Have You Considered Divorce Mediation?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmIt’s nearly impossible to find two marriages that are identical and the same can be said of divorces. That’s why it is so important for couples considering divorce to start by researching their options: a collaborative divorce, a litigated divorce or mediation. Most are aware of the ideal represented by collaborative divorce. The trick is making it happen during a time when agreeing on important matters is more difficult than ever before. The inability to successfully manage a collaborative divorce ends with many couples in litigation. Yet there is another option that too many couples do not seriously consider: divorce mediation.

Divorce mediation occurs when a divorcing couple works with a neutral “mediator” in order to come to an agreement on all aspects of the divorce. In the ideal situation, the mediator should be an experienced family law attorney, but first and foremost the mediator must be neutral. They should not be an advocate for either party involved. It is also recommended that both parties consult with their own attorneys during the mediation and prior to signing the final divorce settlement agreement.

Before skipping the option to handle a divorce through mediation, consider the benefits that it offers:

  • Mediation can result in a better long-term relationship by avoiding court room battles.
  • Mediated divorce can be easier on any children involved since mediation typically leads to more peaceful proceedings.
  • For many, mediation is the fastest route to an agreement between parties.
  • In most cases, mediation reduces expenses associated with divorce.
  • Mediation keeps the control in the hands of the divorcing parties rather than the court.
  • Allows for discretion during the divorce process. A litigated divorce is public.

While mediation offers a number of advantages, it is not always the best answer. If you are attempting to determine if mediation is a likely solution for your divorce first sit and honestly answer the following questions. Do you think it’s possible your spouse may be hiding assets/income? Do you think your spouse is abnormally domineering/do you have trouble speaking up and voicing your opinions? Is there a history of domestic violence in the relationship? Do either you or your spouse have drug or alcohol addictions? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, a mediated divorce may not be successful.

Weigh your divorce options carefully. Every divorce is different because every couple and every family is different. If you are able to work together with your spouse to make decisions and both of you can be honest and reasonable, mediation can offer many benefits, but if you have doubts, there are other options. For help figuring out the options best suited to your specific circumstances, please get in touch with one of the experienced family law attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm today.

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.  

Doing Your Homework To Make Divorce Mediation Successful

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmWhile divorces and legal separation are commonplace these days even after years of togetherness, it is important to ensure that the process is carried out smoothly without further hatred and ill feelings towards one another. Today, many couples decide to embrace mediation for sorting their marital issues in a civilized way while parting so that they can save their money and have no misgivings. Such goals are easier to fulfill when both parties are ready to opt for a mediation while their divorce is underway.

Check out how you can do your homework prior to mediation so that the possibility of getting success is higher:

1. Emotional preparedness
While it may be an obvious one but there are occasions when people cannot keep their emotions under control while discussing about their finances, marriage or children. You should understand that mediators will not be surprised when they find frustration, fury or tears from both sides. There are some people who may have been concealing their true feelings until now and are stunned to see them coming out in the open. When such emotions surface before others, mediation can get stifled. But you should not let your feelings prevent a fruitful mediation. It is important to take a deep breath and gather your emotions and thoughts. You may even request a brief respite.

2. Preparedness with figures
When you want to opt for a mediation for discussing finances, income and properties, a thorough preparedness becomes a necessity. If you want to adopt a number you feel is accurate such as the worth of your marital house, attend the mediation session with the relevant documentation to establish your viewpoint and facilitate the progress of mediation in a smooth manner. Many spouses are known to feel comfortable and relaxed while arriving at an agreement related to finances when they are confident about their figures. Thus, a discussion on proper calculations backed by concrete figures can make the mediation process an effective one.

3. Be prepared to listen more
While it may sound cliche and immature, the framework for any fruitful mediation is to listen to the words of the other party carefully while the mediation is going on. When you listen patiently and prepare your responses carefully. your mediation can be more productive.

Professional Orange County divorce mediators are present to facilitate, assist and guide their clients so that both the parties can have a highly productive discussion and reach an agreement at the end. When both parties are willing to work together in a harmonious manner, the likelihood of a successful and effective divorce mediation can go up significantly.

