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.

4 Things To Consider Before Signing A Prenuptial Agreement

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

prenuptial agreements Orange CountyPrenuptial agreement is essentially a contract signed by two individuals who are about to enter into a marriage. The purpose of the prenuptial agreement is to protect either individual’s assets in case the marriage fails and a divorce is required. prenuptial agreements are not exactly a welcome concept in the society but the agreement will be instrumental in resolving any disputes over division of assets during a divorce litigation. The Court often follows the terms mentioned in the prenuptial agreement while making the final judgement.

Prenuptial agreements need to be explicit in their terms. The purpose of the agreement is to avoid unwanted disputes and a well drafted agreement is necessary. There are a few things to keep in mind when signing a prenuptial agreement.

Review the document 

Like any legal document, it is mandatory that the parties signing the agreement get it reviewed by their respective attorneys to avoid any misunderstandings. Either party is required to be forthcoming with all their assets else, the agreement will end becoming void in the court. The agreement should be signed before the wedding takes place.

Consulting attorneys 

Most couples who are about to sign a prenuptial agreement often do not take it much seriously and get it reviewed by a friend or relative practicing law. prenuptial agreements are no joke and it is important to hire an attorney who is well versed in existing state laws and can draft a proper agreement.

What a prenuptial agreement does not resolve

Prenuptial agreements are mainly concerned with the division of assets. They do not resolve:

  • Issues that are non-financial such as division of any important chores.
  • Child related issues such as disputes over child support, child custody, and so on. 

Disclosing your assets and liabilities 

All your assets including stocks, funds, bank statements, inheritances, and liabilities like credit cards, loans, mortgages, and so on must be disclosed in the agreement. In case of a divorce, the Court will consider the agreement invalid if any hidden assets are discovered. Make a meticulous list of all your assets and liabilities to avoid nullification of the agreement.

Discussing division of property 

Both the individuals entering into marriage must discuss the division of their assets. They must rule out which assets were owned individually before marriage and which assets will be considered marital property, meaning both parties will have ownership of the assets equally or as decided by the individuals.

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 Concept Of ‘Jackson Credit’ For Child Support In California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

best divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmThere have been instances in California divorces where one parent has ended up giving 100% of his/her time for child support despite having child custody. Usually, the parent who takes care of the child for the majority of time should pay less but in some cases the reverse took place.

The ‘Jackson Credit’ became applicable after the famous Jackson v. Jackson case.

The Jackson v. Jackson case

In the Jackson v. Jackson case, the mother charged the father with child support defaults when the child had been living with the father for 100% of the time.  Initially, the trial court supported the mother saying the father attempted to change court orders for child care support. However, when the father appealed, the court said that even though the law does not allow an individual parent to make changes in child care support rules, the father fulfilled his obligations for child support.

What is a Jackson Credit?

A Jackson Credit is granted to noncustodial parents who prove that during their custodial time, they paid their share of the custodial support. Courts allow child support credits to parents who take care of the child and provide child support as well. It saves one parent from substantial financial damage that can be incurred.

When can a Jackson Credit be claimed?

During arrears calculation, a non-custodial parent can claim a Jackson Credit for the time he/she spent with the child when he/she was not supposed to. Parents who can provide evidence that the child was under his/her protection for 100% of the time, are eligible for Jackson Credits. In many cases, parents who have failed to show proper evidence have been barred from receiving a Jackson Credit. Knowing how the credit system works can help save unnecessary financial loss. It is therefore important to talk to an attorney first before proceeding with the Jackson Credit.

Conclusion

The Jackson Credit is applicable for parents who have paid for child support despite giving 100% of their time for child care. The credit system has been established to help parents save themselves from financial losses. The Jackson credit was created after a famous case that involved a mother demanding child support from a father even when the father had been taking care of the child the entire time.

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 “Right of First Refusal” Concept In California Custody Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county child custody attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmThe “Right of First Refusal” concept in California divorces awards the holder the option to undertake responsibility of the child in the absence of the other spouse. What is means is that after a legal custody battle one parent can take care of the child during the time that has been allotted for the other parent. The right of first refusal allows parents to take responsibility of child care instead of awarding it to a third party.

