Overview of Stepparent Rights

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Best Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmModern families are different because it is common for divorcees to remarry and combine their two families. Usually, step and biological parents will share the responsibilities while raising kids. However, step and biological parents have different rights, under California law.

During marriage

Unless a stepparent adopts the children legally or if the stepparent has right to custody, stepparents have limited rights. Usually, biological parents retain legal custody and rights of their children. Although stepparents can be involved in the decision processes, according to California law, biological parents have the last word.

Visitation after divorce

In the best interest of the children involved in the divorce, courts in California can somewill grant the stepparent visitation rights. However, the right to visitation can never conflict the right to visitation or custody given to the biological parent.

Courts believe that if too many people have visitation rights, it can negatively impact children. However, if there are no biological parents who have visitation rights or joint custody, a step parent who has strong relationships with the children can prove that visitation is best for them.

Custody after divorce

Under some circumstances, the step parent can obtain custody of the children after a divorce. If the step parent legally adopts the child/children, then the step parent will retain the right to physical and legal custody of the child/children. The step parent will have this right even if he/she isn’t with the biological parent.

However, if the biological parent emotionally and physically abuses their children or if the biological parent consumes alcohol and drugs, and the other biological parent is unavailable, the step parent may gain custody.

Legal guardianship

If the biological parents are unable to look after their children after the court took away their parental rights or because they passed away, the step parent can apply for legal guardianship, under California law.

The court will ultimately determine what type of custody and visitation agreement works in favor of the children, not the biological or step parents. However, step parents can make arrangements with biological parents, if they want to remain involved in the lives of their step children.

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.  

Why You Should Put Your Kids First During Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmMany parents have a belief that their kids are emotionally more pliant and flexible as compare to them and they can cope up with the aftereffects of their parents’ divorce. The divorce experience of any child will shape up based on how well their parents look after them even after the divorce is finalized so that they feel loved and secure.

Here are some of the top reasons why your children should be given first priority during your divorce:

Your divorce can mean a big change in the lives of your children

Such changes include getting involved in the conflict between you and their other parent, an absence of emotional security, economic difficulty, and change of residence and so on.

A divorce can make a child feel that he or she has now lost their family which has been the center of their world till now.

When children grow up in a family where conflicts and stress factors are low, they feel secure and their family acts as a shield of security for them. This feeling of security and belongingness enable a child to face the world with confidence and widen their outlooks as they know that they have a secure home to return to. When this intact family does not exist anymore after their parent’s divorce, it is as shocking as a death in the family for a child. Thus there should be a proper grieving period and they should be given the time and the opportunity to substitute it with a fresh kind of a security.

The risks of sociological, educational and psychological problems of a child may go up after their parent’s divorce

All aspects of a kid’s life get impacted when his or her parents decide to divorce; they may even have a change in relationship with their close friends. Additionally, their capability to concentrate and focus in school may also get negatively impacted. As such, there is a great deal of likelihood for such a child to feel depressed and anxious.

Kids may go through emotional trauma and pain after their parents’ divorce

Irrespective of how much effort a parent puts in and how good they are in their parenting skills, children may still feel lost and sad after the divorce or while the divorce is going on, the divorce of their parents will always hurt children. It is not true that children are always happy when their parents are happy.

There are some parents who are under a misconception that their kids spend energy and time thinking about their happiness.  However, children are always more concerned about their own happiness, especially during such trying times.

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 Deal With Not Seeing Your Kids Every Day After The Divorce is Over

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmSpending time away from one’s kids can really be devastating for a parent. It is a natural desire for parents to be in the company of their kids every day. Parents expect to dine with their little ones, to tell bed time stories before putting them into their beds and listen to what they did in the entire day. Parents also love hugging and kissing their kids to show their affection for their offspring. Hence when you spend too much time away from them, there could be co-parenting conflicts with the other parent

Such emotions are not unusual as protecting and caring for one’s kid is in the DNA. Even the thought of staying away from them can be painful and scary. It is not like someone is telling the co-parents that way. Such pain is not simply a feeling, it is real. No parent would voluntarily opt to go through that kind of anguish at any point in their lives.

