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.

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

A Lowdown on Decisions that Judges Make in Divorce Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmWhen you are going through divorce, your lawyer will tell you the importance and the role a judge has in your divorce case. It is their final decision which will be binding on both the spouses. This means that a judge has the power to decide your future.

There are a number of different aspects to an Orange County divorce case, and typically, a judge will make a number of different decisions in this regard. Some of the common areas of law and the power that the judges wield are outlined below.

How to Divide Property

One of the most important aspects in a divorce are issues of asset division.  If two spouses are unable to reach an independent agreement, the judge will take a look at the facts, listen to the arguments of both sides, and then decide who is entitled to what.  This decision will take into account the California community property laws.  The judge will need to take into account whether the property is community property or separate property.

Parenting Plan

Part of custody determinations is making a parenting plan.  The judge, in matters of parenting plans, will decide on issues that the parents are unable to agree upon. This could either be how the child-related decisions are made, how holidays will be celebrated, and how a parental move might affect these guidelines.

Spousal Support

For the court to rule in matters of spousal support, one of the spouses needs to raise the issue in front of the court. Typically, financially dependent spouses will bring the plea before the judge. In taking the decision of how much spousal support to grant, a judge will take into account the incomes of the parties, the ages of the parties, their health, their potential to earn, etc.

Child Custody

Children are obviously important aspects involved in divorce cases.  Both of the spouses usually want to have their child live with them. Yet, the final decision will always be made by the judge if not made by the parties. This decision is often the mostly hotly contested and there are a number of things that a judge takes into account when deciding this issue. The most important consideration that they make is the child’s best interest. Wherever the best interests of the child lie, the custody will be awarded.

Child Support

Unlike spousal support, paying child support is often mandatory if sought. Yet, the rate of child support, the schedule of monthly payments and what would amount to a perfect monthly child support amount are all decisions that will be taken by an Orange County family law judge.

Is Parallel Parenting A Viable Option?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

best divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmThe use of a parallel parenting plan is thought to be a bridge between the no and very low conflict divorces and the high conflict divorce cases. The problem in high conflict cases is that there is very little room to have a pristine workable co parenting plan put into use.

High conflict in this situation means not only the spouses that don’t like spending time with each other or quite simply don’t get along. High conflict here means situations where both spouses hold hostility against one another to a high level.

What Is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel parenting a relatively new concept of parenting that is largely dependent on the older methods of parenting only that it is with very little communication between the spouses. As the name suggests parallel parenting allow the spouses to detach from one another after their divorce. How does decision making work? In this case, each parent is in charge of the decisions they take as long as they are in custody of the child and need not have any communication or consultation with other spouses.

A Parenting Plan with no Contact?

How can it be possible that there is a no contact parenting plan in place? It is impossible because that can practically not exist. In a parallel parenting plan there is a minimal level of direct contact with the other parent but these are usually short, cold and to the point.

A Coordinator for Parenting

Sometimes even the least bit of direct contact with other party post-divorce can lead to a conflict such is the level of hate between the two spouses. In cases like these the courts can appoint a parenting coordinator. These coordinators will typically be assigned with special duties to perform and will be given special privileges to do their tasks. One of the tasks of these coordinators is to help the spouses communicate with the other on child related matters using the coordinator as a medium.

Is it Any Good?

In high conflict cases where the court might one parent with primary custody and the other parent with the right to visitation, it makes co-parenting difficult. This ultimately affects the children involved in the divorce more than anyone else. Hence to counter that and to ensure that each of the parents are able to enjoy the custody of their child even if they can’t stand one another, there is the option of a parallel parenting plan.  however, this is never as good as a co-parenting arrangement where the parties can work together.  It should only be a last resort.

