Tips for Easier Visitation after Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce attorney; The Maggio Law FirmGoing through a divorce can be nothing short of uncertainty and pain to say the least. All of this can multiply in case your divorce involves children. Divorce is not easy on any one, neither the spouse that initiates it nor the spouse that willingly or unwillingly become a part of it.

Yet the people most affected by a divorce are the children who have no role to play in what is happening between their parents and yet they continue to suffer as a result. In order to make post-divorce easier for the kids, the divorced couple needs to sit down and collaborate to make visitations as positive an experience as possible.

Here are a few tips that parents who have gone through a divorce can use for effective, peaceful visitations:

Ensure Positivity

When your ex spouse’s visit is coming up, try to stay positive and make sure it can be seen clearly by your children. Always remember that while you may have countless differences with your spouses, divorce or not he or she is still a parent to your children. You can even talk to your ex spouses about the activities they’ll be doing with the kids to show a happy, collaborative mood between the two ex spouse to your kids.

Be Punctual

If you were a child how would you feel spending time with a parent who came to pick you up late from your visitation handover? Children value the importance that they are given by their parents. As a parent you need to make sure that you reach there right on time to take your kids and while you are with them give them all of your time. Your TV, messages and tweets can wait, what can’t is the need to be loved in your children.

Beware of Getting into an Argument

You had differences with your spouse that is pretty clear since both of you ended up getting yourselves an Orange County divorce. But your kids don’t know that their parents hate each other and if you want them to grow up happy, they shouldn’t. Arguing is never a good thing to do in front of your child, not least when two parents argue against each other. The more careful you are refraining yourself from arguing the more pleasant your visitation transitions will be.

Don’t Chastise Them for Missing the Other Parent

Missing someone is never a problem; it is something that comes naturally to most people. For all we know, you may sometimes visit your ex spouse. Hence it is only natural that you children may miss the other parent too even when they are in your company. This is not a sign of disapproval for you, rather shows the love they have for the other parent in addition to the love they have for you. Tell them it’s okay to miss the other parent and it’s nothing to feel guilty about.

Children Jailed in Michigan Custody Case Due to Parental Alienation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce attorney; The Maggio Law FirmChildren caught in the middle of contentious custody battles between divorcing parents can sometimes become victims of parental alienation.

In a case that grabbed nationwide attention this past summer, a judge in Oakland County, Michigan held three kids — ages 9, 10 and 15 — in contempt of court for refusing to meet with their estranged father. During a June 24 hearing to arrange parental visitation, Judge Lisa Gorcyca decided to send the kids to Children’s Village, a juvenile detention facility.

At their father’s request, they were released from the center on July 10 and sent to a two-week summer camp, where both parents will be allowed to visit them. Gorcyca said her decision was in the “children’s best interests.”

The judge’s controversial move has ignited public outrage. However, Gorcyca claims she was trying to help the children out of concern for their welfare as they were being “brainwashed.” According to court transcripts, she blamed their mother for alienating the kids from their father and not living up to the terms of the couple’s shared custody arrangement.

The children’s parents have been embroiled in a bitter divorce since 2009, failing to reach common ground during dozens of court appearances for issues such as therapy and parenting time. The mother has physical custody of the kids, while the dad sees them during supervised visits.

Each parent claimed the other is trying to turn the children against them. The father’s lawyer contended his ex-wife violates court orders and did not allow the children to see him, while the mother’s attorney said that she fears for the children’s safety. William Lanset, the guardian ad litem representing the kids, is in agreement with the father’s attorney, arguing that the mother’s actions are a form of parental alienation.

What does all this mean?  Well, child custody disputes can be very stressful. In cases of parental alienation in divorces, one parent repeatedly presents a negative view of the other to the child, so that the child no longer wants to spend time with the other parent. Such actions destroy the crucial parent-child relationship rather than strengthening it, and the child ends up suffering as a result.  When dealing with claims of parental alienation, it is essential for the court to determine the reason behind the child’s alienation and listen to what he or she has to say. Then, steps can be taken toward mending the broken relationship in order to establish both parents’ roles in raising the child.  It is important to understand that dealing with and undoing parental alienation issues is a long, difficult, and complicated process.

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The Dilemma of Stay-at-Home Moms After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Child custody attorneys Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmPost divorce, stay-at-home moms, or ex-housewives in other words, face the dilemma of whether to get a job or not. This can cause high levels of anxiety and stress developing in them. The primary reason for this is that most of the moms, even those that had been employed pre marriage, would have been out of the game so to speak for too long. This makes them initially dependent on their husbands for financial support.

