3 Ways That Parental Alienation Affects Children During Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

best divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmParental alienation occurs when a child becomes attached to one parent while rejecting the other. It usually happens when one parent purposefully encourages the child to alienate the other parent. The targeted parent may not be at fault and some parents try this as a means for winning custody battles. During a divorce, there are different emotions that come into the picture and anger and frustration are some of them. Some parents might vent out their anger by using his/her children against the other parent.

“Programming” the child to hate the other parent

Parental alienation usually involves the “programming” of the child to hate the other parent. It is a method of destroying the relationship between the child and the other parent. It is not only wrong to do so but also harmful for the child. The child develops a hatred towards the other parent and in future that hatred can manifest to something worse. It has been found that such “programmed” children are at risk of mental trauma and problems and treating them at a later stage can be difficult. The mental pressure faced by these children are symptoms of bigger mental problems.

It is a form of abuse

Research conducted on parental alienation has revealed that it is a type of abuse. It has been found that children of divorced couples are more prone to stress and anxiety than other children. One of the main causes has been attributed to parental alienation. In children, parental alienation leads to serious mental conditions and has long-term negative effects. Some of the symptoms exhibited by children who are victims of parental alienation are  lack of trust, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. It also harms the other parent and often leads to substance abuse and other addictions.

Post-traumatic stress following parental alienation

Children who are caught between spousal wars are likely to get post-traumatic stress especially when they constantly hear something negative about the other parent. Children have a fundamental right of being with whichever parent they wish to be with. Snatching that right not only creates post-traumatic stress but it also violates ethical standards. Children who are taught to hate the other parent are constantly in a conflict with themselves. They have trouble differentiating between what is right and what is not. The doubt leads to reduced self-confidence and causes post-traumatic stress.

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.  

Do’s And Don’ts of Dealing With Abused Children Of Divorced Parents

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmMore than often, children end up becoming victims of divorce. And sometimes, they are the reason why parents get divorced. The latter is common during child abuse cases. Child abuse includes physical, psychological and sexual harm inflicted on the child. Child neglect and abuse is a major ground for divorce and most states including California award custody to the other parent without much pressure. However, once the child goes back to the caregiver, there are certain do’s and don’ts to follow while dealing with them.

Do’s

First and foremost, get your child(ren) individual therapist with a therapist licensed in your state.

Make some organizational planning and re-structuring within the house without making it emotional. Involve the children while you’re making the plans to make them feel that everything is normal around them. Ask for votes and opinions and make them participate as much as you can. But don’t put too much responsibility on them.

Abused children show signs of depression and sadness but some kids can act in the opposite way. If they show unruly behavior, teach them how to behave and this can be done in a fun and creative manner.

From time to time, talk to them about the changes in the house and why the changes are taking place. It will increase communication and help foster a positive relation between you and your children.

Don’ts

Try to avoid any sense of fear or anger around them because it might lead to depression. Even if they are old enough to understand such behavior, any negative emotion can have bad effects on their psyche.

Don’t try to go into a new relationship when your kids are still trying to cope up with the situation. It becomes very confusing for them to adjust around new people especially when they have gone through a bad experience.

Avoid any talk about divorce or the abusive parent in front of your kids. Don’t even mention their name.

Don’t make complicated and philosophical talks with your kids. Talk to them as any other parent would with their children.

Conclusion

Children are tough to deal with when parents undergo a divorce. Abused kids even more because of the trauma they go through. While dealing with such kids, it’s better to keep things as normal as possible. Create activities and allow your kids to become a part of it. Avoid negative talks or anything that has to do with either the divorce or the abusive parent.

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.  

Are The Kids Suffering In A Failed Marriage?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County child custody; The Maggio Law FirmThere are several divorcees who refer to themselves as “victims” while they were married, particularly if abuse was a reason for getting divorced from their spouses. Abuse does not only include domestic violence but it also includes a horrifying phase of dictatorship and dominance while being married. Only when there was an end to the marriage that these spouses regard themselves to be free. However, what happens when the abused now realizes that their kids are also being subject to the same sort of behavior?

Time and again, it has been seen that the courts would like to ensure that the children should be in touch with both their parents, of course for the best interests of the latter. However, there are some cases the result may be not so good since there are tales of abuse or neglect. The question is what should a suspecting parent then do?