The right of first refusal has two advantages. First, the child is not put into the hands of a third party. Second, the costs for paying the third-party care provider is also avoided.

When can the right be exercised

Parents who are unavailable to take care of their children for more than 12 hours must notify the other parent prior to the unavailability. It gives the other parent plenty of time to consider the decision. It the other parent refuses to be present at the mentioned time, it becomes the custodial parent’s duty to look for an alternative care for his/her child.

For the right of first refusal to become actionable, the determination of the period of time is very important. However, since there is no perfect time frame which decides the right, it depends from case to case. It’s a good idea to include a divorce lawyer during such matters.

One of the most important factor for exercising the right of first refusal is geography. For the right to take place, parents need to stay close to each other. If the distance is too long, the right may not be of too much help.

When can it be misused

There have been instances where the right of first refusal has been misused. If you have not enjoyed a good relationship with your spouse, then he/she may not agree to your offer. During tight knit custody battles, such rights can make a lot of difference in custody preferences.

Conclusion

A divorce affects children badly. It has negative psychological effects which can become physical if ignored. Custody battles are tough and the state of California has laws to make sure the child spends equal amount of time with each parent. The right of first refusal was created to provide temporary custody to the other parent in the absence of the first one. It helps avoid the involvement of third parties and keeps the matter between the two parents.

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.  

Can You Mediate Custody Of Your Pet?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmDivorce mediation is typically the process of amicably reaching a settlement to end your marriage, but you are unsure what to do about your furry friend. Under California law, pets are typically classified as personal property and there are no explicit pet custody laws like there are laws for children. If one party gets exclusive care to the pet, the other party may not be permitted to visit the pet. Pets used to classified under the same category as other pieces of personal property, but the laws have changed for the better recently.

Ownership rather than custody

There exists no provisions for pet custody in California unless the divorcing couple come to an agreement. A pet will be looked as a non-dividable piece of property. The party who does not receive exclusive care to the pet may not have any legal recourse. The best thing to do in such cases is to develop a pre-nup before marriage stating how pets would be divided.

What if I bought the pet before marriage?

In cases wherein one party purchased or adopted a pet before marriage, he or she is more likely to be granted full ownership of the pet by court as long as he or she holds no reasonable threat to the well-being of the pet. In such cases, the other party may not have any legal recourse apart from trying to prove that it is in the pet’s best interests to stay with him or her. Once again, a pre-nup would solve most of these problems without heading into any messy legal areas.

Can custody be established?

Although a court in California rarely establish or enforce pet custody, a couple can do so under their Marital Settlement Agreement. Through this, you can establish a custody and visitation schedule for your pet. The negotiation process and the terms of the settlement will often bind the parties to the agreement. This can be easily set up through your mediation process without needing to involve a court. A family court judge will sign off on the agreement as long as both of you are able to agree to 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.  

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.  

Credit Scores Can Be Affected By Child Support Payments

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law Firm, Inc.During divorce, there are many factors that can negatively affect an individual. Child support payments are serious matters and default payments can even land an individual in jail. But there is another problem that arises due to untimely child support payments. Credit scores are also affected. Timely payments can strengthen the credit score and irregular payments can have the opposite effect.

Child support payments are seen with the same importance as mortgage or vehicles by credit companies. Child support reports default payments to credit companies. The credit companies keep a track of individuals with defaults. Default payments have an effect on loans or interest rates.

Individuals who wish to know how the child support system works should consider looking at the specific rules and regulations in the respective states.  In some states, child support dues are reported only after a certain time whereas in other states the dues are reported as and when the default takes place.

How do late payments affect credit scores?

There are many reasons why parents miss out on child support payments. They could be between jobs or their income has been reduced or there could be some other reason. One of the things the parents can do during such situations is, inform the court and put a temporary pause on the child support obligation. In cases where the petitions are not filed or the parent fails to take the necessary steps, the missing payments start showing up on the credit scores. Parents who stop receiving child support can sue the other parent and if the former wins then the credit score becomes worse. Child support obligations are very important and its relation with the credit score can be a complex matter.

