5 Things That Should Be Included In A Parenting Plan

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmGoing through a divorce is difficult for some and many undergo psychological pressure and stress. One of the main reason for that is the custody battle. As the divorce proceeding takes place, the threat of losing your children’s custody looms large. Every parent wants to spend time with his/her child and wants full custody after divorce. However, California courts will look into what’s best for the child and other factors before making a decision. That is why parents should come up with a great parenting plan so that both of them are satisfied and get substantial opportunity to spend time with their child. Here are five things that is absolutely necessary for a parenting plan.

  1. Fair parenting time

Kids are highly prone to psychological stress and to avoid that, make sure that both of you spend equal amount of time with your kid. You can also do it together if you want.

  1. Give importance to visitation hours

Visitation hours is the time when you will be quality time with your child. So, make the best of it. Have fun with your child and make them feel that they’re not being ignored.

  1. Power to change the plan

Situations change and sometimes it’s not in your hands to control the situation. A great parenting plan is flexible and should be changed if the situation demands so. Remember that the change should happen for the good of the child and not because you or your partner want it changed for your benefit.

  1. Dispute resolutions

Try settling disputes on your own instead of going to the court. A good parenting plan should be made in a way that helps settle disputes that arise due to custody and child care.

  1. The child should be the main focus

The reason why the parenting plan exists is because of the child and if the child is ignored then there’s no point of having a plan at all. Instead of building a parenting plan according to your convenience, make it around your child’s comfort.

Conclusion

Divorce becomes a tough issue when children get involved. Custody battles can be difficult for some and to avoid psychological stress and other problems, they must create a parenting plan that works best for everyone. The plan should especially cater to the needs of the child and both parents should devote the time and energy to look after their child.

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.  

Creating Successful Parenting Plans After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody attorneys Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmLife after divorce can be tough for those who have trouble coping up with their new lifestyle. They often have a hard time managing finances and time. Another important thing that they have trouble dealing with is children. A divorce may affect children in a negative way or it might not affect them at all. Sometimes, it’s very hard to understand the situation. Making good and smart parenting plans is one way of handling it. A parenting plan is equivalent to a guidebook for handling children after divorce. You must make changes but how and what changes should you make?

Creating effective plans

The first thing that you must keep in mind when making parenting plans is that the same plan won’t work for everyone. The ideal plan should contain all your children’s needs without compromising too much on your own comfort. Here are some additional steps you can follow to make the plan even better.

  1. Separate feelings from behavior

Feeling hurt, angry and depressed are common emotions after a divorce. However, none of them should be directed towards your children. If you want, take some time out for yourself until you’re mentally prepared to take care of your kids. But that does not mean you should ignore them. In fact, include them in your plan and go for a vacation or do some fun stuff together until your mind clears off.

Research has shown that children of divorced couples have a tendency to act violently due to adverse psychological effects. Never show your negative feelings to your children. Always remember that they are watching you.

  1. Protect your children

The very reason you are creating a parental plan is because you care about your children and don’t want anything bad to happen to them. Both you and your ex. should include plenty of time where your children spends time with both of you. Whatever problems you might have, keep them to yourself and don’t let them tarnish your relationship with your children.

  1. Make plans as a team

Before your divorce, your children were used to both of you doing things as a family. After a divorce, you should try letting your children have the same feeling. It is tough but at least you can make parental plans that includes doing activities as a family.

Conclusion

Parental plans play an important role in divorce because they protect a child from falling into negative environments. Creating successful parental plans involves the participation of both parent as a team.

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.  

Helpful Tips When Discussing Child Custody With Your Spouse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Best Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmIn real world nothing is perfect and so a marriage that appeared perfect some years ago may crumble all of a sudden. When you and your spouse decide to split, there are several crucial issues to be tackled. Child custody is one of those major issues that you need to settle during your divorce process when you have kid(s) from your marriage. If you find yourself tangled in a child custody dispute, you should be careful about what to do and to refrain yourself from specific activities, which may otherwise have a harmful repercussion on your case. Read on to know some tips to follow while discussing child custody with your estranged partner.

Hire a good divorce mediator

It is quite possible that you and your former spouse do not share an amicable relationship with one another. Discussing any issue can actually be quite difficult as both of you know that you will end up fighting with one another with no positive outcomes coming out of your talks. So, if both of you want to sort out your child custody disputes in such a scenario, it is best to hire the services of a professional and unbiased mediator who can bring both of you together for discussion and negotiation. For maximizing the effectiveness of your child custody issues hire one of those Orange County divorce mediators who is acceptable to both you and your spouse.