Do not be quick to draw conclusions

If your kid shows symptoms of being neglected or being abused, it is crucial to be composed. Though, this is easier said than done since false assumptions can just aggravate the situation. Only because a spouse was abused by his or her ex-partner does not necessarily mean that the kids are being targeted now.

There are cases where a child may express unhappiness in seeking attention or to manipulate the existing situation.

Trust their gut feelings

A parent should contemplate the subtle signs that hint towards child abuse. A divorced parent should never ignore their instincts. Abused and divorced parents have already gone through abuses in the hands of their former spouses and so they have a fair idea of those symptoms. When parents separate, kids may respond differentk0ly. A divorce may not know about the kid getting nightmares all of a sudden, wetting bed or performing badly in academics may be the outcomes of being abused or separation.

Get in touch with an expert

If the child is really being abused, it may not be a wise idea to handle the situation all alone. Rather consult those people whose expertise will be helpful. There are several divorce lawyers who also specialize in matters related to child custody. So, since the safety of the child is at stake, such parents should approach those attorneys who deal with cases related to child protection services. However, there is no such assurance that such cases will come out with proofs of abused. An experienced lawyer has the necessary expertise to channelize a case towards instant action.

However, all child-related issues may not necessarily mean abuse or neglect. Both the parents are equally responsible for upholding and working in their children’s best interests. In the case of child abuse, what matters most is to trust the gut feelings and get help before things get worse.

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.  

Parenting Plans for Non-Parents Granted Custody

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmOne of the most important issues of divorce cases is the issue of child custody. Often, parents who can’t agree on a common ground, have bitter child custody battles. It not only leads to psychological issues in the child and parents but it also destroys the relationship between the three people. Sometimes, child custody is awarded to a third party like grandparents or any close relative. Who the child goes to depends on the relationship he/she shares with the child and whether the child enjoys that relationship or not. Because in California, a child’s preference is considered over everything else.

If you’ve just been granted in a custody case and you’re not the biological parent, then here are some of the parenting plans which you should keep in mind.

  1. Take care of finances

In your parenting plan, this should be the number one thing. You must keep separate finances for the child’s future and education. Because you never know what tomorrow has in store for either of you. This becomes important in cases where the child had poor parents or who weren’t making substantial amount of money.

  1. Take care of psychological issue

Trauma and other psychological issues are common in children who go through a parent’s divorce. You must ensure that the child under your care is not exposed to nay more trauma. Avoid any discussion that involves his/her parent’s divorce. Spent more time, have fun and enjoy yourselves.

  1. Keep visiting hours for parents

Despite how their relationship might have been when they were together, it’s important for you to keep visiting hours for the parents. The child should not completely lose contact with his/her biological parents. Even if the parent is in jail or a psychiatry hospital, it’s still important that he/she sees his/her parent.

Child custody cases are important issues and need to be dealt with seriously. Child custody battles can sometimes turn ugly and both parents might end up losing custody. In such cases, the custody goes to a third party. For third party parents, a parental plan is equally important as it would have been for the biological parents. A parental plan will ensue that the child is taken care of in the best way possible. Along with other important things, the plan should include finances and visiting hours for the biological parents.

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.  

Can Spouses Convicted Of Domestic Violence Get Alimony?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

restraining orders Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmDomestic violence is an unpleasant subject and has plagued the lives of many couples. The number of domestic violence cases are more than that which get reported every year. Domestic violence is often one of the grounds on which one spouse seeks divorce. In California, domestic violence can mean many different things and you should carefully read through the California law before proceeding with the case.

Domestic violence in California

California is a “no-fault” state but in certain cases like domestic violence fault is a factor. In California, fault is thoroughly examined when spousal supports are determined in a domestic violence case.

California law states that after divorce the higher earner must support the lower earner. But in domestic violence cases, this law can be overlooked. For example, if domestic violence charges are against a spouse who earns lower then, after divorce, the other spouse need to provide spousal support.

California Family Code section 4323 clearly states that spousal support won’t be given if a spouse is charged and found guilty of domestic violence. In a standard divorce, the low-earner receives spousal support unless he/she is charged with domestic violence. If he/she is found guilty then any monetary compensation or other help will get terminated. One issue is that the marriage must have lasted for at least five years after which the rule stands true. The law is found in some of the states and provides a helping hand to the victims of domestic violence.

