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.

Top Questions To Ask Before Hiring An Orange County Divorce Lawyer

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

best divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmAre going through a divorce proceeding and are looking frantically for a good divorce lawyer? It is important to note that you generally should avoid hiring the first attorney you got in touch with. Selecting the right divorce lawyer to help you in getting a speedy divorce should be a crucial divorce-related decision, which you need to make.

Be cautious

It is possible that a close acquaintance has sent you a referral to a family law attorney but you should still need to do a bit of homework before saying yes. It is important to check the qualifications of the attorney and ensure that the person concerned has adequate experience in handling your case. There is no dearth of lawyers in the market and you will find that many of them market themselves as “divorce” or “family law” attorneys.

Questions to ask

Here are some questions you could contemplate asking a family law attorney during your first interview with him or her. All these questions will help you to ascertain if the said lawyer is apt for your divorce case or not.

  1. Is divorce part of the lawyer’s practice? How long has he been associated with practicing family law? Is he a family law specialist? Is he aware of the total number of family cases handled by him?
  2. How will launch time it approximately take to resolve your case? Will there be any specific strategy for speedy resolution of your case?
  3. How will you contact him or her in the event of an emergency? How much time does he normally take to return the clients’ phone calls? What are the events he or she regards as an emergency situation?
  4. Will there be anyone else in his or her chamber who will be also working on your case? If yes, can you meet them? What is the kind of experience they hold?
  5. What is his hourly rate? How will he or she charge you? What is his or her retainer up front? Will he charge for the time you spend with some other lawyers or with the secretaries?
  6. What costs does he or she expect to incur apart their own legal fees? For instance, the costs could be incurred for psychologists, physicians, forensic accountants and private investigators. How does he plan to charge you for such costs?
  7. What does he feel about the estimated total cost of your divorced? You should be prepared as most of the times, a divorce law attorney will be unwilling to respond to this query since the divorce cost could depend on a great extent on the level and complexity of your individual case. But, the manner in which the said lawyer replies to this query of yours will help you to know what they are expecting? An attorney who is honest may usually respond by saying that it is tough to estimate the total expenses in advance. On the other hand, a lawyer who quotes too low an amount could be just making an attempt to get a business
  8. Will the lawyer permit you to do a direct negotiation with your estranged spouse? What are the ways of keeping your divorce cost down? Can you do any such tasks that will lead to the reduction of his or her fees?

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.  

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.

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.

 
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