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.


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.  

Child Custody For Parents With History Of Substance Abuse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmOne of the important grounds on which parents can lose custody battles is having a history of substance abuse. Parents who struggle with substance abuse often have a strained relationship with their children and it plays a major part in family court proceedings.  If a court finds a parent guilty of alcohol or drug abuse, it can affect custody.  In serious cases, Child  Protective Services (CPS) can also intervene and remove the children from the addict parent. In some cases, the parents are arrested and charged with child neglect.

Effect on custody

During a divorce proceeding, the California courts will determine different types of custody for the parents. The list includes physical, legal and joint custody. A parent who has had a history of drug abuse may find it difficult to win custody battles. If the court finds that the parent has done rehab and has stayed away from drugs for a long time, it may grant custody of the children to such a parent. If the parent is still involved in substance abuse, the court takes away the parents right over the children.

Custody disputes

California courts generally want parents to create custody agreements either on their own or through mediators. If parents are unable to come up with a custody agreement, the court steps in to resolve the matter. The very first thing that the court will look at before drawing a custody agreement is the welfare of the child. If the court finds that the children are not comfortable living with their parents, it will look into the family history of each parent. Special emphasis is put on sexual assault and drug abuse. If the court finds evidence of drug abuse in the family, it will consider it as part of custody dispute.

Effect on visitation

Parents who stay under the influence of alcohol and drugs may find it difficult to spend time with their children. Visiting hours are usually a common thing in custody and most parents are granted a certain amount of time that they can spend with their children. The court won’t usually grant visitation hours to parents with substance abuse history and even if it does, it will be a supervised visit.

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.  

Top Divorce Survival Tips To Follow

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmThe decision to go for a divorce is not an easy one even though the couple or a spouse has contemplated the pros and cons of it for many days before making a decision. Emotions like fear, uncertainty, distress, anger are very common when the divorce is filed or it has been finalized. A divorce may take a toll on the husband or the wife’s self-esteem too. Here are some important divorce survival tips to survive the divorce process and be able to start life fresh once again.

There is hardly anyone who is ready for a divorce

Divorce is not an easy affair at all both legally as well as emotionally. In case you feel uninformed, intimidated and baffled, you need to understand that you are not the only one to go through this roller coaster ride of emotional after all there is rarely anyone who is prepared for a divorce. The exception to this is perhaps the therapists and the divorce lawyers who work with couples on the verge of getting divorced.

The good news for you is that that there will be no dearth of helpful information and useful advice that are easily available on the net and the community where you live. However, before listening to such advice and suggestions, it is imperative to ask yourself about what should be your first step. Do not worry about what others are advising you to do first. Rather, try to figure out that knowing and intuitive voice telling you what should be your next step all about.

Do not neglect your body

Though this may sound cliché and quite obvious, many people try to overlook their fundamental requirements while they are under stress.  These basic needs include decent hours of sleep, regular exercise, healthy and balanced food. When you are physically well, it lays down the foundation for your emotional and mental well-being. Hence, male sensible decisions for your well-being in the coming months and says.

You need not give explanations to anybody

Just remember that you are not answerable to anyone and everyone’s when you start telling people around you about your divorce, they may ask you “why” so.  But most of the times, these people for not ask such questions because they are worried about your well-being. Rather they do it out of curiosity and to get more information. Another reason could be that such people are apprehensive about their own marriages. That is the reason why they want to compare their experiences versus yours.

Self-assurance is crucial

There are different kinds of losses associated with a divorce. It could be the end of a dream, a particular kind of a lifestyle, a home and a marriage. There could be loads of uncertainties and insecurities with respect to your child custody, living arrangements, and finances in the future but whenever you feel down and insecure, you need to assure yourself that you have everything you need.

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 A Default Judgment With & Without An Agreement

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmWhen an individual files a petition for a divorce and sends out the summons to the other party, either the former receives, or does not receive a response for the divorce action. If in the case that your partner does not file a response for your divorce action, the case is then termed as a default. A default case can further be subdivided into two broad categories namely a default with agreement and a default without agreement.