Tips On Taking A Vacation With Children After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmWhen parents divorce, it is normal for them to subsequently take their children on vacation separately after separation. As part of a custody order, it is always a good idea to discuss and agree on some ground rules, such as:

  • Giving the other party sufficient written notice of your intent to take the children on vacation.  At least 30 days prior notice is advisable, although the parties can agree on any time period.  Informing the other parent with sufficient advance notice allows the parties to address schedule changes ahead of time.
  • Providing a written itinerary of when you will be leaving for vacation, when you will be returning, air flight information, and contact information for where you will be staying on vacation in the event of an emergency.
  • Whether travel out of the state or out of the United States is permitted.  Once that is worked out, then any travel out of the state or out of the country with the children would require prior written consent of the other party or otherwise a court order.  Another issue to consider is whether travel outside the United States can be to a non-Hague Convention country.  The Hague Convention is basically a uniform international set of laws that address how child abduction in a country that formally recognizes the Hague Convention laws, which allows for a systematic way to deal with a child abduction based on one set of laws.  If a child abduction occurs in a non-Hague Convention country, a parent is beholden to the laws and legal system of that country which can be very difficult to deal with.  Therefore, look up the list of Hague Convention countries should you or your ex-spouse decide to travel out of the country with the children to determine whether such travel is agreeable.
  • Determine the number of weeks each parent can vacation with the children, and whether the weeks can be consecutive (back-to-back) or one week at a time only.  If you are planning to travel out of the country, especially to visit family, one week will probably not be enough time for such a vacation.
  • Determine if there are certain activities that will not be permitted during the vacation, such as para-sailing, offroad dirt biking, etc., that would be considered dangerous.

Remember that being reasonable and considerate of the other parent concerning these issues will go a long way in co-parenting with your ex-spouse. After all, if you are not willing to allow the other parent to travel out of the state with the children, then that parent is not going to be willing to work with you when you need some flexibility from them.

What Does Legal Custody & Physical Custody Mean?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmHave you thought about the rights that parents have regarding their children when divorce occurs?  The subject of child custody and parental rights is not often clear or understood.

Legal Custody

The word legal custody defines the authority to make the choices of behalf of a child that is a minor or has not yet reached an age where they can take such decisions.  The matters where legal custody can be exercised include a number of different aspects such as:

  • Health
  • Education
  • Safety
  • Decision on religion
  • Welfare of the child, etc.

In most cases, the courts order joint legal custody, because both parents are seen to have the right to mutually make decisions regarding the health, education and welfare of their children.

Physical Custody

Whereas legal custody has to do with decision-making authority, physical custody actually involves the use of parenting time and being able to care for the children physically. In other words, which parent has the children when determines what the physical custody is.  Although there is no hard and fast rule, most judges label physical custody as “sole physical custody” where one parent has less than a 30% timeshare and “joint physical custody” if the other parent has at least 30% custodial timeshare.

What Can A Non-Custodial Parent Do Against Alienation?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmTypically when you go through an Orange County divorce, there are a number of issues that the family law courts will give a judgment on. One of the most important aspects is that of child custody. This is one of the most hotly contested parts of a case and the courts rule in favor of one party granting them custody, while allowing the other party usually to visit the child.

The parents not having the primary custody of the child continue to have certain rights that can be enforced in the court if there is a violation. Parental alienation is one such way of interfering where the custodial spouse stops or hinders with the other spouses’ right of visitation.

Following the Law

California family law is simple and abundantly clear. Both the parents are legally given the right to enjoy frequent and continued association and contact with the child. This law needs to be followed until and unless the courts overrule it citing the best interest of the child.

The Common Types of Alienation

There are many types of parental alienation that you can go to court for. Some of them are highlighted below.

  • Not staying in line with the agreed pick and drop timings and looking to waste time in the handover of the children to the non custodial spouse.
  • Eating up the allocated time of the non-custodial parent’s visitation by planning activities and programs with the children without prior permission of the non custodial parent.
  • Creating discontent and or a feeling of hatred inside the children to not see the other spouse after the divorce. This could even be in the case where the custodial spouse encourages the child to not want to meet with the other parent.
  • Making false, bias and uncalled for allegations of neglect and abuse on the other spouse to demean them in front of the children.
  • The other spouse taking the important decisions in the child’s life such as schooling, medical care etc. without the consultation of and the agreement of the other party.
  • Refusing to share the parenting responsibilities with the other spouse.

