How To Deal With Post-Divorce Stress

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmDivorce will leave scars on everyone that goes through it. It doesn’t matter if the divorce was a mutual decision or a one-sided one, the feelings of loss and disconnection are common. Often, however, holding on these feelings makes the future worse both for yourself and your ex. There are 2 key things that you have to understand in order to get past your post-divorce stress:

Divorce will not change people

There are divorcees who have admitted that they never loved or stopped loving their exes but they still felt emotional towards them or frustrated by them. The main cause of this isn’t necessarily conflict – it’s that people have the misconception that divorce will change people. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. For example, if you were married to an overbearing narcissist then they won’t change after the divorce. Expecting them to be different when you meet them post-divorce will change the way you interact with them.

Remember that most sociopaths or narcissists thrive on the reaction that their actions or words get. Thus, they are less likely to change if you react the same way every time. You have to focus on changing your reactions to their sadistic behavior as there is no way for you to control them. Admittedly, this isn’t an easy task and requires daily effort.

Changing your perception

During the process of a divorce, people tend to put themselves down as they go through loss. A lot of divorcees end up looking at themselves as failures and spiral into self-pity. Self-pity can lead to divorcees getting stuck in a vicious cycle of over-compensating (partying,.dating new people constantly, indulging in substance abuse) and depression (lying in bed, giving up responsibilities). The key to getting over this is to change your perspective.

Look at divorce for what it really is, two people who once loved each other growing apart. Do not try to attach blame, either to your ex or yourself. Remember that neither of you are failures for choosing to end an unhappy marriage. Regardless of what happened in the past, you have to stop living through it over and over again. It is the only way to move on and maybe even make the divorce more amicable. Counseling is a great way for you and your ex to understand each others view points and move on after the divorce.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

How Your Job Status and Divorce Go Hand in Hand

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmA recent study by Alexandra Killewald, done with over 6,300 couples, revealed that the most predictable factor of a divorce is the husband’s employment status. The study included many other factors, but revealed that men without full-time jobs are 33% more likely to be divorced. This study has shocked many sociologists as many predicted that financial issues would lead to divorce, not employment.

The change since the 70’s

The same study showed that unemployed men had a slimmer chance of getting divorced over 40 years ago, There are many reasons why this might have occurred. For starters, the role of women in marriages has changed drastically. In the 70’s, women were expected to handle at least 75% of household chores while the man was the breadwinner. Nowadays, women have their own jobs and salary to depend on. Moreover, the researcher had balanced out the income levels to rule out financial motives for divorce. She found out that lower household incomes didn’t contribute directly to divorce at all.

Marriage is a social institution

After taking all this into consideration, it was hypothesized that the reason for unemployed men having a higher divorce rate was because of imposed gender roles. These gender roles are implemented socially and lead to the perception of men being breadwinners and women doing household work. Killewald suggests that due to these perceptions, men tend to feel emasculated or inferior when taking on “feminized roles” like cleaning or providing emotional support. She suggests that the gender roles put pressure on men to be the breadwinner. However, the source of this pressure is unclear – it may come from family, extended family, friends or outsiders.

There have been a sleuth of studies that have shown that marriages tend to fall apart if stereotypical gender roles are given a high priority. This is because anything that doesn’t fit the partner’s desired role leads to conflict. With the right nature of marriage counseling, these issues can be resolved. If this doesn’t work then an amicable divorce seems like the best outcome and mediation helps with this.

Killewald suggests that a wider perception of a husband’s roles is the solution to this problem. There has been a lot of focus on the change in marital roles of a woman but the same attention hasn’t been given to the men’s experiences. It is clear to see that there are many “house-husbands” who prefer taking care of the household but there’s still a long way to go before they are fully accepted by all members of society.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

The Impact Of Domestic Violence On Child Custody Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Domestic violence Orange County attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmThe child custody and visitation laws are separately dealt with in divorce lawsuits involving child abuse or domestic violence. It is the duty of the judge to establish whether there is a genuine case of any kind of physical or mental abuse or not. If yes, the court of law must follow specific rules and guidelines to reach a final verdict in terms of custody and visitation rights of the parents involved.

What is regarded as domestic violence by the State of California? 

Many times, the victims of domestic abuse end up thinking that they have not been subjected to any violence unless it is causing any physical harm to them. However, the State of California defines the conditions wherein an act would be considered domestic violence by the court of law such as:

  • Subjecting the victim to intentional bodily harm or injury
  • Sexual assault
  • Scaring the victim to have a constant fear of being physically harmed by the perpetrator
  • Other actions that might drive a court to issue a restraining order against the acting individual such as physical assault, harassment, stalking or unwanted phone calls

How the court of law decides custody and visitation in cases of domestic violence?