Do not make any major solo decision about your kid(s)

It is important to understand that while your discussions on child custody is on, you should refrain from making any important decisions on your own when it is about your child. Make sure that all major decisions about the kids are made jointly with your spouse. Some of these decisions could be related to the kid’s religion, health. upbringing and education. To elaborate it further. It could be decisions regarding which school should you put your child in, which physician should be consulted for your child and so on.

Try to be courteous while discussing custody matters

While no one expects both of you to behave as of nothing has happened, at least try to be polite to each other while negotiating on child matters. After all, even after the custody issues get settled, you still have to coordinate with one another for your child’s upbringing. Losing your cool while discussing the custody issues will not yield any results. Rather your spouse could become more adamant and hostile and decide not to cooperate with you during the discussion. He or she may turn completely aggressive and oppose every suggestion or idea you put forward. Also stop indulging in blame game during the custody dispute as that may aggravate the situation further.

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 Create a Parenting Plan that Works

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmWhen a family goes through a divorce or a separation, there are a number of changes that occur. Some are huge changes that affect the entire family on a day-to-day basis. Others seem small amidst the upheaval, but can actually have long term, lasting effects and directly influence other events in the future. That’s why so many co-parents find it difficult to come up with a parenting plan that actually works. They’re in new territory. They aren’t sure what to expect.

Parents attempting to put together a parenting plan that will function for the long-term have many factors to consider, but it is possible to create a parenting plan that works.

Creating a Parenting Plan that Works:

  1. Keep the Children’s Needs the Top Priority
  2. Carefully Consider What You’re Willing to Fight For
  3. Regularly Check Back On the Plan & Revise When Necessary

It’s important that parents are realistic in their expectations of their partner and in their expectations for themselves and make sure the parenting plan works for the entire family while favoring the children’s needs. One of the most common mistakes made by new co-parents putting together an initial parenting plan is to overlook the mundane. Most take great care to fully address the major concerns: physical custody (where the child resides) and legal custody (who is responsible for making important decisions such as healthcare and education and religion, etc.) Yet once the major concerns are taken care of, some simply assume the rest will fall into place.

Since most conflict will occur during or as a result of day-to-day, mundane actions, these seemingly mundane details should actually receive a great amount of attention and care in order for a parenting plan to work. For instance, don’t overlook specifics like drop off and pick up, activity and extracurricular arrangements, holiday planning, etc. In addition to scheduling of time and transportation, new co-parents will also need to include agreements on shared parenting expenses and child support as well as co-parenting communications and how to manage the decision-making process as co-parents (particularly if co-parents share legal custody).

Addressing every little detail may seem over the top to new co-parents, but it significantly decreases the likelihood that there will be disagreements down the road. Minimize the stress of co-parenting with the most effective parenting plan possible. Get in touch with an experienced family law attorney at The Maggio Law Firm today so we can assist you in putting together an effective and positive parenting plan that will work for you and your family.

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.  

Parental Alienation And The Effect On Children In Divorce Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County child custody; The Maggio Law FirmAn extremely unsavory aspect of divorce, as well as a legal separation, revolves around the serious issue of kids being adversely impacted by the anguish and agony their parents usually go through. The possibility of a divorce and prospects of a marital separation can be painful processes, which disturb the kids involved in such situations.

PAS or Parental Alienation Syndrome

This syndrome was introduced by Richard Gardner, a renowned psychiatrist in a paper that he shared in 1985. The syndrome refers to the emotional and physical withdrawal of a kid from their parent although the alienated mother or father offers adequate tenderness and care to the child. It is triggered by parental alienation, which is a chain of behaviors that an alienating parent uses either subconsciously or consciously to spoil the relationships of a child with the other parent. Though such a condition is not specific to only divorce or separation cases, parental alienation and the PAS typically evolve in cases of custody conflicts or disputes.

Instances of parental alienating behavior

  • To convince a child that the target parent has been abusive towards them and has been neglecting them to tarnish the image of the target parent.
  • Using the kid to pass on messages between the two parents rather than direct parent-to-parent communication.
  • Sharing thoughts or convincing the kid to hate and distrust the targeted parent.
  • To blame the targeted parent for the breakup of the marriage
  • Withdraw physical and emotional support of a kid when they demonstrate love and care for the targeted parent

Ways of responding to your child’s alienation

  • When children get entangled in the midst of their parents’ marital dissolution, you should ensure as their parents that they are loved, supported and cared for.
  • You should not tolerate the PAS syndrome at all. In case you are victimized from it, you immediately report the sane to a judge or a counselor.
  • You should not portray a bad image of your spouse in front of the kids. Even if you dislike your former partner, you should make sure your kids enjoy a warm relationship with their other parent.

Though it is likely that you will be going through a tough phase in your life while being separated from your spouse, you should remember that your kids are also going through a similar kind of feeling. You should take all possible steps to ensure that your kids feel comfortable and are free of stress during this trying period.