In this blog, we will talk about the impact of getting a job on the care and well-being of their children and on the support payments that they are receiving.

The Challenge of Balancing Children and Work

Raising a child can be a fulfilling but tiring experience. Balance that with holding a job for person who has been out of employment for a long time and it becomes an uphill challenge at the very least.

In today’s world, a college degree has become a norm and people are applying for jobs they are over-qualified for, just to make sure they are employed. In this situation, what are the odds that a stay at home mom who have undergone an Orange County divorce will be able to carve out a job?

Yet most of this largely comes down to a few factors. These factors determine if a mother that has gone through an Orange County divorce can and should get a job.

·         The Age of the Children and the Number of the Children

The more the children a mother has to care for and the younger they are, the harder the chances of her being able to simultaneous work, depending on the custodial schedule.  Another consideration is what is the point of getting a low wage job just to pay most of the amount you earn back to the day care provider.

This issue is more relevant for moms that are in their 40’s or less and the father of the children has been the primary breadwinner in the family. Hence when they decided to go for an Orange County divorce, it was decided that the mother would care for the children staying at home, while the dad would pay their expenses and needs.

What moms need to understand is that in the California and Orange County family law courts must consider the best interest of the child, so the age and number of children are certainly part of that consideration.  However, pursuant to California Family Code 3900, both the parents of the child have a responsibility to support their children.  Therefore, although the court will likely not force a stay-at-home parent to work at the first stages of a divorce case, at some point that parent will likely be held to make reasonable efforts to find employment and not leave the entire burden of supporting the child on the other parent.  The subissues here are many and so it is advisable to seek legal advice concerning such issues.

Divorced Dad Seeks to Eliminate Spousal Support in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmA divorced dad in Orange County, California is calling for an overhaul of alimony laws, saying they are archaic and used unfairly by divorcing spouses to extract more money from their partners.

Businessman Steve Clark has claimed that current alimony laws were drafted when most women did not work. Women now comprise nearly half of the work force in the United States.

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is the payment one spouse makes to another after a divorce, based on a court decision or an agreement between the couple.

Clark decided to take action after his divorce culminated in long-term alimony of $1000 a month to his ex-wife, even though she works and has the ability to be financially independent, based on current California law factors.

In many divorce cases, the spouse with the higher income may end up paying alimony. However, a number of factors are considered when determining payments, such as the duration of the marriage, standard of living, financial obligations and more.

Clark is petitioning to end alimony via his website, He must collect at least 365,880 signatures from state voters by November 2nd for the bid to qualify for the 2016 state ballot.

If the controversial initiative is passed, alimony would no longer be awarded during divorces, legal separations and annulments. Existing alimony payments that were to end within 10 years would also stop, unless a court extension is granted.

Understanding California Spousal Support Rules

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

spousal support attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmOrange County divorce cases can sometimes be complex affairs. A divorce cases usually involves a host of issues that need to be addressed by the two parties before a judge can decide on the final judgment. One of the most important factors in a divorce case is spousal support. Spousal support has multiple rules that can make it difficult to understand.

In this blog, we will take a look at the rules used in calculating temporary spousal support while the Orange County divorce case is going on (versus long-term spousal support considerations at the end of the divorce case at trial which requires a consideration of the marital standard of living and the factors under California Family Code section 4320). In California, the courts determine temporary spousal support using a computer formula that is known as Xspouse or Dissomaster. In cases that involve children, spousal support is calculated after the child support requirements have been evaluated since the children come above everything else in a divorce case.

Yet despite the computer program, there are exceptions to the way spousal support is calculated.  Here are a few rules that govern exceptions in calculating spousal support.

·        When Tax consequences are different to what has been assumed by the Spousal support formula

The computer program that calculates the spousal support has an assumption of a tax consequence existing for all gross incomes. It will take into account what you would pay as tax. If however that is not the case, you need to notify the court as such as prove it using facts and evidences that prove your net disposable income has been calculated incorrectly.

·        When you have support obligations from other relationships

The computer formula is not designed for special circumstances. If you have been in a prior Orange County divorce and still have support payments to make, you should tell that to the judge. The judge will take that into account when deciding on the spousal support amount in this case.

·        The California Spousal Support Number doesn’t consider what you need

One of the leading criticisms of the system has been its inability to take into account the need of the spouse being supported. The computer will simply develop an amount using the net disposable income of the spouse. If the spousal support amount is disproportionate or inadequate for the needs of the spouse, they can put the matter in front of the judge for modification.