Default with agreement

Now the first category referred to as the default with agreement is the situation wherein your spouse or domestic partner does not file for a response to your divorce petition, but both of you have a mutually agreed upon written agreement that stipulates a set of instructions regarding the division of your debts and property and other child related issues such as custody visitation and support. It also implies that the couple will be indulging in all the legal formalities and paperwork, without having to pay a filing fee. A major advantage of this type of case is that both your partner and you will be in agreement with the various aspects of a divorce and will have minimum conflicts. The court will not be getting involved into any matter regarding the distribution of your property and debts, and will stick to the terms stipulated in your agreement. 

Default without agreement

The default without agreement, often referred to as a true default case occurs in a situation wherein, neither your spouse responds to your divorce petition, nor you two have any written agreement for property division and custody related issues. In such a scenario, the court of law has the last word in deciding upon your property distribution. The court will order an equal division of all marital assets or community property and debts acquired by the couple within the duration of their marriage. In such a situation the divorcing parties do not have any say regarding the division and distribution of property and debts.  There are several cases, wherein there are major disagreements regarding the fairness of such a division ordered by the court. For example, if a working spouse wishes to keep the community pension and the other partner too agrees upon it, the couple cannot get their request enforced in a court of law, since the law still requires them to split the pension in two halves.

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 For Filing For A Divorce Without The Consent Of Your Spouse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce attorneys Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmNot quite a long time ago, a divorce could be granted to a couple only if both the parties mutually consented to it. Usually, this led to a lot of conflicts between the parties involved and also caused an undue delay in achieving a final resolution. However, with the transforming lifestyle patterns of a more independent society, the state law of California has changed its outlook towards divorce litigation within the state. As per the present family laws, a lack of consent of other spouse is not considered as a ground for not granting a divorce to the applicant. However, there are certain steps that need to be followed in order to achieve a favorable verdict in such a one-sided divorce.

The No-Fault divorce in California 

California is a ‘no fault’ divorce state, which implies that a spouse filing for a divorce is not obliged to provide an evidence of a wrongdoing of the other partner as a basis for the petition. Instead of playing the blame game, the individuals in California can be granted a divorce purely on the basis of citing an ‘irreparable breakdown of the marriage’ or ‘irreconcilable difference’ between the couple. So if you are looking for a divorce without the consent of your partner, you can still file a petition for a no fault divorce that leaves no room for your spouse to contest you on the grounds for the divorce. 

Serving the legal documents to the other party 

The second step you need to take is serving your partner with the divorce action documents by means of a registered process server, a sheriff’s service or through certified mail. Your spouse is not allowed to cause undue delay to the divorce proceeding by deliberately avoiding the service. Contrary to the popular belief, your spouse cannot refuse to accept the divorce documents when presented to him by the other party. In the event that your spouse intentionally avoids the service by refusing to accept the documents, he will still be considered served. If your spouse cannot be located, the court of law may order for a service by publication in the local area newspaper.

Waiting for your spouse’s response 

Now that you have stated your intent to divorce your spouse through one of the several methods, you need to wait for him or her to respond to your divorce action within the statutory time duration. If in case your spouse doesn’t respond to your actions at all, or responds and refuses to consent to the divorce, you can still proceed with the litigation in the court of law on the basis of ‘no fault’.

If your spouse has refused to consent for a divorce, you may consult a professional divorce attorney for sound legal advice on how to proceed with the litigation thereon.

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 Your Divorce Getting In The Way Of You Being A Good Parent?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmThe emotional turmoil and conflicts, arising from a divorce, might leave an individual drained out of any reasoning or rationale. However, if you are a couple with kids, and are deciding upon a legal separation, you might want to rethink your entire approach, during and after your divorce. You might not realize, but your kids have been exposed to a higher degree of trauma, than both of you together. Your kid is at a tender age, and still under the process of physical as well as mental development. It is your responsibility to distinguish your personal conflicts with your spouse, for the best interests of your child, and make your divorce a calm and conducive transition for him.