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.  

Divorcing Parents And Understanding Parental Alienation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

family law attorney Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmWhen one parent tries to turn a child against the other parent it is called parental alienation. Parental alienation can occur in a divorce especially if there is a custody battle going on.  Sometimes one parent hopes to gain full custody of the children by poisoning their minds against the other parent and hoping the children will choose not to stay with that parent.  Behavior that amounts to parental alienation can and usually does  backfire and you could lose custody in the process if proven.

What happens during parental alienation? 

There are three sides involved in parental alienation; the alienating parent is the one who is poisoning the child’s mind, the target parent is at the receiving end, and the child or children caught in the middle. When a couple has divorced they might get joint custody of a child or one might get full custody and the other visitation rights. In a case where one parent is not happy with the arrangement and wants the other parent out of the child’s life completely he or she might resort to parental alienation.

If for example the mother who has custody doesn’t want her ex involved with her children in any way she might tell her children unpleasant things about their father. Talking about their father as irresponsible, lazy, abusive and maybe even violent could make the children not want to see their father again. It is possible that the mother is not wrong but there could be a different way to approach the situation like supervised visits or requesting that the father get rehabilitation.

The other scenario is that the mother is making up a lot of things just to turn her children against their father. But what she is doing in both cases is depriving the children of one parent and also causing them a lot of emotional distress. Constant alienating tactics could emotionally scar children for the rest of their lives.

What are the consequences? 

If it can be proven that the alienating parent is emotionally damaging the child or children it is quite possible that Child Protective Services could remove the child from his or her custody. Alienating a former spouse simply to eliminate them from your life completely could cost you losing your kids altogether. Parental alienation can be considered a form of child abuse and the parent responsible might lose all contact with their child or children as a result of it.

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

How To Make Your Custody & Visitation Proposal

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county child custody attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmWhen getting a divorce where children are involved it is extremely important to have a custody agreement that is best for the child. Whether you decide to have shared custody or one parent has primary custody and the other visitation rights, a consistency should be maintained.

When making your custody and visitation proposal, here are a few points that you should consider:

  1. Time spent with each parent: It is not always possible or even realistic for children to spend the exact amount of time with each parent every week. The schedule needs to be planned carefully so that both parents get sufficient quality time with the kids while not disrupting the regular school and extracurricular activity schedule. Drops and pickups should be considered while making the schedule. If the schedule causes one parent to get a little more time with the kids it would help immensely if the other parent let it go without holding a grudge. The best interest of the children needs to be the priority. 
  1. School breaks and vacations: When children are on a school break their schedules can be adjusted so that time away from school is shared between both parents. An understanding needs to be made that if one parent is taking the kids on a vacation the other parent needs to be informed a few days or weeks in advance. The visitation time lost during the vacation should be adjusted either before or after the vacation. Plans can also be drawn up where each parent takes turns to take the children on holiday. 
  1. Birthdays and other occasions: As far as possible parents should try and work things out so that they are both present for birthdays, sports events, graduations and so on. It is important for children to have both parents be part of their big moments so parents should try and bury their differences and be civil to each other when being there for their children. There should also be guidelines in place for what needs to be done if a child or parent is ill and the schedule gets disrupted. 
  1. Legal requirements: The different states in the US have their own set of requirements for visitation proposals. You will need to consult with your lawyer to make sure that you are meeting all the criteria so that your proposal gets accepted by the authorities.

In California, a preference is given to shared custody and if one parent wants full custody they need to present a good case of how it benefits the children. The courts also require the full schedule of how the children’s time is divided between school, home and each parent before they approve the visitation proposal.

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.  

Facts You Should Know About Legal Custody

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Best Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmThe term legal custody refers to a situation where in a parent is entrusted with certain obligations and rights to make important decisions on how they should bring up their kids and other important factors relevant to the welfare of their child. Some of these can be dental and health care, religious instructions, and proper education.

Joint legal custody 

Most states like California award legal custody of a child to both the parents in disputes related to such cases, which is known as joint legal custody. Joint custody signifies that both the parents will shoulder the responsibility of their child. However, a parent may not be awarded such responsibility if the court finds out that they are unsuitable to make decisions in the best interests of the kids. Legal custody and physical custody are completely different ball games altogether. The latter is more concerned with where and which parent a kid will stay after the divorce.

There are different forms of legal custody. Usually, only one parent functions as the key caregiver in the marriage. It is applicable irrespective of whether the marriage is intact or where the parents got divorced. Examples could be to authorize in case of any type of medical exigency or make a decision at the last moment for the welfare of the child. Although the other parent is allowed by the court to participate in the decision-making process, parents should put their heads together and try to arrive at an amicable arrangement for handling the affairs of their child in a practical manner.