What Can A Non-Custodial Spouse Do?

The family law has been highlighted above which clearly shows that it is the right of a parent irrespective of whether they have custody or not to keep in contact with the child. In this case, if you are a non-custodial spouse and your rights of visitation are being impeded, you can seek for the family law court to protect your rights.  The courts will then make sure that they rule against the other spouse and enforce your rights. In case of falsified accusations of abuse, the courts may change the custody order.  However, it is very important to understand that the issue of parental alienation is a complicated one and to expect a quick resolution to the issue is unrealistic.  It is highly likely that parental reunification counseling between the child and the parent who was the victim of parental alienation will need to occur over a period of time, and it is possible that a minor’s counsel for the child will need to be appointed too.  Unfortunately, this can take time to work and resolve, and patience and persistence are a necessity during the process.

What To Look For In A Child Custody Attorney

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce Lawyer in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmThe most important things in your life are probably your children.  So when you need legal representation concerning custody issues, here are some things to consider in determining the right child custody attorney for you.

Experience of the Right Kind

A lot of lawyers may be experienced in a variety of areas of law. Will you ask a vastly experienced banking lawyer to fight your criminal case? The answer most certainly will be no. Experience in itself doesn’t matter unless it is the right kind of experience.

Zero Tolerance for False Allegations of Abuse and Abuse Itself

There are two types of cases that need to be dealt with by an iron fist from the very starts, cases that where one of the spouses has abused the child and cases where a spouse has made false allegations of abuse.

Lawyers who have zero tolerance for both of these cases should be at the top of your recruitment list for Orange County family lawyers for their child custody case. Top lawyers know how to deal with such actions and if used correctly, both of these acts could end the case of custody for the opposing spouse.

Making the Most of Child Custody Evaluations

Under California law, child custody evaluations can prove to be a helpful tool for good child custody attorneys. This tool is often used by parties when there is a need to delve deeper into the psychology of the parties and to find out the reason behind their activities. Child custody evaluations can cost you extra money and if you opt for it, make sure your lawyer knows what he or she is doing. There is a typically a list of approved evaluators of custody.

Managing Finances and Costs of Proceedings

There are lawyers that can use your child custody case and your will to get custody of your child to their advantage stretching the proceedings and churning out money. A good family lawyer is typically one that makes sure the case is solved as soon as possible with no issues left unresolved. They will refrain from using child custody evaluations and depositions until they are absolutely integral for success in the case.

Getting Child Custody Being a Father

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

family law lawyers in orange county; The Maggio Law FirmWhen it comes to matters related to children in a divorce, there is a common perception that mothers are typically favored by the court.  That common perception prevalent is wrong, as family law courts work on the basis of fairness. Hence, this blog will simply lay down how fathers can win custody of their child without having to do something extra to outdo the mother.

Schedule of Work

Fathers who have full time jobs may have very little time that they can spend with their child. This can be an important consideration by the courts when deciding the child custody issue. If you want more custody of your child you need to make sure that your schedule of work is flexible and one that allows you to spend greater time with your child.

Proving the Mother as Uncooperative and Alienating

The worst thing that a parent can go through is having their child in the same city as themselves and not being allowed to meet. This is only justifiable in a case where there has been physical abuse against the child by the parent on the child.

Yet, if you are a father and you can prove to the court that the mother of the child post or during your divorce is not letting you meet the child and alienating you from the child, the courts will look to it very strongly. In such cases, the courts could award custody of the child if it is in the best interest of the child.

Having a Close Bond with Your Child

A divorce case that has the issue of child custody involved is generally a complex one. In such cases you will not be awarded custody or joint custody of the child just because you want it. Instead, for you to be able to get more custody of the child it needs to be proven to the court that you and the child have a close bond. Unless you spent time with your child during the marriage you cannot expect the court to automatically give you custody of the child.