What Role Does A Parent’s Income Play In Child Support?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child support attorney Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmDuring a divorce that involves children, one of the parent ends up having custody over the children while the other parent pays a certain amount as child support. It is important that parents earn a substantial amount of money each year for child support. Parents with low income have often found themselves losing child custody battles. In some cases, child custody has been awarded to a third party due to low income by both parents.

Calculating the amount for child support

It is very important that parents calculate the amount of child support they need to pay. Parents should first work out where and with whom the children will live. Once that is sorted out, both parents should decide on a certain amount that must be paid for child support. The parent who loses custody battle usually become the primary child support payer. It is usually the parent with the higher income.

To calculate the gross annual income, parents need to look at their income tax return and the amount that is given. It will give a fair idea of what each parent earns in a month. Additionally, they should contact the Department of Child Support Services to help them chalk out the best plan for child support if they want their county to help seek and enforce a child support order.

During a shared parenting arrangement where the child has lived with both parents equally for a year, the paying parent becomes one who earns more. The child must have spent at least 30% of his/her time with each parent before the parents can be termed as joint custody.

Split parenting can occur when there are more than two children involved and when each parent becomes the primary caretaker of each child. In such cases, it becomes the duty to each parent to contribute equally for child support. But that again it depends on the annual income of each parent.

There are many child support calculators available online and the best ones are DissoMaster and XSpouse.

Conclusion

Parental income is very important for child support decisions because it determines how much each parent should pay for supporting their child. A child support calculator considers important factors like annual salary and expenses and determines the exact amount for each parent.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

What To Know About A 4-Way Divorce Settlement Conference

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmIn divorce cases, the parties and their counsel can arrange and meet to do a ‘four-way informal settlement conference.’ Here’s what you should know about how these settlement conferences work during divorce, and what to avoid during the process to get the most out of such meetings.

Use your commitment to get results

A four way meeting involves four parties during the divorce, typically you and your divorce attorney, and your spouse and his divorce attorney. Going into such a meeting during the divorce process, it is important to keep an open mind and be willing to listen. If you have decided to take the route of divorce to work through your differences on things like division of financial assets and custody of the children, then a four way meeting is an important milestone.

Prepare!

Don’t go into a four way meeting unprepared, that is the single worst thing you can do for your case. Have all the information related to finances, work schedules, assets to be divided, custody or whatever else relates even remotely to the details you hope to discuss in the four way meeting. Have your set of goals in mind and be clear on what you want out of this meeting. Come with alternatives and your ‘next best’ option if you aren’t making headway with getting to your ideal outcome.

Speak up

This is a unique opportunity for you to sit across the table from your ex and work through your differences to a level where you are able to arrive at some kind of arrangement that you can both live with. Because both attorneys are also present, you can go over legal aspects and whether the solutions will hold in court. Unlike a regular divorce mediation meeting, a four way meeting may not involve a mediator, so you will not be ‘given’ a chance to speak, you will have to take it.

Be realistic

Don’t expect miracles in just one four way meeting. See it as a stepping stone to your ultimate goal of working out a mutually agreeable divorce settlement through the course of the divorce process. You may discuss only some aspects in this meeting, and deal with others later or through your attorneys.

Don’t show your weakness

Avoid getting too emotionally charged up, this will show your hand to your ex and give them a window to what matters most. If they’re bitter or vindictive, they could use your weakness to do you out of some other financial assets, by using this weakness as leverage.

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.

OCCourts.org – A Guide to Your Orange County Divorce Case Online

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmOnce an Orange County divorce case has been filed and you have case number, the parties and their attorneys can access their case online.  Www.occourts.org is the website you can go to for information on your case. This website highlights your case information such as status of your case in the court, anything and everything that has been filed in your Orange County divorce case, a detailed list of all the hearings that have happened and the parties and attorneys in the case.  It will also highlight the date set for the next hearing.