Why does a court award sole legal custody? 

Several complications may pop up in the case of a joint custody. It may not be possible for both the parents to collaborate together and arrive at a consensus. After all, misunderstandings and arguments are not something completely unheard of. Decision-making may become next to impossible when there are vigorous arguments while settling even the simplest of issues.

The judges would like to see both the parents contributing and working together towards the best interests of the child. But when they feel that both the parents are at constant loggerheads when they have to manage the affairs of their offspring, they will make a decision that is in the best interests the kid.

The court may give sole custody to one of the parents when the other parent:

  • Resides at a far-off distance.
  • Is highly abusive or negligent.
  • Does not make any kind of effort to spend some quality time with their friends.

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

 

 

What To Do When You Lose Your Child Custody Case

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county child custody attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmWhen you lose your child’s custody, it can be a terrible experience for you as a parent. It will be quite tough to come to terms with the fact that your court thinks that your kids will be better off with the other parent. When such a thing happens to you, there are certain steps that you may take so that there could be a reversal of the decision and you can win back your children’s custody. You can try out some of the tips mentioned below.

Do some serious self-retrospection on what went wrong

Take an unbiased approach on what prompted the judge to arrive at such a decision of awarding the custody of your kids to somebody else. Were you incorrectly alleged of neglecting your kids or child abuse? Or did you violate any court order? When you have a fair idea of why such a decision was taken, you can take proper steps for correcting the situation.

Take legal help

If you are serious about winning back your child’s custody, you may have to work with a reputable divorce lawyer who is experienced in handling as well as running similar cases in the past, start asking your relatives and friends for some good referrals to seek an Orange County divorce lawyer dealing in child custody cases.

Request for an evaluation

After you have hired a lawyer and have started completing the steps required by the court, you can request your judge to conduct an in-home evaluation for child custody. Such a step will give an updated assessment of your home to the concerned court that could also help in winning back the custody

Abide by court’s orders and instructions

You should not ignore anything that the court asks you to do. Do not miss any court hearing and avoid rescheduling appointments with the guardian of the child or a mediator ordered by your court.

Try to be compliant and patient

When you wait for the re-evaluation of the agreement related to your child custody, you should ensure that you are exercising your parenting and visitation rights properly. Try to stay away for all those things that could aggravate the situation further. You should put on your best efforts to be courteous and civil while picking up your children for the visits.

Contemplate on the possibility of some other custody arrangement

You can also think about considering other options of custody. Initially, you might have wanted sole custody but after losing custody, you may agree to the idea of shared custody.

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

3 Things You Must Know About Child Support

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child support attorney Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmAs you and your spouse are all set to divorce one another, one crucial consideration that both of you have to make is how your kids will be looked after you part ways. Here are a few things that you should know about child support.

Financial support for the kids

If you have dependent kids, you and your spouse must support them financially according to the requirements made by the law. As long as parents live together in a marriage, both of them support their children together. But when the couple divorced, they often are in an arrangement according to which a kid lives mostly with only one parent.

The parent with whom the child lives is referred to as having got the custody of the kid. Such an arrangement for children can be documented in a court order, which us known as legal custody at times or in their separation agreement. But the arrangement can also be decided without any court order or documented agreement. This is at times known as “de facto” custody. Whatever may be the way the agreement is done, the parent who has the custody has the primary responsibility for taking care of the child on a day-to-day basis and for incurring the ordinary expenses needed for bringing up the child. However, the other parent needs to help with such expenses. He or she can do so by giving money to the ex-spouse who has the child’s custody. This is what is popularly called child support.

Parents

A parent refers to biological father or mother, a step-parent or even an adoptive parent. A step-parent who once got married to a person with kids and has demonstrated an intention to consider those kids as members of her and his family is considered as a parent too.

Whose responsibility it is to pay for child support?

It is a legal responsibility of all parents to provide support for their dependent kids as much as it is in their capacity to do so. A parent who has been awarded the custody of the children by court typically had to incur a majority of the daily expenses for raising the kids. He or she may be eligible to get child support from the other spouse. The court may allow this child support to continue even in certain cases when the custodial parent decides to remarry or lives with a different person.

How much amount will be pride to the parent with custody is typically decided on the basis of the guidelines for child support. Sometimes both the parents may have the legal responsibility to pay for child support for the same kid. For instance, in case a parent who got the custody decides to separate from their common-law spouse who is not the biological parent of the kid or marriage, the other birth parent of the child and the said step-father could have a legal obligation to pay for the support of the child.

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.  

 
No Legal Advice Intended: This website includes information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems. Full disclaimer.