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 Have a Smooth Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmIt is not easy for any couple to end their marriage and when they are prepared for it, chances are that there may not be harmony between the partners when the divorce proceeding is going on or after it is through. However, you need not feel down as your experience will depend on the choices made by you while the separation process is on and before it starts.  Check out some of the following tips to ensure that there is a smooth transition from being married to being single once again.

Put aside your negative emotions if any

When you are capable of assessing your emotional and mental state and can accordingly admit your feelings, you are ready to accept the reality of the present. It also signifies that you can adapt yourself to the changes that are inevitable. Before you are all set to proceed with the legal procedure, you can get in touch with a therapist to overcome your negative emotions. In other words, do your best to rise above your emotions.

Have a positive team to support you in this difficult period of your life

You should have a positive team to support you when your divorce process is on. While going through the divorce, you will find that you have two different types of family members and friends. You need not feel alone. When your loved ones surround you, you can get through this process smoothly.

Approach the right kind of divorce lawyer when you have to do so

If your partner and you are going through negotiations on divorce settlements, you need to inform your attorney. He or she should also approve your wish to resolve vital legal matters in a civil manner. You need to remember that your lawyer is your voice during the proceeding. Hence, you should ensure that your lawyer should have a thorough understanding of ways to minimize legal and emotional conflict for all involved parties.

Try to use choices other than litigation

There are alternatives available to you while your divorce proceeding is going on to decrease conflict as well as inspire collaboration between your partner and you. You may take the help of a collaborative coach or a mediator while negotiating a divorce settlement with your spouse. They are trained professionals who guide couples so that conflict can be reduced, thereby enabling proper decision-making that is based on the foundation of facts rather than emotions. Your coach or mediator will help your spouse and you while splitting the marital property, reaching an agreement on child custody and ascertaining child support.

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 Should You Opt for Mediation Over Divorce Litigation?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange county divorce mediation attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmIt is never easy to go through a divorce. This it true even when you are splitting from your spouse in the most amicable manner. Moreover, it can be emotionally taxing while coping with the logistics. The stress is further compounded by expensive and lengthy court proceedings. A desire for getting out of these stressful formalities that are associated with a traditional divorce process is resulting in an increasing number of couples going for an alternative form of dispute resolution: divorce mediation.

When should you consider mediation as your choice?

Divorce mediation is regarded as appropriate in those situations when both the parties are ready for negotiation and do not have qualms about compromising with each other. While it is true that all the differences and disagreements will be there to resolve while the mediation process is going on, there are many couples who are really okay to sort out such differences by interacting with each other. These couples will derive the maximum out of a mediation process.

Now, there will always be cases where the only option is to go for a litigation. It is a logical process to go through a trial when one of the parties is not ready to budge from their unreasonable demands, hostile to the other party or is not ready to negotiate. Such issues are common in scenarios like abandonment, abuse or adultery. Mediation is not likely to succeed in these cases and it is necessary for the court to intervene.

How does divorce mediation function?

The process of mediation is a way to resolve a dispute where there is no intervention from the courts. It is a scenario when a couple is okay to communicate directly and discuss all the crucial issues that surround their impending marriage dissolution. This hammering takes place during a mediator’s presence. The issues may range from spousal support, agreeing on matters regarding their children, resolution of visitation and custody issues to retirement and division of the properties.

When an impartial mediator or a third party is present, the couples are not negotiating details on their own. A mediator’s role is to facilitate communication and chair over such discussions between the two parties. He or she attempts to offer neutral and unbiased guidance to both the spouses and eventually guide them to draft a divorce agreement acceptable to both of them. The expenses related to the mediation procedure is ideally split between both the spouses.

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 Difference Between Divorce Mediation and Private Judging

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmAlthough most of the individuals facing divorce litigation have probably heard of terms such as mediation and private judging, they do not really know the legal implication of either of them. Both divorce mediation and private judging can be cited as a process of resolution which can be used as an economical and less time consuming alternative to a typical divorce litigation that goes on for years in a court of law. However, many times mediation and private judging can also be carried out in conjunction with the regular litigation which implies that if the negotiation does not help achieve the desired result, the parties would then proceed to a court trial. Although both private judging and mediation procedures are carried out in the presence of a neutral third party, there are certain significant differences that distinguish one form the other.