While deciding upon the child custody and visitation rights of a parent, the court is obliged to ensure the best interests of the child at all costs. In the event of a domestic violence being involved in a divorce lawsuit, the judge has the right to limit or block contacts of the child with the abusive parent. Evidence of domestic violence reported by law enforcement, social welfare agencies, child protective services and medical facilities would be acceptable as substantial proof of abuse and will be held against the defendant.

Since the court is obliged to ensure the child’s best interests at all times, exposing him to any kind of domestic violence will be against the policy of his protection. In such cases, the judge might either order supervised visitation for the abusive parent or completely bar overnight visits. In case a protective order has been issued, the judge might stipulate pre determined conditions for the visitation or even entirely deny it.  In cases involving extreme abuse, the court may go to the lengths of ordering a permanent and complete termination of the parental rights of the abusive individual.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

What To Know About Subpoenas in a California Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers orange countyMoney and assets are key players in divorce proceedings. To get the most out of their divorce, partners are often desperate to find an evidence against each other. When you are preparing for or defending against a California family-law matter, a powerful tool called the ‘Subpoena’ can be used.

What is a Subpoena?

A subpoena is a request, writ, or summons issued by a court of law or governing body which compels the recipient to appear in court or produce physical evidence in a case. It is a mandatory procedure which has to be fulfilled, the  failure of which results in a penalty.

In cases where the subpoena does not impact the case in any way or the records are bound by confidentiality rules, the recipient can object and refuse to comply with the subpoena. If you have legal representation, then the subpoena is issued by an ‘attorney of record’, else a clerk of the court will do it for you.

Using a subpoena, you are able to

  • Provide accurate documents supporting your case because the recipient of the subpoena is compelled by law to do so.
  • Get the documents certified by a member of the court. This makes the documents a valid admission in court even if your partner objects to it, providing an exception to the California hearsay rule.
  • Get your attorney fees reimbursed.

Types of subpoenas

Depending on the type of matter on hand and the client’s needs, there are 3 types of subpoenas.

  1. Civil Subpoena for Personal Appearance at Hearing or Trial

A civil subpoena is used to compel a witness to appear in court in order to provide evidence against the other party. It is often used to coerce the witness into pressuring the opposing party to cooperate.

  1. Civil Subpoena (Duces Tecum) meant for Personal Appearance and Production of Documents as well as Things At Trial Or Hearing and Declaration

It is similar to the civil subpoena but requires the witness to bring documents and records supporting their case to the trial or hearing.

  1. Deposition Subpoena for Production of Business Records

The deposition subpoena requests parties to present business records such as credit card statements, bank records, employment records, medical records etc. This can be used for parties who have declared their income as less than what they are actually making.

A subpoena is a useful procedure which may help you win your case. Ensure you engage the services of a good family-law attorney to prepare you for subpoenaing records and witnesses.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Use of Texts and Emails as Evidence in a Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmGetting a divorce is never easy, both mentally and emotionally. It is a finality which confirms the end of your relationship. There are feelings of anger, hate, betrayal, hurt, and animosity. Such feelings are common when dealing with high-conflict cases such as those involving domestic abuse or child custody and get out of hand pretty easily.

When the conflict begins to border on the abuse, you can bring it to the court’s attention and request for a restraining order or modify custody terms for your partner. The law cannot request someone to modify their behavior and act nicely.

Not every conflict is verbal. When you are caught up in such a situation, your only chance of communicating with your partner is through emails or texts. The issue is when you want to use them as evidence in your favor. The court has the authority to admit emails and texts as evidence as long as an evidentiary foundation has been laid for it in court and as long as it has been shown that there have been no alteration of the emails and texts.

But it is important to have an open line of communication with the other parent.  So what can you do in order to continue communicating with your partner without using personal emails, texts, or the phone? The solution is TalkingParents.com, a website dedicated to parties who want to keep their communication lines open without including a personal medium. Both partners can ‘talk’ with each other only through the website. They maintain records of your communication, ensuring they are not manipulated by any means. The site allows you to discuss your custody schedules, agreements of any kind and limits communication only to what is necessary.

The result of communicating through a site like TalkingParents.com is that you can use their records of your interactions as evidence in court by paying them a nominal fee. It is accepted by the court under the California ‘business records’ hearsay exception rule.

Here are the benefits of using TalkingParents.com.

  1. It is free and easy to use.
  2. You can directly communicate with your partner instead of using a mediator.
  3. You can resolve issues in a civil manner because the records can be used in court.
  4. Communications are conducted securely.

Apart from being able to use it in court, the site can also help in reducing conflicts among parties. It is a better way to communicate with your partner than through texts and emails.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Steps Involved In Child Custody Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmWhen you get divorced and need to sort out custody for your children, child custody mediation is usually the least stressful way to handle custody agreements. Unless your ex-spouse is an unfit parent for your children, try as much as you can to settle custody through mediation rather than dragging your family, and your children, through the heart wrenching agony of a bitter custody trial.

