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.

Joint Legal Custody Rights In California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmAre you someone who has gone through or is going through a divorce in California? Do you know your rights? You’ll be amazed at the number of times couples going through a divorce can violate and step on each other’s legal custody rights and even more surprised at the fact that the parent whose rights are being violated is unaware of those rights.

What does Joint Legal Custody Mean?

Instead of giving you a long, technical lawyer-like definition of the joint legal custody, we’ll explain it you in simple terms. Joint legal custody generally means that both parents must jointly make the decision with regard to the health, education, welfare and well being of the child.

The key word to look at in this regard is the word “joint”. The word indicates that there needs to be a consultation between the parents in this regard and that neither of the parents can supersede the other in making decisions about such issues without the other’s consultation.

So you have to run every day to day decision by your ex-spouse? No, that is not the case at all. The simple day to day decisions are at the discretion of the parent who has the custody of the child at that particular time. For all major decisions though, such as where to study, what doctor to do to and how best to choose a religion and which one, these are all issues that need to be discussed at length between the two spouses.

Orange County family law rights

Here is a list of a few rights that have been outlined for each parent taking part in joint legal custody after their Orange County divorce to follow.

  • As previously mentioned, education, health and day care decisions will be made by consultation between the two spouses.
  • Emergency medical or dental treatment requires no prior consultation is on the discretion of the parent having the physical custody at the time.
  • Both of the spouses will have complete access to the child’s records such as; educational, medical, and dental, etc. Irrespective of whether the parent is custodial or not.
  • Prior to any scheduled medical, dental or hospital visit the custodial parent shall keep the other parent informed. The information needs to be given considerably in advance and not on the day of the visit.
  • It is the responsibility of each parent to remain in contact with other regarding the child and all the other major decisions in their life, irrespective of the bitterness in their Orange County divorce.
  • Each parent will keep the other aware of the parent’s current business address, current address, telephone number and the name and address of the child’s day care, etc.
  • Neither Parent will enroll the child for any medical, mental or physical exercise, evaluation etc. without the approval of the other parent.
  • Neither Parent will allow the child to take part in any activity that requires consent from the other parent without their consent.

The Connection Between California Child Custody & Support

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law Firm, Inc.Child custody are one of the biggest issues in Orange County divorce cases, with a large number of parents and spouses battling it out in bitter court cases. There are a large number of people however who fight their child custody and visitation cases with complete commitment but are unable to keep an eye on the financial implications of their child custody and visitation demands.

If you look at the California Family Code and the guidelines made through statutes for the calculation of the amount of child support. One of the most important features that these payments largely depend on is the amount of visitation and child custody a particular parent has. Simply put, the parent that has the larger amount of child custody will have to pay less child support to the other spouse if he or she is paying, and will receive a large amount of child support if they received it.

The Connection

When we look at California Family Code 4055, it talks about the factors that the California family law courts will need to take into account when deciding the amounts of support payments that will need to be paid. Some of the leading factors that need to be taken into account when deciding the amount of child support are:

  • The tax filing status of each parent
  • The amount of Income of each of the parent
  • Union dues
  • Deductions made for health care insurance
  • Tax payments on property etc.
  • Interest to be paid on mortgage
  • Number of children that are involved in the support order

While these may be important factors that would need to be taken into account, the most important factor that should be taken into account continues to be custodial time of the child allocated to each parent.

While there are a host of advantages of trying to have the large share of child custody, there are also a few leading drawbacks. While most of the parents look to get the largest amount of the child’s time for them to get hold of the extra child support, they often forget that the cost of raising a child is often more expensive than the child support payments you receive.

A Double Edged Sword

Making sure that you raise a child by fulfilling all their legitimate and reasonable demands in addition to providing them with the best education and quality life can seriously cost you a fortune. While you have gone tooth and nail to try and win custody, unless and until you take the future financial situation in sight before making your child custody demands, your sincere efforts will continue to backfire.

Important Terms in Child Custody Proceedings

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmIf you are going through a divorce, issues of child custody are sure to come up. Child custody issues tend to be complex as well, not just emotionally but also legally. During the proceedings, you may encounter some words that you might not understand or are unfamiliar with. To make sure you are well prepared for your Orange County child custody case, here is a list of few important words used in child custody proceedings.

·         Joint Physical Custody

This word is used to refer to the custody where both the parents will have considerable amount of physical custody. This custody by no means requires that the share of custody between the two must be equal. An example can be one of the spouses getting the child for the weekends and the other keeping him for the rest of the five days in the week.

·         Joint Legal Custody

Joint legal custody is little different a concept than joint physical custody. Joint legal custody allows both the parents the authority to make the decisions related to the child such as education, health, etc. In some Orange County divorces though, the judge can grant the parents joint legal custody but not joint physical custody.

·         Sole Physical Custody

Only one of the two parents of the child is allowed to spend the largest amount of time with the child and to be able to completely be in charge of all the child’s day to day affairs.

·         Sole Legal Custody

Only one of the two parents of the child is allowed to make the decision with respect to the important issues in the child’s life, such as education, welfare, health, religion, etc.

·         Primary Custody

More often than not, Orange County divorce family lawyers use the term “primary custody” in describing physical custody instead of only using the words joint custody and sole custody, to distinguish the parent who has control of the day to day affairs of the child. Despite the widespread use of the word, under California law, there is no such recognized term.

·         Visitation

If one of the parent has the custody of the child instead of both, the other parent will be allowed to meet the child at agreed times. This is referred to as visitation.  However, a preferred alternative is describing the other party’s time as their custodial timeshare without labeling it “visitation” per se.