What is divorce mediation? 

Divorce mediation can be described as an informal out of court process which involves an impartial third party known as the mediator, who assists the divorcing parties in resolving their conflicts and disagreements over their marriage. It is the duty of a mediator to guide and assist both the parties in reaching a mutually agreed upon settlement by ensuring the preservation of the underlying concerns and interests of both. A mediator does not however have the right of imposing a certain resolution upon the concerned parties, since he or she cannot grant legally binding verdicts. The final settlement mutually agreed upon by both parties can be merely cited as a contract signed by them, which does not have a legal force. In a nutshell, mediation can be an effective approach to resolving marital conflicts in situations where there is some room for a peaceful negotiation.

What is private judging? 

Private judging of divorce cases, on the other hand, is a negotiation process wherein both the divorcing parties mutually agree upon appointing a neutral third party as a judge to help find a resolution for their marital conflicts outside of the public courtroom, as a private affair. It can be cited as a simplified version of the actual courtroom litigation with lesser complicated procedures and operational guidelines. The private judging starts by both the parties stating their respective concerns and issues in front of the private judge and presenting before him or her the relevant documents and evidence.  After hearing both sides of the story, the private judge has the right to grant an ‘award’ or a final verdict which is held enforceable by the court of law, if either party fails to comply with it. In other words, the decision of the private judge is deemed as binding upon both the parties if the parties agreed to that in the beginning.

Considering the bigger picture, both mediation and private judge are enacted in order to reach a mutually agreed upon out of court settlement which not only saves the time and money of both the parties involved, but also makes the process less emotionally draining for them.

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.  

Steps Involved In Child Custody Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmWhen you get divorced and need to sort out custody for your children, child custody mediation is usually the least stressful way to handle custody agreements. Unless your ex-spouse is an unfit parent for your children, try as much as you can to settle custody through mediation rather than dragging your family, and your children, through the heart wrenching agony of a bitter custody trial.

If you’re unsure of what mediation might look like, day-to-day, read on to find out.

When you decide on mediation, you, your attorney, your ex-spouse, and their attorney decide to come to a custody agreement in the presence of a divorce mediator instead of a judge.

When preparing for mediation proceedings, it is highly recommended that you hire an attorney, write out detailed schedules for your child, draft a custody agreement and visitation proposal, and make sure that you have all the documents you need concerning your child. Your attorney will be able to advice you regarding those documents.

Mediation processes usually follow a set of steps that are fairly standard—you meet with the mediator, figure out the issues that require mediation, discuss a custody agreement draft with your ex-spouse while making required changes throughout the process, and then sign the agreement.

When in mediation, you should discuss the following issues:

  • Figure out regular custody and visitation—are you going to share custody or not? Will the child remain with one parent most of the time? What does visitation look like?
  • Once you arrive at a custody situation, start defining the parameters and the boundaries of the time you have with your kids. Where will your kids spend specific holidays or school vacations? Can one parent take the child on long vacations? Under what circumstances can changes be made to the current visitation schedule? Also, this is the time to figure out how you can go about changing the custody agreement on a permanent basis if required.
  • The other important issue you need to discuss concerns the raising of your children. Discuss things like schools, activities, religious training, medical care, dental and vision care, sports, etc. Figure out who wants to be involved where, and make it happen. Also figure out how you’ll split costs for things like college or private school, or even emergency medical care if required.
  • If you run into problems or disagree with each other, listen to the mediator and try and arrive at an amicable solution. Compromise, because the other party will compromise as well, and ultimately, this will benefit your children.

Once the agreement is drafted and signed, you can and should expect your ex-spouse to honor 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 You Can Make Your Divorce Easier Using Mindfulness Meditation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmCouples decide to go their separate ways for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the decision can be mutual, but no matter the decision or the reason, it is not a cause for celebration. Everything around you changes because the life you had built, the family you had nurtured has come undone.

