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.  

 

How to Help Your Kid through Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce attorney; The Maggio Law FirmAs thousands of couples decide to end their marriages every year, their kids are also affected in the process. But their reactions will depend to a large extent on their personality, the circumstances under which the parents decided to separate and their age. Kids often get affected when their parent’s divorce. Often, the first reaction these children go through is that of sorry, anger, frustration, sadness, and shock. However, these children can deal these feelings in a better way as they know how to cope up with stress. As an end result, many of them are more tolerant and flexible when they become young adults. At such trying times, the most crucial things both the parents can do are to help their children steer through it by taking the following steps:

Important steps

  • Try to minimize disruptions in the daily routines of their children.
  • Make sure that legal talks, heated arguments, and visible conflicts happen away from the kids.
  • Do not be negative in front of them. Conversation with close friends and private therapy sessions should not take place inside the house.
  • Both the parents should be involved in the lives of their kids. Indifference will hurt them more.

People going through divorce or separation require lots of emotional support from their families, clergy, professionals and friends. However, these adults should never seek support and help from their children though they may appear ready to do so.

Break the news gently

The moment you are completely sure of your divorce plans, you should speak to your children about the decision to separate. Yes, it will be not an easy task to break this news. In case it is possible, it is better if both the parents are present while the news is shared. Make sure that you adopt a neutral and unbiased tone and do not express your emotions of guilt, anger or disillusionment while telling them about your separation. Of possible rehearse how you are going to break the news from beforehand so that you go not lose your temper or become upset during the discussion.

You should discuss the matter in accordance with the temperament, maturity, and age of your kids. But one statement should be common. Whatever took place between both of you; your kids are not responsible for that. This is because a majority of the children feel that they should be blamed when things did not work out between their parents. So, it is extremely crucial that the parents reassure their kids about this.

Rather tell your children that at times the adults do not agree on things or their love for one another change and so they decide to live separately. But also tell them that children will tie the parents forever no matter what happens.

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 in California.

3 Ways That Parental Alienation Affects Children During Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

best divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmParental alienation occurs when a child becomes attached to one parent while rejecting the other. It usually happens when one parent purposefully encourages the child to alienate the other parent. The targeted parent may not be at fault and some parents try this as a means for winning custody battles. During a divorce, there are different emotions that come into the picture and anger and frustration are some of them. Some parents might vent out their anger by using his/her children against the other parent.

“Programming” the child to hate the other parent

Parental alienation usually involves the “programming” of the child to hate the other parent. It is a method of destroying the relationship between the child and the other parent. It is not only wrong to do so but also harmful for the child. The child develops a hatred towards the other parent and in future that hatred can manifest to something worse. It has been found that such “programmed” children are at risk of mental trauma and problems and treating them at a later stage can be difficult. The mental pressure faced by these children are symptoms of bigger mental problems.

It is a form of abuse

Research conducted on parental alienation has revealed that it is a type of abuse. It has been found that children of divorced couples are more prone to stress and anxiety than other children. One of the main causes has been attributed to parental alienation. In children, parental alienation leads to serious mental conditions and has long-term negative effects. Some of the symptoms exhibited by children who are victims of parental alienation are  lack of trust, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. It also harms the other parent and often leads to substance abuse and other addictions.

Post-traumatic stress following parental alienation

Children who are caught between spousal wars are likely to get post-traumatic stress especially when they constantly hear something negative about the other parent. Children have a fundamental right of being with whichever parent they wish to be with. Snatching that right not only creates post-traumatic stress but it also violates ethical standards. Children who are taught to hate the other parent are constantly in a conflict with themselves. They have trouble differentiating between what is right and what is not. The doubt leads to reduced self-confidence and causes post-traumatic stress.

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.  

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.  

 
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