In any case, it better to hire a lawyer before things go out of hand. An attorney who is experienced in the field of child support obligations and credit scores can provide a better understanding on the matter.

Conclusion

Credit scores are important for getting loans or good interest rates and should therefore never have a negative result. Failure to pay for child support can negatively effect credit scores depending on how jurisdictions report such failures to pay. But there are ways to prevent negative scores and parents can follow necessary steps to ensure they don’t end up with a bad score.

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.  

3 Ways Small Business Owners Can Protect Business Assets In Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmDivorce is a stressful experience, especially when it involves the division of properties, assets and businesses. For some, it is even more painful because a business is about all they have and splitting the business in two can cause a lot of financial damage. Small business owners know how tough it is to operate a business when the economy is constantly changing. Include a divorce and the stress reaches to new levels. So, what should a business owner do at times like these? They can follow three easy steps to limit the impact to their business from divorce.

  1. Maintain an amicable relationship with your ex

Nothing like a good talk between spouses when it comes to splitting businesses and assets. That’s the first thing you should do when faced with a similar situation. If your spouse is a business partner with you, it becomes even more crucial why an amicable relationship is necessary. Focus more on the business part and less on personal matters. An honest talk with your spouse can have great benefits for your business.

  1. Make prenuptial and postnuptial agreements

A prenuptial agreement is not the best gift your future spouse might be expecting from your side but it is more of a gift for your own self. It’s always better to stay optimistic about marriage. Signing a prenuptial agreement will give you the upper hand in business ownership. California is a state that has community property laws which mean that every property bought after marriage is likely to be split equally between both partners. In such cases, a postnuptial agreement comes in handy. It helps determine what part of the business each of you should own after it gets divided.

  1. Form a corporation or a trust

One of the best ways to protect the company and business assets is by forming a corporation or a trust. It’s best to incorporate the trust before you get married. It gives you sole ownership over your business and during divorce proceedings it becomes easy for you to defend it against a division.

If you form your company as a corporation or an LLC, you create a legal entity that is separately owned by you. However, if you use marital assets to pay for company expenses, it may be used to claim the company as a marital property.

By following these 3 steps, you will be able to avoid or at least minimize the damage a divorce can bring to your small business.

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.  

Is Legal Separation Good For Your Marriage?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange county divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmThere are several occasions when a legal separation is good for a relationship since it reduces pressure while creating physical space. In fact, it can be quite helpful to support clear decision-making and support personal reflection. It also makes sense scientifically since the IQs of human beings drop when they are highly stressed out. Hence, if either one or both the parties are going through high stress for many years, it can be understood how a separation albeit temporary can increase clarity of mind.

In situations where a spouse has cheated on the other or when either or both the parties suffer from jealousy or a feeling of distrust, separation could aggravate the situation further. However, this situation is unique for every couple as some couples with a background of betrayal have come out stronger after their separation period.

Questions to ask yourself prior to deciding on a separation 

Check out the following questions to ask before making a decision to separate.

  • Why do you want to separate?
  • Do you have reasons to stay in the marriage and give it a try to make it work?
  • Are your reasons to stay in the marriage stems out of anything to do with the other party?
  • Do you want to continue with your marriage for the sake of your kids or you are worried about what people around you will think or due to certain moral obligations? You should take the space for a self-reflection on your wants and desires, which can prove quite beneficial for you.

The society may put immense cultural pressure on the benefits of living together under the same roof for the sake of the reputation, the couple’s kids and so on. So, you should be ready that your spouse could be closed to the idea at the beginning.

Is it good for the marriage to separate? 

Now that will depend on many factors. A big obstacle is when people allow their emotional stress and sense of urgency to have a strong grip on their actions and thoughts until they lose clarity of how to go ahead. You need to remember that all your emotions including the most disturbing ones will pass. There are times when the process of getting more clarity or gaining insight on the actions to be taken in a. marriage may take a longer time than one anticipates and it makes sense to wait and investigate.

Though it is difficult to believe, human beings have the ability to be resilient and that shows up even in tough situations such as divorce and separation. All family members including the kids have thoughts on how to arrive at a practical solution during a difficult time.

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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