During and after the divorce, you have to learn to adjust to a whole new life without your spouse. Your children also suffer with you now that their parents are living apart. You have to start afresh after a great deal of hurt and painful memories. Divorce has been the leading cause of depression and anxiety among adults in the United States.

If you are battling a divorce, you need to realize that you are not alone. You have support groups and therapy sessions to help people cope with difficult divorces. If those do not interest you, you could turn to mindfulness meditation.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness can be described as being open to all your experiences, the good or bad, without attaching yourself to them. Being mindful helps you learn how to be present instead of running away from what is happening. This process helps you open your mind and observe yourself in entirety.

Mindfulness meditation

The practice of mindfulness meditation can be traced back to Buddhist origins. It is widely practiced and has been proven to help reduce emotional pain, depression, and stress. Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation also helps decrease pain intensity.

How can mindfulness meditation help with a divorce?

When you are fighting through a divorce, any source of relief is welcomed. Meditation has proven to be an excellent method to relieve stress. With all those negative thoughts and emotions swirling around in your mind will only bog you down. Over time, it can be overwhelming for both your mind and body.

Being mindful of your situation as you fight through your divorce will help you be present in what can be described as one of the most unpleasant experiences of your life. But this will help you analyze your situation and learn from it. Instead of harboring bitter and hateful feelings, you will learn to let things go as you immerse yourself in the dreadful situation. Your body will feel more relaxed and you will slowly begin to gain more control over yourself and feel lesser negative about the situation.

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.

Looking at the Big Picture During Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmIn a recent workshop, there was a woman giving a lecture on the way our mind works. She took a large piece of paper and started to write down some of the positive emotions on the piece of paper, and then some negative emotions, followed by exciting emotions and later, by emotions causing fear, creating a paper filled with all kinds of emotions.

The emotions were placed strategically. Once the exercise ended, the sheet was folded about the size of an 8.5″ X 11″ piece of paper, and the square that was visible to the human eye only contained negative and fearful emotions.


The first question that comes to one’s mind is why are we only seeing the negative side of things and the emotions of fear and not the more positive ones also written down on the same piece of paper? The answer is because that is how our mind works. All of us have a wide range of positivity in our life and yet, when we are triggered, our mind can only set its sights on the negative stuff in our life.

Lessons to Be Learned

This is a great example to learn lessons from in life. Yes, your marriage didn’t work; yes, you may have been left wanting in life, yes, you were unable to achieve all that you wanted to with this relationship. Yet, much like the piece of paper, your relationship has had positives and negatives and during the talk of divorce, those positives shouldn’t be forgotten.

There was a reason you started a relationship with your spouse, and then went ahead and started a family and had kids. Before your divorce, they were someone you wanted to spend your life with and did. The fact that your life couldn’t work well together doesn’t mean their positives no longer exist.

This is why it is important to look at the big picture in life in general and in a divorce in particular. As much as you hate it, you will have to accept that even after a divorce, you cannot end all ties with your spouse. You will have a relation of being a parent even after the divorce and you’ll have to share that with your ex-spouse.

For that, it is important that you aren’t on bitter terms with the other spouse. Keeping view of the big picture which has some positives as well as negatives is helpful in divorce mediation. The process is all about cooperation, conversations and coordination. You will have to agree to the resolution of your divorce with your spouse. It would be easier to do so if you had some element of positivity in your mind about your spouse.

A divorce can be emotionally and physically draining, but to ensure that it is not financially stressful, it’s best if you opt for divorce mediation in Orange County or elsewhere, where you get to decide your future.

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 You Need a Lawyer if You’re Opting for Divorce Mediation?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmDivorce mediation is touted widely as the way to go for spouses seeking a more pro-active role in deciding the outcome of their divorce settlement. With a host of divorce mediation specialist with a range of areas of expertise from psychology and counseling to just plain mediation, there may still be good reason to involve an attorney in the process. In fact, if you find a divorce mediation specialist with some legal background, all the better. And here’s why.