Examination by courts

Any domestic violence that has been documented will be examined thoroughly by trial courts. The decision will determine whether spousal support will be provided or not. Trial courts will also consider emotional distress, history of convictions and other problems which might be useful.

In California, domestic violence includes a wide range of problems. One of them is one spouse disrupting the peace of another. Domestic violence in other states might be only about physical assaults but not in California. Domestic violence is a serious offence in California and even the lightest change in behavior can lead to domestic violence.

False allegations

Can domestic violence be misused by someone? This question can be best answered by a law expert or one who has had extensive experience in dealing with such issues. The judge needs to look at all the evidence provided and after carefully going through the evidence, it will take its decision.

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 Restraining Orders Can Protect You Against Violence

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

restraining orders Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmA court of law has the right to impose a restraining order against an abusive individual who has been established as a physical mental or sexual threat to another individual. There are several reported cases of domestic violence and child abuse which involve violent actions of harassment, sexual abuse, stalking and threatening from the abusive partner. The victim who receives the restraining order is termed as the protected person and the abusive individual is referred to as the restrained person. In some cases, where the abusive individual poses a threat to more than one persons of a family, the restraining order will include the other members on the protected persons list as well.

Usually a restraining order that stems from an event of a spousal domestic violence or abuse aims at assisting the protected partner from imminent threat and danger in several ways.

Personal Conduct restraining orders 

The personal conduct restraining order aims at preventing threatening acts against all the individuals named under the protected persons list. The abusive individual is prohibited to indulge in several activities such as contacting, messaging, calling, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, destroying private property, harassing or disturbing the harmony and peace of the protected persons in any way.

Stay Away restraining orders 

The stay away orders stipulate that the restrained person is obligated to keep at a certain distance from the protected person or his house, workplace, children’s school, daycare, vehicle and other places that he or she visits.

Residence Exclusion restraining orders also known as move out or kick out orders 

In cases involving extreme domestic violence or child abuse, the court of law may order the restrained person to move out of the protected person’s residence along with his clothes and personal items, and stay someplace else until the next court hearing takes place.

Even if you have not yet been subjected to violence and abuse, you may still request a restraining order against a closely related abusive individual. There are several cases wherein a married partner, a dating partner, a divorced individual, a parent or a sibling may report an act of domestic violence against another member of the family and apply for a restraining order against the acting individual. Children above the age of 12 who have been subjected to some kind of physical, mental or sexual abuse from their parent can themselves request a restraining order from the court of law.

If you or a close relative has been subjected to some kind of domestic violence or abuse, you should immediately report the incident to the police and request a restraining order from the court of law to prevent any further damage to you and yours.

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.  

Child Custody in Domestic Violence Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmThe definition of domestic abuse is not limited to physical harm; it consists of sexual assault, harassment, threats, stalking, and physical injury. Violence can continue and, in many cases, increase upon separation. Domestic violence allegations play a significant role in child custody hearings. The “moral presumption” in such cases does not allow the abuser to become the primary guardian of the child/children. However, the legal presumption is open to examining the case put forth by both parents.

The top priority of California’s legislature in custody cases is the health, safety, and welfare of the children. When deciding custody the court examines evidence which substantiates the incidence of abuse in the relationship, such as police records, reports from child protective services, or other court orders. If the allegations are proven to be true, then the abusive parent is not awarded either sole or joint custody by means of a “rebuttal presumption” applied by the court pursuant to Family Code section 3044.

The presumption can be overturned if the abusive parent (perpetrator) has successfully completed a batterer’s program, is on probation or parole, has not committed further acts of violence, or proves the children are best-taken care of under them. The victim of abuse can seek a temporary restraining order citing domestic abuse affecting the partner’s custody and visitation rights.

When the children have been subjected to extreme neglect or cruelty, the court has the right to terminate the physical and legal custody of the abusive parent. In such cases, the judgment is permanent and cannot be overturned. The parent loses all rights to their children.

Fabrications are quite common in domestic violence and child custody cases. In the latter, a parent may allege abuse to tip the scales in their favor and gain guardianship of the child. If the accused parent does not contest these allegations then the court will deem them true. It becomes even more difficult if the accused has a history of domestic violence. Therefore, the accused may lose joint child custody or any kind of contact with the children.