Divorce Advice for High Net Worth Individuals

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmThey say the people who have more to lose need the best adviser. This is particularly true in the case of high net worth individuals going through divorce. There are a wide variety of steps that high net worth individuals should take to make sure they are able to make the most of their Orange County divorce case.

Child Custody & Visitation

There are three major ways that child custody cases can go:

  • Smoothly with both the parents agreeing on a single parenting plan
  • A little resistance in between both the parties at the start eventually leading to a parenting plan without a court hearing
  • Litigation proceedings with the final decision being in the hands of the family law judge.

Here are few tips in this regard to help the high net worth individuals in this regard:

  • Court proceedings and child custody cases require the availability of the individuals to hearings and for their child’s care. Keeping that in mind, high net worth individuals need to be realistic in front of the judge about their timings of work and work schedules. Honesty is an important trait in Orange county divorce litigation.
  • Take care when you are deciding on moving out. Most high earning individuals are likely to move out of the houses in case of an Orange County divorce simply because they can. This however is likely to be a bad strategy unless you do it to avoid false accusations of domestic violence. Moving out of the house allows the other spouse to establish a stronger case over time against granting you equal custody.

Child Support and Spousal Support (Alimony) Support

Calculation of child support is an easy task since it is done in California through a computer program. While this is the general perception, it is unlikely to be the case for high net worth individuals. Simply put, whether they are alimony or child support payments, there is a wide variety of issues that high net worth individuals are likely to face.

Income Sources for Support Purposes

There is a wide range of sources that your income can fall into and it is important you are able to identify which category you fall under:

  • Base Income for salaried individuals
  • Profit distribution versus bonuses method for additional income of self employed individuals
  • Interest income is the income that comes from investment accounts, bonds and stocks

Child support and alimony payments depend on the category of income that you fall under. More often than not, if your income is too high for the computer system to distribute, the courts are likely to make an exemplary support order. This order is likely to be more than the usual alimony payments and is likely to base on the concept of maintaining a status quo.

How to Win a Complex Divorce Case

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmOne of the largest numbers of cases that come into the Orange County family law courts are cases of divorce. Divorce in itself is a complex process that involves a wide variety of aspects for the spouses and their lawyers to cover. Orange County divorce proceedings can focus on one or all of the aspects such as child custody, child support, spousal support and property distribution. Cases that involve all these above aspects are likely to be of complex nature.

When it comes to a divorce in family court, both of the spouses are hell-bent on trying to outfox the other and win the divorce case. In this article, we give you a lowdown on a few tips and tricks to make sure you are able to win such complex cases:

How to Win a Case that is about Child Custody

Child custody cases are one of the most fiercely contested aspects of a divorce case since parents regard their children as the most valuable asset that they each have. The best way for two parents who care for their children and want to give their child the best is to talk their differences outside of the court and propose a parenting plan in front of the court to get the court’s seal of approval. This is likely to be the best option since it will save you on your litigation costs and save the court’s precious time.

There are, however, other types of child custody cases that involve two parents where one of them has been accused of physical, emotional, and mental abuse to the child. In such cases, you are going to win a case by making sure that your facts are in order and that you are clear as to the evidence’s strength to prove the other parent’s guilt. Once their guilt has been proven, the other parent is unlikely to have any chance of getting the custody of the child.

How to Win a Custody Case that has Spousal and Child Support Involved

This one of the leading causes of disagreements caused between the spouses in the family law courts. In most of these cases, it should be understood that the courts before making any declaration, will need complete declaration of the financial position and capabilities of each of the parties. If one of the parties has doubts over the claims made by the other party, the courts will order an inquiry to allay those doubts.

There are different ways each of the parties can win these cases. In the first instance, the spouses asking for spousal and child support will have to prove to the court that their financial capability isn’t healthy and that the financial prowess of the spouses should be used to help bridge the income disparity.

The other spouse, on the other hand, will simply need to show that the other spouse is in a good enough financial position and can earn more than he/she can pay. Or the party needs to show that their financial restraints make them unable to make such large amounts of payments.

Father’s Rights in Orange County

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

family law lawyers in orange county; The Maggio Law FirmThe rights of fathers are an important area to discuss since they are equivalent in the law to the rights that a mother enjoys.  Here’s what you need to know.

What rights do I have as a father with respect to the legal custody of my children?

Rights In Regards To Joint Legal Custody In Orange County

Orange County family law is known to favor agreements and orders that grant joint legal custody to both of the parents. The primary reason for this is that the law in California wants the parents to prefer joint legal custody, since it enables both of them to be involved in the decision-making for the child’s benefit. One of your main rights as a father is that you should be involved in all of the decisions that are made in your child’s life. This includes rights such as:

  • Decisions with respect to the extracurricular or school activities of the child.
  • Decisions that are related to medications, visits to the doctors and other aspects that are concerned with the health of the child.
  • Other non school related decisions integral to the child’s life.
  • Decisions that concern the religion of the child or whether he or she is to remain without a religion.
  • To be listed in the medical and school list of the child and be entitled to receive information about them.
  • Decisions such as the traveling of the child and where he or she will live.

What are my rights in California with respect to physical custody as a father?

As a father, as previously mentioned, you have the same rights as a mother has in a family law case. Fathers in an Orange County child custody case have the right to have a constant, regular, and frequent contact with their child. While you need not really get into the cases such as joint or primary physical custody, you should however make sure that these rights of yours are made sure of by the courts through an order.

What if I am a single father? Are my rights affected?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions and the answer to this question is that there are going to be no changes to your rights whether you are a single father, currently married father, or a divorced one. You will have the same rights to see your child as any other married father will have.

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.