What it means to go it alone

Choosing to ‘do your own thing’ during divorce mediation may seem like the civilized thing to do, but it can be quite the opposite if you aren’t careful. When things start out, you may feel you’re in control and know your spouse better than anyone else, which is why you’re best qualified to handle the mediation. While that may be true, there are times when an objective third party helps. While a divorce mediation specialist is all that, they don’t have your interests as their only focus – they are equally invested in the outcome for your spouse. A divorce attorney on the other hand, has one goal – getting the best deal for you.

Negotiating muscle power

Divorce mediation requires a lot of back and forth between both parties, and sometimes contentious issues may reach a stalemate. A good divorce attorney may be more skilled at negotiating a better deal for you and getting the buy-in of your soon to be ex as well, a step critical to the mediation process which requires a ‘mutually agreeable’ outcome.

Why legal help matters

When a divorce lawyer comes on board during the mediation, quite often, they may uncover common issues that may have slipped through the cracks. having worked on hundreds of cases they are aware of potential problem areas that may not even have crossed your mind. Little issues that could flare up like details of what happens if one parent gets a new job or relocates to a different state in the future.  They can also offer insight on legal ramifications or possible outcomes, should a specific issue be taken to court.

A divorce lawyer is well trained in the area of documentation and paperwork related to divorce, as well as the intricacies of divorce law. Even of you and your spouse are able to talk your way to an acceptable solution, you may not have the legal expertise to create a document that holds in court. A legal expert will find the flaws or loopholes if any, and ensure the final agreement is watertight. A divorce mediation specialist can take you towards that solution and help you find that common ground, but ultimately, you will need to consult a lawyer to get things in order and to be done with your divorce as swiftly as possible.

Ideally, reach out to a reviewing or consulting divorce attorney with a background in mediation to be able to arrive at the most optimal solution that’s also valid and covers all bases.

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.

Divorce Mediation vs. Collaborative Divorce: What’s the Difference?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmDivorce mediation and a collaborative divorce may sound similar but the mechanics of these two approaches can be quite different. If you are unsure on which one is better suited to your situation, here is a look at how they work and what to expect.

Alternative to court trial

While there are some ways in which collaborative divorces and divorce mediation are starkly different, there are a few basics which remains the same in both cases. For one thing, they offer an alternative to a long drawn out and often expensive and messy battle in divorce court. Both offer a greater measure of control to you and your ex and don’t leave things to the discretion of a third party – the judge and your attorneys. However, there are some differences that could make one preferable over the other for you.

If the mediation or collaboration doesn’t work

In the event a divorce mediation doesn’t work out, you simply take your case to court to work it out before a judge. Your attorney presents your case and is already well-versed with the details so will be better equipped to represent you. However, if a collaborative divorce process falls through, your attorney is bound by a ‘no-court’ agreement. This is a document signed by you and your attorney and your spouse and theirs, stipulating that if the case heads to court, they must necessarily withdraw as your attorney. You will then both need to hire new lawyers who will want to do their own research ground up, resulting in some additional expenses and time.

Who’s involved?

In the case of a divorce mediation, an independent neutral third party is brought in to mediate. The operative being ‘neutral’. In other words, neither of your divorce attorneys can mediate. Instead, you and your spouse meet with the mediator (and attorneys when required), to work through your differences in a neutral environment. A mediator does not push you towards a settlement or agreement, but simply helps diffuse the situation and encourages conversation and conflict resolution so critical things like custody, alimony and division of assets can be worked out.

In the case of a collaborative divorce, both spouses and their respective divorce attorneys work together to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution through four-way meetings. The benefit here is you have legal counsel to support you throughout. It is a more effective and less expensive alternative to litigation but gives room for lawyers to negotiate and present arguments for you.

Confidentiality issues

In many states, the discussions during divorce mediation are protected by mediation confidentiality laws. Collaborative divorce discussion are typically not. You can however, overcome this hurdle by getting everyone to sign confidentiality agreements before you begin the collaborative process.

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.