To prove you have need, the evidence needs to be factual, compelling and of an actual need and not a hidden want. Despite that, it will be on the court’s discretion to award an additional mount on top of has been decided or not.

·        Extremely High expenses not considered by the Spousal Support Formula

If you have out of the ordinary expenses that you want the court to take into account before making the spousal support order. You need to lay it down in front of the judge. The judge will only listen to your claim if you can give tangible, compelling evidence. But the decision is solely on their discretion.

Divorce Can Increase Heart Attack Risk in Women

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmResearchers have found that divorce can adversely impact the heart health of women.

Substantial research has already shown the negative effects of divorce on physical well-being, but a recent Duke University study reveals that multiple divorces can increase the risk of heart attacks.

The findings indicate women who divorced at least once were 24 percent more likely to have a heart attack compared to women who stayed married. Divorcing twice or more raised the chance of a heart attack to 77 percent, while remarrying caused it to go up to 35 percent.

Men’s heart attack risk went up only if they divorced at least twice, while it remained the same if they remarried.

The study, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, tracked the marital status of around 15,000 adults who married at least once over 18 years. Results remained the same even after researchers took into account age, socioeconomic status and physiological factors, among others.

The study did not examine how exactly divorce leads to more heart attacks or why there is a difference between risk levels for men and women. However, theories point to the emotional trauma of a dramatic life event or changes in behavior — such as smoking or altered eating habits — as possible causes that can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to poor heart health.

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Getting Married in Late Thirties Increases Risk of Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce attorneys Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmA new study has identified a shift in divorce trends, saying that people have the best chances of staying married if they wed between the ages of 25 and 32. The risk of divorce increases by five percent each year past the age of 32.

University of Utah sociologist Nicholas Wolfinger examined data from the National Survey of Family Growth from 2006 to 2010 and found that the odds of divorce decline steadily from the teenage years into the late twenties. However, couples who delay marriage until they are in their late thirties or early forties are more likely to divorce than those who wed in their late twenties, which are viewed as the years of peak marital stability.

Wolfinger theorized that people “delay marriage, often because they can’t find anyone willing to marry them…Perhaps people who marry later face a pool of potential spouses that has been winnowed down to exclude the individuals most predisposed to succeed at matrimony.”

Financial security, good communication skills and compromise are some of the factors that contribute to a lasting marriage, regardless of age, but there is no formula that guarantees marital success. If you are going through a divorce, the process is likely to be a difficult and emotional one, whether it is at a young age or later in life.

Sociologists have traditionally believed that waiting longer to get married leads to a more stable marriage. Along with being financially stable, people in their late twenties or early thirties are deemed to have more experience in making significant life choices and the willingness to make the lifestyle and goal adjustments that marriage often requires. Couples in that age group are also less likely to have children. In his study, Wolfinger noted that children from past relationships can create conflict in a new one.

Divorce becomes a lot more complicated when children are involved. No matter how old they are, divorcing spouses who are parents have the additional responsibility of ensuring their children emerge from the divorce process as unscathed as possible. Take a mature approach to the situation and make sure you treat your child with patience and understanding.

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California Supreme Court Defines Legal Separation for Divorcing Couples

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmThe California Supreme Court on July 20, 2015 ruled that it is necessary for divorcing couples to live in different residences in order to claim separate property and qualify as legally separated.

Under California family law, the income and property each spouse acquires during a marriage is considered community property to be divided between them during a divorce. However, couples often separate years before they divorce, removing all their earnings after separation from consideration when determining community property. When the couple separates, each spouse gets to keep whatever they accumulate.

According to the Supreme Court guidelines, a couple that continues to reside in the same house cannot qualify as separated when dividing assets. The ruling reinforces a bright-line rule, which makes the establishment of individual residences the minimum requirement to legally define when a couple is separated and income and property are no longer shared.

The ruling provides some clarity to everyone involved in the divorce proceedings, so that there is no confusion or disagreement as to when a couple actually separates. The Supreme Court has prioritized living arrangements when deciding separation over other factors such as separate bank accounts or the care of children.  However, the ruling does not address the situation where a spouse files for divorce or legal separation in family court but the parties continue to live together.  In such a situation, it is likely that the parties would be considered separated because of the court filing.

The court made its ruling in the Alameda County Superior Court case of divorcing couple Keith and Sheryl Davis. According to court documents, Sheryl claimed they formally separated in 2006 when she declared the marriage was over. She said they began living as roommates in different bedrooms under the same roof for the sake of their children and had taken steps to separate their finances. Keith contended that the separation began in July 2011, when she moved out of their Castro Valley, California, home.