If you’re unsure of what mediation might look like, day-to-day, read on to find out.

When you decide on mediation, you, your attorney, your ex-spouse, and their attorney decide to come to a custody agreement in the presence of a divorce mediator instead of a judge.

When preparing for mediation proceedings, it is highly recommended that you hire an attorney, write out detailed schedules for your child, draft a custody agreement and visitation proposal, and make sure that you have all the documents you need concerning your child. Your attorney will be able to advice you regarding those documents.

Mediation processes usually follow a set of steps that are fairly standard—you meet with the mediator, figure out the issues that require mediation, discuss a custody agreement draft with your ex-spouse while making required changes throughout the process, and then sign the agreement.

When in mediation, you should discuss the following issues:

  • Figure out regular custody and visitation—are you going to share custody or not? Will the child remain with one parent most of the time? What does visitation look like?
  • Once you arrive at a custody situation, start defining the parameters and the boundaries of the time you have with your kids. Where will your kids spend specific holidays or school vacations? Can one parent take the child on long vacations? Under what circumstances can changes be made to the current visitation schedule? Also, this is the time to figure out how you can go about changing the custody agreement on a permanent basis if required.
  • The other important issue you need to discuss concerns the raising of your children. Discuss things like schools, activities, religious training, medical care, dental and vision care, sports, etc. Figure out who wants to be involved where, and make it happen. Also figure out how you’ll split costs for things like college or private school, or even emergency medical care if required.
  • If you run into problems or disagree with each other, listen to the mediator and try and arrive at an amicable solution. Compromise, because the other party will compromise as well, and ultimately, this will benefit your children.

Once the agreement is drafted and signed, you can and should expect your ex-spouse to honor it.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.

Should You Opt For Monthly or Lump Sum Alimony?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county spousal support; The Maggio Law FirmWhen you divorce your spouse, the question of alimony always rears its head. Whether you’re the person paying it, or the person rearing it, there are several ways in which these funds can be disbursed, and you need to know the benefits and difficulties attached with each one.

The two most common methods of carrying out alimony payments is either through a lump-sum “buy-out” payment or otherwise by monthly payments.

Person receiving alimony, lump-sum 

Pros:

  • One of the biggest benefits in taking a lump-sum alimony payment is that it does not require you to worry about your spouse suddenly stopping the payments you are entitled to, if they were to have financial issues down the line.
  • Moreover, having a lump-sum payment means that you’ll have money upfront to make big purchases if required, like buying a house or even relocation costs.
  • Lastly, the biggest benefit of taking a lump sum alimony payment is that you’ll probably end up getting more money, because the lump sum is never discounted to current day value. 

Cons:

  • There may be tax issues if you get a lump sum alimony, and the full amount will be taxed for the year in which you receive it.
  • If your ex-spouse were to declare bankruptcy at any point, their creditors may recover the lump-sum amount paid to you as part of the debt to be repaid.

Person receiving alimony, monthly payments

Pros:

  • If you anticipate any difficulty in terms of handling payments, a monthly payment scheme would help you with the funds you receive.
  • The monthly payments will also be adjusted to present cost, so you may actually end up receiving more than you might have at a lump-sum settlement.

Cons:

  • If your spouse were to become unable to pay those payments at any point, you will lose out on your alimony.

Person paying alimony, lump sum

Pros: 

  • Once you pay the lump sum, you have no further obligation to your former spouse. You’re done! Moreover, getting your alimony out of the way prevents your previous spouse from insisting you maintain your life insurance as security against on-going alimony payments.

Cons:

  • The lump sum can only be paid if you have the resources already available. Borrowing to pay alimony requires borrowing at exorbitant interest rates, which are not worth it. The worst part, though, is that the interest on these loans are non-deductible, so you don’t get a cash benefit.

Person paying alimony, monthly payments

Pros:

  • Alimony payments usually stop when the ex-spouse dies or remarries. Basically, if you know that your ex-spouse is likely to get remarried soon, insist on monthly payments because you may end up shelling out less money than if you had to pay them a lump sum.
  • The monthly payments also help when you don’t have enough money to make a lump-sum payment, as they offer you the ability to steer clear of high-interest, non-deductible loans.

Cons:

  • With continuing payments, you’ll have to have your ex-spouse in your life for a while, until the payments end. Moreover, you might end up paying more money than you might have had to pay if you’d settled a lump sum on your ex-spouse instead.