Child custody battles take a toll on the parents as well as children involved in them. Whether you are a victim of domestic violence or a concerned parent fighting for the welfare of your children, it is paramount to consider legal aid from a qualified family law attorney. Similarly, if you are at the receiving end of a false accusation of violence which can affect your custody case negatively, you need strong legal assistance to prove your innocence.

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.

Divorce When There Is Domestic Violence Involved

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

restraining order attorney Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmDomestic abuse is one of the most common reasons for a divorce. It involves mistreatment of one partner by the other, generally bordering towards violence. Physically harming a person (sexual assault, hitting etc.) or mental and emotional harassment (causing fear with threats of abuse, isolating partner from other people, stalking etc.) are all forms of domestic abuse. Even though one usually hears of women getting exploited in a relationship in such a manner, it isn’t necessarily true in all cases. Men can be victims of domestic abuse as well, and bringing their cases to light is a lot more difficult, since a lot of people aren’t willing to believe their side of the story. Also, in a lot of these cases, children are forcefully involved in the violence, and they may grow up to become abusive.

Not the easiest thing to do

Wanting to leave an abusive relationship may seem like the most obvious choice, but people who have faced such situations, know that it isn’t always the easiest thing to do. People who have already been using violence may start hurting their partner even more, using threats and more violence to keep them from trying to run off. In some cases they may resort to emotional blackmailing when talks about a separation comes up.

Get in touch with someone who can help

No matter how tough it is though, in such situations it is best to get in touch with first a policeman and then a lawyer, immediately. A temporary restraining order can be issued against the abusive partner that prohibits him or her from coming into contact with their spouse. This way, the person can be assured safety and protection. Criminal charges can be filed against the abuser for any harassment, but the police need to be notified as soon as possible.  A detailed complaint should be prepared, stating clear facts of the marriage and the violence involved. If the abuse has been going on for a long time, the case will be more strongly presented in court. A thorough understanding of the domestic violence act can help people understand what can be expected from a court ruling. Though there are a lot of protective acts included, there are still a few limitations that one may need to keep in mind, in order to take full advantage of the law.

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 To Win Custody In The Case Of False Allegations

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

family law attorney Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmFathers are often unaware of their rights and seem to end up on the wrong side of the court’s decision in a whole host of cases in divorce and family law cases. One of the clearest examples of the lack of usage of father’s rights is with respect to child custody cases and especially ones that have false allegations of abuse leveled against the father. In most cases, where a father is falsely accused of such an abuse, they are unable to properly defend themselves in such situations or comprehend why such allegations have been leveled against them.

The other spouse usually levels false accusations against the fathers in child custody cases is because of the importance that courts give to such accusations. This, however, doesn’t mean such parents should be allowed to get away with making such grave false accusations. This blog talks about how a falsely accused parent can take custody back from the lying parent.

The Family Code and Father’s Rights

In cases of divorce that involve abuse allegations against another spouse, one of the most quoted sections of the California Family Code is Family Code section 3011.  This code section states that a court may consider any history of abuse by the parents that are seeking custody. In the same code, however, the courts have also stated that any false accusations of this nature are not be tolerated and such parents who have been falsely accused should take action against the accusers.

According to the California Family Code 3027.1, the parent who has been falsely accused only need to show that the other parent knowingly made the false accusations against the father. If a father is able to show that, then the father can ask the court to impose sanctions on the mother for falsely accusing the father.

Supervised Visitation

A lot of fathers fighting divorce cases, and facing false accusations in child custody cases, are unable to realize that the courts have the discretion of giving strict orders against the parent who has made false accusations. One of these orders can be the order of supervised visitations for the mother. These kinds of orders are usually made in the cases which involve false accusations of sexual abuse. However, there is no hard and fast rule in this regard and other abuses may also amount to the same punishment.

Limiting Visitations

Simply proving to the court that the accusations were wrong and winning back custody may be what most fathers do in such cases but is it enough? Are you sure allowing the other parent to leave without having to pay will reform their behavior? In addition to monetary sanctions, fathers should press their attorney to pursue the other spouses and to try and limit their visitations to the child.

 
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