Check out some of the following strategies that can help a parent to deal with such a pain.

You should remember that no emotional state is permanent

While you must be going through a lot of mental agonies, they will soon pass. When a parent faces such intense emotions, they may feel trapped for always. However, that is not true.

Learn ways of managing emotional stress

These mental states can be really painful. But it is crucial to know ways of one’ tolerating these as well as gliding through them. A parent should develop skills such as mindfulness to cope up with such mental states.

Do not shirk to approach for help.

You can consult a therapist or even approach a good support group. It will help you to remember that there are people around you and spending these difficult moments with others can be a big help.

Leave your home from time to time

The natural ambiance and fresh air can do wonders for your mental state. When you stay in foes for long hours and brood, it will be a big help to come out of your existing emotional state.

Read a lot

Many people who read a lot are known to combat difficult phases in their lives successfully and face the world once again.

Spend more time with families and friends

Make plans to go out with your family or friends. For instance, you can watch a movie together, attend a concert or enjoy a picnic.

Follow your passion

Many times, family responsibilities make your passions and hobbies to take a backseat. It is the perfect time to pursue your interests once again. So get engages in an activity or a hobby that will help you not to think too much.’

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.

Top 3 Ways To Keep Your Kids Happy Even After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmMost divorced couples, as well as divorce experts, would agree that kids get highly affected by the conflict between their parents after the latter are divorced. It is interesting to note that kids are not harmed by their parents’ divorce, rather the onus lies on those parents who do not give first priority to their kids during the divorce. As parents, it is your responsibility to do the best for your kids after the divorce comes through so that they do not turn into collateral victims. Are you a worried parent who does not want your divorce to cause a negative impact on the kids or minimize them as possible? Here are some of those things to take care of such an issue.

Try to put yourself in your kids’ shoes

Never be under the illusion that your children are related when they get to know that their father or mother are in love again or are dating a new person or love going out with their friends.  Things simply do not function that way. As a loving parent, your happiness should depend on how satisfied your children are. It should never work in a reverse way. After all kids are narcissistic in nature, which means they are more bothered about their own happiness and requirements. It is not your kid’s lookout how happy you are in your personal life.

Both the parents should try to have a healthy relationship after their divorce

Both the parents have a special and individual influence in the lives of their children. Your children gave got a better chance to grow up as healthy adults when they get the company of both their parents. So, it is extremely crucial for the kids of the divorced parents to get equal time to spend with both their parents. It is quite likely that you are not quite fond of your gourmet spouse now but that does not mean your kids will stop loving their other parent. When you love your kids above everyone else, make sure that all their requirements are fulfilled despite your not so cordial relationship with your ex.

Try to let go of the feeling that you are superior to the other parent

It is possible that your former spouse abused you or cheated on you. However, what is more, crucial is whether they treat your kids well or not. When they love the children despite their shortcomings and your children feel secure and respected with their other parents, you should not be judgmental.

Finally, kids can be victims when it is a question of their parents getting divorced. They do not have any voice in the decisions taken by you and your spouse regarding the marriage breakup. It is imperative that they have some sort of control over how they should live. You can be their best parents by fulfilling their emotional needs even after the divorce is finalized.

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.  

Top 3 Mistakes Committed While Fighting Child Custody Battle

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County child custody; The Maggio Law FirmThere are many instances when couples who separate are not able to work out a proper parenting planning that is agreeable to both of them. In such scenarios, the only alternative available to both the parents is to approach the court seeking an order on child custody. Sadly though, there are several such cases where good parents are labeled as being neglectful or unfit when they make any if they make any of the mistakes mentioned below while they are fighting their battle on child custody.

Show poor judgment and information on a social media site

Lately, it has been found that there are many such parents who use social media to vent out their emotions, demean the other parent or show-off to their known ones that they are having great fun in their newly acquired single study even in the midst of the custody battle. But you should remember that social media is not a private platform and is meant for sharing what you want your friends or the general public to know. Quite frequently the pictures and information you upload on a social networking site can be viewed by the general public and that also includes your estranged spouse as well as his or her lawyer.