Interesting Facts about the Website

  • While the document list is there for you to view, you cannot view the original document. For that a trip to the court is necessary or you can order any documents from the case online and pay the processing fee by credit card.
  • Mistakes can sometimes happen and if you think there has been a mistake make sure you call up your Orange County divorce lawyer to confirm.
  • The website, despite being updated regularly, is not always up-to-the-minute accurate. There is often a delay in between receiving, scanning and getting the information posted online.

A Few Key Features

  • The case can be searched on the website using the name of case or its number. A name search will also require to enter a code to notify the system that not a computer spammer.
  • The initial screen of the case will highlight you the status of the case, the date of filing and the number of the case.
  • There are a number of different tabs on this screen and one that says “Register of Actions” tab will be the one that gives you a lowdown on what has been filed in your case up until this point. Whatever you may feel you miss here can be gotten by you through the family law clerk’s office.
  • Another section known as the participants will tell you the people involved in fighting the case. This will usually lay down you, your spouse and your lawyers.
  • There is also the hearings section to keep you updated on the dates that you need to be present in court on and the dates that have already gone by.
  • If you are interested in any document filed in your Orange County divorce case, the use of the shopping cart section will allow you to order it home. Of course the document you get will be a copy. The turnaround time is typically 3-5 days.

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.  

Life Insurance Considerations & Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmMore and more people are getting life insurance these days, and that’s a good thing. Yet there are very few people who understand the intricacies of this in connection with divorce.

Here is a list of a few “life insurance” considerations before you get into a divorce proceeding and what you need to consider if life insurance coverage is needed in the divorce agreement.

·        The Insured Spouse Should Go Through Any Underwriting Process Before They Sign the Settlement Agreement if Possible

If there is chance of the coverage not being available to the spouse as a result of health issues or if the premium is prohibitively expensive, the settlement needs to have other provisions included that ensure protection against a premature death. Some of these measures that can be used in an Orange County divorce settlement are trusts and other planning tools for estate.  If you and your spouse don’t have coverage as of now, it is best that any coverage you apply for is based on a rate and policy comparison for your situation.

·        You Shouldn’t Name Your Minor Children AsBeneficiaries, Even Via a Custodian

This is one of the most common errors made by parents going through an Orange county divorce. The reason for this mistake can either be a lack of knowledge or contemplation. Any payments made with such a designation of beneficiary will go straight into the UGMA account if the child has not yet reached an age of maturity. Even if you don’t list a beneficiary the court will be quick to appoint one. While this may not be problem per se, it can be when the child will have complete control to the account once they mature, which will usually happen once they are 18.

·        The Beneficiary Can Receive Notices for Premiums

The ownership of the insurance or who makes the payment does not matter. Irrespective of these intricacies, the beneficiary needs to be notified of about the status of the policy, which is also known as the proof of insurance. The insurance company is obliged to provide the beneficiary with a prior notice before the policy can lapse on non-payment giving them enough time to take appropriate action.

The Dilemma of Stay-at-Home Moms After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Child custody attorneys Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmPost divorce, stay-at-home moms, or ex-housewives in other words, face the dilemma of whether to get a job or not. This can cause high levels of anxiety and stress developing in them. The primary reason for this is that most of the moms, even those that had been employed pre marriage, would have been out of the game so to speak for too long. This makes them initially dependent on their husbands for financial support.

In this blog, we will talk about the impact of getting a job on the care and well-being of their children and on the support payments that they are receiving.

The Challenge of Balancing Children and Work

Raising a child can be a fulfilling but tiring experience. Balance that with holding a job for person who has been out of employment for a long time and it becomes an uphill challenge at the very least.

In today’s world, a college degree has become a norm and people are applying for jobs they are over-qualified for, just to make sure they are employed. In this situation, what are the odds that a stay at home mom who have undergone an Orange County divorce will be able to carve out a job?

Yet most of this largely comes down to a few factors. These factors determine if a mother that has gone through an Orange County divorce can and should get a job.

·         The Age of the Children and the Number of the Children

The more the children a mother has to care for and the younger they are, the harder the chances of her being able to simultaneous work, depending on the custodial schedule.  Another consideration is what is the point of getting a low wage job just to pay most of the amount you earn back to the day care provider.

