5 Benefits of Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmSome people consider mediation fairly new, but it’s actually been around quite a while. The term mediation refers to an alternative dispute resolution process. It was first used by the ancient Greeks when there were difficult disputes between village members. The first recorded case of mediation occurred in 522 A.D. (or C.E.) When mediation became necessary, the two disputing villagers would turn to a village elder who would guide them to a resolution. The elder would lead them in a discussion ending in a solution they could both agree to uphold and then record the resolution so the parties could move forward peacefully.

Mediation and the mediation process has evolved since the time of the ancient Greeks, but it still aims for the same admirable goal: a mutually agreeable resolution. Today, mediation is used to resolve a wide range of issues from a simple dispute between neighbors to assisting world leaders in coming to agreements that would avoid war or other discord, but we see if used most often as a means of coming to a mutually agreeable resolution when two parties are getting divorced.

5 Benefits of Divorce Mediation:

  1. Mediation Puts the Children First: Divorce is hard. It’s hard on both parties involved. But it’s even harder on their children. They experience enormous stress about an uncertain future: worries about where they will live, feeling as if they are somehow at fault, being forced to be “in the middle” of a battle between parents. Every letter, phone call, text message, and demand sent back and forth between divorce attorneys can increase the adversarial nature of the divorce. Divorce mediation minimizes this negative aspect of divorce and can greatly reduce the amount of stress that the children involved need to handle.
  2. Mediation is Private and Confidential: Court is a public forum. Anyone can sit in the courtroom and watch the events unfold during your divorce case: friends, family, neighbors or strangers. When divorce is handled through the courts, it is a public show. Many greatly appreciate the fact that divorce mediation is not open to the public, but instead offers some privacy during a time of intense stress and personal upheaval.
  3. Mediation is Faster and More Efficient: The courts are busy. They have a lot of handle, not enough staff to handle it and an ever-increasing workload. Getting a court date to resolve issues related to your divorce could take up to a year in some cases. And that’s before you take into consideration that two different divorce attorneys need to be available and agree to meet on the specified date and time provided by the court. It is a scheduling nightmare. In some cases, getting divorced can end up taking years. Divorce mediation, on the other hand, offers the benefit of being much quicker and more efficient. This is not only beneficial, but vital in some cases as a long, drawn out battle in court simply may not be feasible.
  4. Mediation is Fair and Empowering: When taking your case to court, divorcing parents lose a lot of their power. The power is in the hands of the attorneys representing them and, in the end, the judge who hands down their final decree. With divorce mediation, parents are actively involved in creating the terms and are present during negotiations. They still hold the power in their hands.
  5. Mediation has a Higher Rate of Compliance: Possibly most beneficial in the long run, divorces handled through mediation typically experience higher rates of compliance. No one likes being told what to do. It could be as simple as that. When people are able to have a say in what is happening, they are more likely to accept it moving forward. This can avoid a lot of drama and stress (and potential expense) in the future as managing non-compliance after divorce can be even more contentious than going to court for a divorce in the first place.

If you want to hear more about the benefits of divorce mediation, get in touch with an experienced family law attorney at The Maggio Law Firm today so we can help you determine if divorce mediation is the best answer for you and your family.

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.  

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.  

Tips To Have Healthy Communication with Your Former Spouse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce attorney; The Maggio Law FirmDo you have children from your marriage to your former spouse!  If the answer is yes, then it is extremely important to maintain a civil and courthouse relationship with your former husband/wife. It is quite necessary that the parents hide their differences and work for their children’s welfare.  In case there is resentment within you or proper communication does not exist with your ex-spouse, you will not lose anything. Rather your kids can be impacted negatively.

There are several such studies that prove divorce does not damage the kids. Rather parents who are irrational after they part ways may damage their mental states. So, try not to be a parent like that. When you put efforts to creating a productive and dress relationship with the other parent, the healing process will be after getting both the involved parties and it will be easier for you and your children to move ahead in life. The following tips are useful to keep your negative emotions toward your former spouse at bay.

Define clear-cut boundaries and try to stick to them

You should communicate with one another properly and establish proper boundaries and scopes for the responsibilities you need to carry out in the lives of your kids.  Both of you need to understand that you should value your relationship with each other for your children’s sake and hold that relationship in high regard. When you define proper boundaries about your co-parenting relationships after the divorce to move forward, it will help in creating a positive atmosphere, which will help to alleviate the stress and tension of coping up with issues related to child custody and visitation

Consult a good therapist

Are you having a tough time while discussing crucial issues related to your kids? It is better to take guidance from a third and unbiased party in such scenarios. So do not hesitate to approach a therapist, a friend or a clergy who is close to both you and your spouse.  When your former spouse is not willing to be a part of it a therapy after the divorce, you should go ahead alone for it. The conflict between both of you can reduce when you learn new and important skills and know ways of responding to situations, which may trigger a conflict. You can learn how important it is when you do not engage in a conflict with your ex-spouse and how to control your emotions of you want to retaliate when provoked. It is important to forget your past so that things go smooth in the future.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated!  Click this link to 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.

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.  

 
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