Not obeying temporary custody orders of the court

In a majority of cases, it is a common norm for the Court to order for temporary interim custody in the beginning of paternity action or a divorce that will be binding till the time there is a trial.

A bad mistake that can be committed by one of the parents is to disregard or not obey the temporary orders of the court. For instance, a parent not returning the kids on a specific day and at a specific time. Another example could be removing the kids from the residing state without intimating the other parent or the court order permitting such relocation. In both the cases, the aggrieved party is bound to inform the same to the concerned court to highlight that the authority of the court has been violated by the other parent.

Getting arrested

This is one of the sure shot ways for the other patient to prove that the arrested parent is not fit while the custody battle is still going on. Even though a parent may not be charged or convicted of a crime but gets arrested, the act is sufficient to provide a weapon in the hands of the other parent to claim that his or her estranged spouse has a problem with anger management or has an inclination towards violence.

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

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

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

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

Do’s

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

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

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

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

Don’ts

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

The Role Of Parents & Grandparents In California Child Custody

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County family law attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmIn 2000, a landmark decision was passed regarding custody and visitation rights of grandparents after the Troxel vs. Granville case. The Court in that case ruled that when it comes to child custody, parents have the upper hand because they are the primary caregiver. However, minor children are also allowed to spent time with their grandparents and it depends upon the decision of the parents.

Parents are given more preference

In cases where both parents and grandparents are involved in custodial battles, the court gives more preference to parents. Also, more significance is given to a parent’s objections regarding visitations by grandparents. California courts believe that since children spent the majority of their time with parents, it makes the parents responsible for what their child does. But that does not mean that children should be kept away from grandparents. Building an amicable relationship with every member of the family should be the goal.

Grandparents can get custody too

Despite what the court orders are, there are always cases where grandparents have got the custody of their grandkids. This usually happens when the parent is either convicted of a crime or is unable to provide for the child. In cases where domestic abuse or child abuse is involved, grandparents may win custody battles. Even in cases where there is serious disruption of parental custody or physical unavailability of parents for long durations, grandparents are given the custody of their grandkids.

The role of grandparents during child custody

In general, grandparents play an important role in a family especially in the lives of grandchildren. Grandparents should guide parents when they want to get a divorce or they want to get married again. They should be supportive but at the same time unafraid to talk about the negative consequences.

During child custody and visitation, grandparents should be able to tell the court why their presence is important. They should clearly identify areas in the child’s development where they play an important role.

Conclusion

Parents and grandparents are both important for child custody and visitation. However, after 2000, California courts award custody of children to parents unless some serious crime is involved. The role of both parents and grandparents must be distinct and each should know their importance in a child’s life. The best resolution would be to allow grandparents to become an integral part of the children’s life while parents continue to maintain their 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 process.  

Tips For Becoming A Better Step-Parent For Divorced Kids

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmIf you’re a step-parent who’s in charge of step-kids, then it is needless to tell you how hectic and tough it can become to handle them. Children exhibit a variety of emotions and sometimes it becomes hard to understand what their true feelings are. As a step-parent, you can only put on your best behavior and hope that things get better as time passes. However, it does not always work out and you need to put in extra effort to make sure it does.

Here are some tips to help you become a better step-parent:

  1. Don’t make too many drastic changes

Changes are difficult for children to accept and more than often it negatively affects them if the changes are too drastic. The very reason that you’re in the house means that there are going to be certain changes and the child knows that. So, take it easy and make one change at a time.

  1. Make changes before you marry if you can

The best way to allow kids adjust to the change is by making the changes before you get married. And since you’ll be around the children for most of the time, they will slowly get used to the change.

  1. Don’t create excessive rules

It is understandable that you want to create rules and impose them on your step-children as part of your parenting guide. But making too many rules can have a negative effect on the kids. When you’re moving into the family, don’t make any rules at all. Instead make everything fun and interactive. Once you connect with your step children, you can teach them certain rules which they should follow around the house.

  1. Don’t be stern

Never ever make the children feel like they’re in a military camp. Be easy on them and even if they make mistakes or create trouble, handle the situation peacefully.