Sheryl argued that Keith was not entitled to a share of her earnings as the couple’s arrangement met the requirement of living separately during those five years, when she earned more than he did. However, the state Supreme Court ruled that her income until July 2011 was community property, of which Keith is now eligible to receive a share.

Although the Supreme Court ruling serves to avoid ambiguity, it does not take into account aspects such as the parenting responsibilities between an estranged couple, as well as financial considerations.  One spouse may have to move out of the marital residence and find a new home as a prerequisite to establishing the date of separation, which could pose financial difficulties. Mediation can be helpful in cases that involve children and for resolving the many issues that arise from separation.

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How to Propose Divorce Mediation to Your Spouse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmPeople who are undergoing a divorce or have gone through one will know that the stakes are always high when it comes to an Orange county divorce. Increasingly for most people turning these stakes into an amicable solution that can result in an easy, amicable, and low cost divorce is possible because of mediation.

Marriages though need two spouses to make and similar is divorce. The choice of how you’ll end your relation is one that depends on both of the spouses.  If you are willing to end it by going through Orange County divorce mediation, you will need to propose it your spouse first.

How you propose Orange County divorce mediation to your spouses will determine if you end up having a low cost, stress free divorce or a high cost, bitter divorce.

Proposing Divorce Mediation to Your Spouse

If both of you are on talking terms there is no one better to propose mediation than you. Mediation can be a tricky one for spouses to understand the first time and you’ll need to allay the fears and apprehensions of your spouse.

But if you and your spouse are not on amicable terms and are not communicating with each other properly, it might be a good idea to use a neutral third party that is well respected by your spouse to propose it to him or her. If your spouse seems a little interested but not entirely sure, schedule a meeting with an Orange County mediator for them to talk and clear their minds.

Here are a few tips for spouse looking to propose mediation.

  • Give reasons to support mediation that work best for both of the spouses such as its fairness and low cost.
  • Before you set out to tell the mediation tale to your spouse, make sure you have thoroughly researched and read about it. You should know how it works and its costs etc. to truly be able to convince your spouse.
  • Give them choices for mediators and let them pick the best one. This will let them feel in charge and more ready to accept the process.
  • Keep it subtle. Overselling is never good, neither in the commercial world nor with your spouse. Keep your description of the process brief, focusing only on the major talking points at best. If you try to oversell you spouse might have suspicions you want this to gain an advantage.
  • Whatever you do, try not to be forceful about the matter. Stay clear of threats and ultimatums. Your spouse needs to make the decision with her own free that is the only way mediation will prove a success.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Be simple and effective with your words. Make them realize the importance of the process for the children involved in the marriage.

Imputing Income to a Parent in Child Custody Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law Firm, Inc.The matter of imputing income to a parent in a divorce case is one best described by the word discretion. The California family law courts have a wide discretion to decide cases of income imputing. The only thing that needs to be taken care of is the decision should bear resemblance to the actual facts and evidence of the case suggests.

Imputation of income in an Orange County divorce case occurs when one of the parents alleges that the other spouse can work but refuses to earn an income. The concept of imputation has been causing uncertainty for Orange County divorce lawyers for some time now. There are multiple decisions on similar facts that conflict with one another.

Courts Can Consider Earning Capacity Instead of Income

Simply put there have been cases where courts have assigned an imaginary income to the parent when deciding child support. This income will be based on their abilities, capacity and opportunity to earn income. This rule though can only be applied by the judges until and unless it is not conflicting with the best interest of the child.

There is no need for the court to hold the lack of work or refusal to work against the parent in bad faith.  Family law courts will simply look at the ability and opportunity of the spouse to earn income and then impute income if they see fit.

Imputed Income is Not Restricted to Child Support Cases

Imputing an income is not a primarily child custody concept. Orange County family law courts can even look at the assets that are producing income and create a reasonable rate of return of it. If for example a particular investment is made such as in stock portfolio etc. that have a fixed rate of return the court will not dispute or second guess that value, speculating that it could have been or should have been higher.

Can The Court Impute An Income and Add It to What the Parent Already Earns?

The answer to the question is not as far as formal proceedings are concerned. In theory, imputation of an income is done in a divorce case instead of the actual income and not in addition to. When you add an imputed amount on top of what the parent actually earns, it would disturb the child support guidelines and result in one of the spouse getting a significant windfall.  On the other hand, income such as return on investments can be added to the existing amount of income, because it is not related to the parent making an effort to be employed.