When looking at alimony options, different options work for different situations. Find out the benefits and difficulties with each one and discuss it with your attorney before you proceed with your divorce.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

The Need for Financial Disclosures In A Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio LawIn California divorce cases, a financial disclosure known as a “Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure” is a legal document declaring your income and your expenditures, what you own and how much you owe in terms of assets and liabilities is required.  It a legal document that both parties have to prepare and serve separately while filing for a divorce. It is important that this legal document has all the correct information because it is going to be thoroughly scrutinized by your spouse’s attorney.

Completing a divorce financial disclosure 

A divorce financial disclosure is a very crucial piece of legal proof of your finances. All the information provided has to be accurate because all decisions regarding how much spousal or child support you receive or have to pay depends on this paper. Both temporary and final divorce settlements are determined by the declarations in the financial affidavit.

The declaration is made under oath and any false information could mean you being penalized under perjury. In some cases, severe penalties include your spouse being awarded 100% of the hidden assets. So it is absolutely necessary that you provide every little financial detail and be accurate.  Every minute detail has to be furnished for the financial disclosure.  Your expenditures will be categorized.

Consulting with your divorce attorney and financial advisor

Your divorce lawyer generally is the one that will prepare your financial disclosure with your involvement and input.  However, you can have your financial advisor will go through your disclosure with a fine-toothed comb.

Also, your financial advisor can do a lifestyle analysis, which is an analysis of a couple’s spending habits and their daily living expenditures during the last few years as a married couple. All sorts of expenditures – recurring, non-recurring, ordinary and unusual – will be considered. The lifestyle analysis is a sort of a confirmation of the income, expenditure and the net worth statements filed.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Questions To Prepare Yourself For During the Divorce Settlement

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce Attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law Firm, Inc.Many people think that a divorce is going to resolve all their troubles. But deciding on a divorce is extremely difficult. No one wants their marriage to end this way. But certain circumstances and incidents make it an inevitable choice.

The most common dilemmas that affect every divorcing couple are as follows.

  • The couple wants a divorce but is not sure if it is the appropriate decision.
  • One of them does not want the divorce but the other person wants it.
  • The couple believes that a divorce is the only solution because the marriage is not working.

Whatever the dilemma is, if any couple is actually contemplating a divorce they should ask themselves several questions during the divorce settlement.

Was it a real marriage?

Most of the time a marriage may not have a real meaning for the people involved in it. They get married because they want to get married and have children, and mostly because it is the right thing to do. Some people have a marriage of convenience. Perhaps there were no emotions attached. May be there was never a ‘we’.  In such a case, you should get divorced.

Do you still love your spouse?

Many people can still very much be in love with their spouses but due to some ego problems or continuous disagreements, they feel like they have got no love left for their partners. They have lost that bond, that intimacy and that closeness. If it is something like this then you should not consider a divorce. You should talk things out and try to make the marriage work.

Do you really want a divorce or is it just a threat?

During a heated argument either of you may uttered the word ‘divorce’. But it does not mean that you really meant it. You should let yourselves calm down and think if that is indeed what you want. You may have said it out of frustration because the marriage is no longer working.

Can you handle the consequences of a divorce?

Divorce brings about emotional and financial difficulties and instabilities. You will have to handle things in a responsible and mature way. You will have to take control of your life.

If you can answer all these questions without hesitation, you are ready for end your marriage and finalized your divorce.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.

Should You Keep Your Marital Home After The Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmA divorce means dividing your properties and assets. For many couples, dividing their marital home becomes the biggest issue. It is their most valuable asset and neither of the two spouses wants to part with it. The primary residence has significant financial and emotional importance.

But deciding whether to keep your marital home after the divorce or not should not be decided based on emotions. Thoughtful analysis is required before you take any decision. Or else you may end up regretting your decision. Ask yourself questions from a financial point of view before deciding on keeping your marital home.

Is it possible for you to refinance the mortgage?

If you insist on keeping the house your husband or wife would surely want to have their name struck off from the mortgage (if you are paying one). If you are the only one whose name is left on the mortgage, then you will have to refinance the mortgage.

It can be quite a cumbersome process. You will be required to meet the federal standards of debt to income ratio. And sadly enough, any spousal or child support received by you will not be considered as reliable income until and unless you have been receiving them for the last 1 year.

Will you be able to own and maintain the house?

Maintaining a house is a very expensive thing. Expenses that you will have to bear include property taxes, maintenance and repair costs, homeowner’s insurance, and other related costs. The bigger the house the more the expense. Your income has to be constant and sufficient enough to be able to meet these expenses.

What is the real estate situation in California?

You need to be aware of what the housing market is like in your area. In the off chance that you eventually decide to sell it off in the future you would like to make a profit on the sale. The real estate situation is never guaranteed. So any future projections should be very helpful in taking a decision.

What taxes will you have to pay?

If you sell the house you will have to pay both state and federal taxes on the capital gains that you make from the sale. Capital gain taxes are increasing every year.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process. 

 
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