  1. Don’t try showing extra affection

Children are quick to find out who is fake and who is not. If your plan is too show too much affection the minute you lay eyes on them, then in all likelihood, that plan will backfire. Keep things as natural as possible.

Conclusion

It’s a new life for you but your step-children don’t want to feel the same way. They just want the comfort of their mom and dad and as a parent it becomes your duty to make sure you understand them correctly.

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 Visitation Easier After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce attorney; The Maggio Law FirmDivorce can be a chaotic stage in a couple’s life, full of upheaval, changes, and uncertainty. Additionally, when there are children in the marriages, things can be quite tough on them. If you want to make things easier and smoother for them as a parent, both you and your former spouse should collaborate in a manner to ensure that there are no hiccups in the visitation process. Divorce experts will vouch for it that parenting the kids is the most crucial task for you as a parent. So, if you and the other parent can work out things in a harmonious manner, it is possible to avoid negative, lasting and long effects on the kids.

As parents, you should demonstrate a united front so that your children feel relaxed and confident during such a trying time. Check out some of the ideas and thoughts to make sure that your child visits are a positive experience for everybody.

Be quick and punctual

It is important to be there and always be punctual with your kids These gestures will exhibit that these visits to your children are extremely precious for you. After all, kids need an assurance time and again that they are vital for you. Hence concentrate solely on them whenever you are in their company. During these visits, you should also reinforce through your actions or words that your children are your top most priority. How about spending some quality time with them by going for a bike ride with them or playing a game together? Do not focus on your text messages and emails while you are visiting your children.

Always try to be positive

Show enthusiasm whenever you discuss your next visit with them. Your plans should not get spoiled or overshadowed just because you have differences with the other parent. It may also help when you are aware of what activities the kids love doing while being with the other parent.

Stop arguing with your former spouse in front of your kids

Children may get upset when they see their parents arguing and calling names, particularly during pickup or drop off time. After all, visitation is such an occasion where you should solely focus on your little ones. Thus, it is essential for both the parents to ensure that the pickup and drop off times are pleasant and tension-free. You should try discussing your differences at a different time so that the process is a smooth one for all. Fix up meetings for discussing contentious matters with your ex-spouse or you can even hire a mediator to conduct your adult conversations in an amicable manner.

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 A Divorced Dad Can Make A “Home” for His Kids

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

fathers rights attorneys Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmGoing through a divorce is never easy, and becoming a single dad is even harder.  You should try your best to make sure that your kids feel perfectly at home at your home. Take these steps to ensure that your children feel relaxed and at home while they are staying with you.

Ensure that your children have a separate sleeping space

Very often, older kids yearn for privacy and a separate room in the house. While some children may need to share their rooms, make sure that they are comfortable with their sleeping arrangements. Try your best to provide a separate room for them. Let them hang their favorite posters on the wall and give them space to keep their books and toys. They should also have their own dresser to store their clothes, it does not cost much to do. Welcome their input on how they want the decor of their room to be.

Try to set up fresh family traditions

This is a time to create new family traditions at your place that will thrill them. For instance, you may fix a tradition of eating waffles on Sunday mornings before going to church or it could be ice cream and video games every Wednesday. Think of activities where both your child and you can participate together. Such family activities will create a family bond. This exercise will be also helpful to recreate the bond that existed earlier at the home before the parents got divorced.

Hang family pictures on the wall

Your family is incomplete without your kids. So, take some time as well as give efforts to make sure that your special moments are captured.  Also make sure that these photographs are displayed all through the home. Photos of your relatives, pictures of holidays and school pictures enhance the ambiance of any home and improve stability. These photos are also helpful to create fresh memories of life after their parent’s divorce.

Always extend a warm welcome to the friends of your child

As your kids grow older, they start developing a closer bond with their friends. In fact, there will come a time when they would rather spend more time with friends than with their parents. An easy step that can resolve this mental dilemma is to invite your kids’ friends home while trying to brush off any rejection or hurt you could be feeling. Permit your children to ask their friends to stay over for the night at your place or simply let them hang out. This way, their dad’s home will appear more enjoyable for them when they mature.

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.  

 
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