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.  

When A Parent’s Behavior Causes Parental Alienation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County child custody; The Maggio Law FirmChild custody battles are the worst and it gets even uglier when both parents start accusing each other of wrongdoings. There are many factors that are involved in deciding the custody of a child and the most important of them is the child’s preference. In states like California, a child’s preference decides who he or she will stay with. Parents understand this and therefore try to woo their child into staying with them. It sometimes results in talking bad about the other parent so that the child stays away from him/her, this is known as parental alienation. If you’re someone who is having a hard time going through a custody battle, keep the following things in mind so that you don’t get accused of parental alienation.

Deliberately keeping the child away from the other parent

If your spouse is deliberately keeping your child away from you, it is a clear case of parental alienation and can be used in court. If you feel that your spouse is interfering when you are trying to spend time with your child, it can also be considered as a form of parental alienation.

Teaching your child to stay away from you

Some parents go to the length of talking bad about one parent in front of the child. It creates a psychological pressure on the child and he/she stays away from the other parent. If you notice a change in behavior in your child when you meet him/her, it could be due to parental alienation. Not only is it a crime committed against the parent, the child is also put under psychological trauma. Later on, it gives rise to more serious problems.

Making you look bad in front of the kids

Your spouse may also try to make you look bad when your kids are around. It naturally creates a negative image of yourself in the child’s mind. It is a case of parental alienation and by making you look bad, your spouse wants to take custody of your children.

Parental alienation is wrong and can be used in a court during custody battles. Since California courts can give importance to a child’s preference, sometimes parents deliberately use parental alienation to win custody battles. If you feel you are a victim of parental alienation, hire an experienced Orange County divorce attorney and have the issue addressed.

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

4 Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmFor many couples, a custody battle is a big headache and they try to avoid it as much as possible. For this reason, many settle for joint custody arrangements. However, even joint custody arrangements can become maddening and exhausting, especially for couples who have had a strained relationship.

There are divorces where neither of the spouses wants to be fully responsible for the child. It usually happens when both parents are working and none have the entire day to look after children. For such parents, co-parenting is a great option but sometimes even that can become tough. If you are one such individual, then here are some tips that will help you with your co-parenting.

  1. Collaborate with your ex

The best way for parents to make co-parenting successful is to collaborate with each other and focus on the needs of the child. Having a bitter relationship with your ex can cost you a lot financially and emotionally. According to recent reports, children who witness bad divorces are more likely to be affected by anxiety and depression among other problems. Costs can also be shared equally and the burden of responsibility gets lessened.

  1. Create a plan

Creating a long-term plan always works when you don’t know how to go about co-parenting with your ex. Have a talk with your ex and let him/her know what you intend to do for the child in the next 10 years. Your plan should include basic requirements like education, school or college, nourishment, health and shelter. It should also include family time as it contributes to a child’s growth.

  1. Communicate effectively

Ineffective or low communication is probably the reason why you and your partner are not together anymore. Set aside your differences and talk to your ex about your child’s future. Communication often helps one understand the problems faced by the other person and how it can be solved.

  1. Share things equally

Co-parenting is all about sharing everything equally between two people. It includes responsibilities, costs, time and problems. Equal sharing takes a certain amount of load from each of the parents’ shoulder and allows them to focus on important things related to the child.

Co-parenting is never easy and for some it is challenging. However, effective communication and collaboration can have magical effects. Additionally, you should create a plan and work towards your child’s needs. Sharing everything, which is part of co-parenting, makes the job easier.

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

Advice for Stay-At-Home Mothers Facing Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Child custody attorneys Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmBoth you and your spouse have had your own distinct roles when you were a mom who stayed at home. While your husband went out to work, you did your part inside the house and things were going on nicely. But now that you are going through the divorce process, you may want to do various things to ensure that your divorce is a smooth one. After all, you have to get ready for your life ahead after your divorce. Check out the following smart tips while facing a divorce.

Tip 1: Get in touch with an experienced financial advisor

When you consult an experienced financial advisor, they can be of a big help to assess your potential settlement choices from the perspective of future planning as well as cash on hand. He or she can guide you in investing any non-retirement or retirement funds that you get as a settlement amount from your divorce. A financial advisor can also assist you in putting together a budget that can help you to find out the amount of money you will require after the divorce and often helps you to stay away from any kind of financial difficulty.

Tip 2: Consult a good accountant

You may have had an accountant who guided both you and your spouse when you were married. However, now that you are getting divorced, you will need an account exclusively of your own.

You should have an accountant of your own for various reasons. An important reason is there could be certain occasions during a divorce when you will need an accountant for reviewing your potential settlements. An accountant can also help you in understanding the tax consequences while guiding you in matters that are usually in your interests. So it is time you have a different accountant of your own and stop sharing the sand accountant as that of your husband.

Tip 3: Get your house appraised

A big mistake some couples commit is when they let a mediator guess the worth of the home they were living in. It could be highly likely that your house is the biggest asset for you. Hence it makes sense to get it valued properly rather than relying on certain websites who are into conducting valuation of the properties. When you fail to do so, you may end up in different types of troubles as Internet values may not be the actual ones. In case you are thinking of purchasing the home from your spouse or vice versa, you may have to ascertain that the sale price of the property is a proper and fair one.

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.