawyer for your first consultation before actually hiring them make sure you know about the amount of experience they have in this field. An Orange County divorce lawyer that has a wealth of experience behind them will generally know the tricks of the trade. Also it’s best to make sure that their experience as a lawyer was in the field of Orange County divorce and not some other field.

What areas of law do they regularly practice in?

Some lawyers specialize in cases of an Orange County divorce and other family law issues, while others do a number of other fields such as bankruptcy etc in addition to these fields. The wider the service area of a lawyer the less dedicated they will be to a particular aspect. To be able to get the best results in your divorce case, a dedicated lawyer that only deals with family law and divorce cases will be a better bet.

The mode of communication during the case

Even before you have hired a divorce attorney you need to sit with them and talk about the mode of communication you’ll take during the case. Communication is an integral part of a divorce cases and it is the only way that you and your lawyer can set up strategies and update one another on the happening of the case.

The seriousness of the lawyer in discussing the communication channels and methods with you will highlight their seriousness and mettle to handle your case.

The strategy to Use

When you go to a divorce lawyer even before you have hired on, its best that you lay down the facts of the case in front of them. Once you have done so, ask them to comment on the prospective outcome of the case, you chances of victory in the case and the strategy that they would adopt to get the result in your favor. A good lawyer may not give you all the details in the first consultation but they may outline a rough sketch of the strategy. If the strategy seems workable to you, you can go ahead and hire the lawyer.