This issue is more relevant for moms that are in their 40’s or less and the father of the children has been the primary breadwinner in the family. Hence when they decided to go for an Orange County divorce, it was decided that the mother would care for the children staying at home, while the dad would pay their expenses and needs.

What moms need to understand is that in the California and Orange County family law courts must consider the best interest of the child, so the age and number of children are certainly part of that consideration.  However, pursuant to California Family Code 3900, both the parents of the child have a responsibility to support their children.  Therefore, although the court will likely not force a stay-at-home parent to work at the first stages of a divorce case, at some point that parent will likely be held to make reasonable efforts to find employment and not leave the entire burden of supporting the child on the other parent.  The subissues here are many and so it is advisable to seek legal advice concerning such issues.

How Divorce Mediation Is Different From Collaborative Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmHow is divorce mediation different from collaborative divorce? This is one of the most commonly asked questions in recent times coming from people trying to decide which method to choose. A larger proportion of people who tend to ask this question are spouses trying to end their domestic partnerships. Mediation and collaborative practice are vast areas of conflict resolution that involve domestic as well as commercial areas of practice such as estate, probate, etc. Yet in this article we are going to talk about it in the context of domestic relations, more specifically, divorce.

Mediation

Orange County divorce mediation is a process where the decision of the mediation is taken by the spouses themselves based on their understanding, view points, and choices. The couples tend to consider the situation at hand, and the perspective of each other in deciding such matters through divorce mediation. Is Collaborative practice the same?

Generally in divorce mediation, the process is carried out in the presence of three people in a room. The three people are the divorce mediator and the two spouses. The procedure is done between the two spouses with the mediator simply there to make sure the process is carried along in the correct direction. Divorce mediation is particularly helpful for people who are clear about their situation, their demands, and the concessions that they are ready to make. The people that take part in divorce mediation are often people who need little or no assistance from elsewhere to reach a sensible conclusion.

Mediation allows the spouses/parties a better chance to influence the resolution and the outcome. The most important person in the mediation after the two parties is the divorce mediator. The sole role of the mediator as mentioned above is to lubricate the process and to try and keep it heading into the correct direction. The role of the mediator is to manage and control the flow of the communication and discussions between the two spouses and to give them a little nudge here and there to keep them going in the right direction.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce, similar to mediation, is a voluntary process, but the primary difference is the presence of lawyers in the process and the limitation on the lawyers of not being involved in the litigation of the claim. In collaborative divorce, the lawyers are not in aid of one party, but look to understand the general perspectives of both the parties involved. Unlike mediation, collaboration is controlled by a collaborative team that contains psychological and financial experts as well as lawyers.

People who seek more support in presenting their case in terms of their Orange County divorce choose this process over litigation and divorce mediation. The collaborative team has a greater influence on the final result as compared to divorce mediators.  However, the cost of collaborative divorce can be significantly more than divorce mediation because the collaborative team each have their own fees to be paid versus one mediator.

What Happens In My California Divorce Case After The Divorce Is Filed And My Spouse Has Been Served? (PODCAST)

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top family lawyers Orange County; The Maggio Law Firm

Welcome to The Maggio Law Firm’s PODCAST addressing what happens in a California divorce case after the initial divorce paperwork has been filed and the other spouse has been served with the paperwork.

Common Questions Asked About Child Support

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law Firm, Inc.If you are divorced or going through a divorce, the topic near at the top of the agenda is going to be child support, unless of course you don’t have children.  The issue of child support is complicated when some partners are unwilling to pay. In certain circumstances, the partner with primary custody of the children might not know their full rights concerning child support. Here is a list of answers to questions clarifying when the partner is entitled for child support:

1.     “I am pregnant and getting divorced, am I eligible for child support?”

It’s rare for pregnant women to separate from their spouse, but it does happen.  File for child support as soon after the child’s birth as possible.  Your spouse is also liable to pay one-half of the child’s medical expenses not covered or reimbursed by insurance.

2.     “I was married for a short time, but found out I was pregnant, now he’s says the baby isn’t his, but I know it is, so can I make him pay child support?

If a man is married and his wife has a child during marriage, he is legally presumed to be the father unless proven otherwise.  If your spouse declines to pay child support or tells you that the baby isn’t his, the only way for him to fight that legal presumption is to seek a genetic DNA test to prove parentage.  If the DNA matches with your child, the legal presumption is confirmed as fact.  However, if there is no DNA match, the husband has legal ground to fight against paying for child support.

3.     We share the custody of our kids and are separated, not divorced, but my partner’s name is not on the birth certificate nor is there a court order in place. Can I still file for child support?

If your partner and you have a mutual understanding to share custody of the kids, that’s great, but in order for your partner to pay child support, you need to file for it. The better option is to go to a divorce mediator to make a settlement agreement, which includes child support. The mediator can also tell you about the state’s laws regarding the payments.

Top 3 Considerations For Avoiding Tax Problems In Your Divorce Settlement

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmNo one wants any problems with the IRS as a result of their divorce!  In any divorce case, there are tax issues both during and after divorce that need to be considered and addressed.  Divorce is anguishing enough, and dealing with a tax problem thereafter is even worse.  Here is some information and tips on what to consider as part of your divorce in relation to taxes:

  1. Division of Property

Generally, for property transfer between divorcing parties as part of a divorce settlement, there is no tax implication.  That can include transfer of ownership of real property.

However, there can be tax implications when an asset like a retirement account is split.  For example, to divide a 401(k) plan, you cannot simply withdraw funds from the plan without penalties and taxes.  Therefore, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order is often required to divide such plans by a rollover IRA to the other spouse to avoid taxes.

  1. Income Tax Filing Status

If a couple is separated and going through a divorce but have not finalized the divorce, they can generally file as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.” However, if one of the parties is not willing to file jointly under these circumstances, that party cannot be forced to do so.  Only a tax professional can truly determine what filing status makes the most sense for the parties.

The timing of entry of the divorce judgment also determines how a divorcing couple can file their taxes.  If the divorce judgment is filed and entered prior to the end of the year, that judgment terminates marital status and that means the parties cannot file jointly or “married filing separately.”  So it sometimes makes sense to wait to file the divorce judgment until after January 1st if the parties wish to file jointly.

After the divorce judgment has been filed, generally the divorced parties will each file as “single” or “head of household” filing status.  It is important to know that pursuant to the IRS Code, a parent that has over 50% physical custody of a child is entitled to file as “head of household” and the other parent cannot.  Even if the other parent has 49.9% physical custody, they are not entitled to file as “head of household.”  The parent with over 50% custody is generally also entitled to claim the child as a tax exemption too.

  1. Child and Spousal Support

There are 2 simple rules regarding the deductibility of child and spousal support payments are as follows:

  • Child support is not tax-deductible to the person paying the support, and does not have to be claimed as “income” by the receiving party.
  • Spousal support (a.k.a. “alimony”) is tax-deductible to the person paying the support, much like mortgage interest.  For the divorced party receiving spousal support, that party has to claim such spousal support payments on their income tax returns and will be taxed on those payments, so that party should pay accordingly and adjust their tax payments during the year pursuant to the recommendations of their tax professional.

The tax issues related to divorce can be complex, and it is highly advisable that divorcing parties consult with an experienced tax professional both during their divorce and when working towards a final divorce judgment that will include a division of property, support orders, and so on.  The more information available to parties enables for a more carefully-negotiated divorce settlement that avoids tax pitfalls.

For further information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce attorney Gerald Maggio of The Maggio Law Firm, please call (949) 553-0304 or visit www.maggiolawfirm.com.  The Maggio Law Firm is an experienced divorce and family law firm serving the Orange County and Riverside areas and neighboring counties, serving clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, spousal support, child support and child custody issues.

 
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.