Despite the fact that most of the adults are well aware of their parental responsibilities, yet they end up making grave mistakes that leave their child scarred for life. We are listing a few heedless mistakes on your part, which might be getting in the way of you being a good parent, during and after your divorce. 

Making your child the messenger 

There are several parents out there who use their kids as a medium to communicate with their partner during and after a divorce. However, this is an extremely harmful practice that might expose your kid to undue distress, and have a detrimental effect on their mental health. There are hundreds of media nowadays that can be used to make a connection with your partner. You might want to spare your kid the horror of being involved in frivolous arguments and violent discussions.

Trying to criticize the acts of your ex 

You need to understand that your kid belongs to your ex as much as he belongs to you. Criticizing your ex, or calling them names, might end up harboring unwarranted confusions and negativity in the tender mind of your child. Let your child speak if he has something to say. There are a lot of individuals who are bent upon tarnishing the image of their spouse in the eyes of their kids. The act of disparaging your kid’s other parent will make him feel demeaned too.

And last but not the least, there are several of us who tend to share intricate details of the marital issues and conflicts with our older children, in a bid to get their approval. However, you need to acknowledge the fact, that a divorce was your decision, and your child does not have to witness the ugly truth about life just yet.

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.

Factors Associated With A Higher Risk Of Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmThe concept of divorce has been prevalent in the society for as long as the tradition of marriage. Nearly half of the marriages, ending in a divorce or a separation of some kind, make them akin to a gamble. However, that does not imply that we should give up on our belief in this sacred institution. If we are aware of the factors that might lead our marriage to a divorce, we might just be able to avoid it.

The declining importance of marriage in today’s society

We are living in an age where we have become used to of disposing off the things that do not work anymore. We have begun treating our relationships in a similar fashion. People today are always looking for a quick fix for their problems. If these problems happen to be arising from a relationship with our spouse, we are willing to dispose them off from our lives too. The value of nuptial vows has long gone down the drain. If there are issues within wedlock, people are more prone to discarding their marriage and moving on to the next one, rather than rolling up their sleeves and working towards a solution.

Divorce of a parent

Studies indicate that if your parents ended up divorced, you might be at a higher risk of divorcing your spouse too. The psychology and upbringing of a single-parent child is often held accountable for this behavioral trait in him. If at a tender age, you witnessed the endless fights of your parents, which eventually lead to a separation, you might grow up fearful and insecure of the longevity of your own marital bond.

People are unwilling to be at the losing side of a fight

With the growing independence of both men and women in today’s world, it is becoming more and more difficult to settle marital differences and disagreements, peacefully. People are unable to understand that they cannot dominate all the situations in life. There will be times when, either of the parties will have to give up the control to their better half and not crib about it. However, most us nowadays are lead by the ‘my way or the highway’ ideology, and are hesitant to yield control of a situation to our spouse.

The increasing divorce rates indicate a loss of basic trust and compromise in the marriages of today. However, with a little work and support of both the parties, the marital bond could be made to last forever.

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.


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.

Top Ways To Schedule Vacations With Kids After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmLike holiday schedules, planning for vacations with children after separation/divorce can be a daunting task.  Not only do parties have to consider where to vacation, they have to consider what their children may want to do and also be reasonable with the other parent who will want to take their own vacation with the children on another occasion.  Here are some things to keep in mind when scheduling a vacation:

  1. Each parent should give the other parent as much advanced notice as possible of any vacation plans.  Give written notice and include your destination, dates, and phone numbers of where you and your child can be reached at all times.
  2. Allow your children to call the other parent whenever they wish.  This will help with their sense of continuity and security when they are further away from the other parent than normal.
  3. If the child is in town during a lengthy vacation time, be flexible by allowing the other parent weekend or mid-week contact with them.
  4. Keep your child’s extracurricular activities in mind when planning vacations.
  5. Keep your child’s age in mind.  Adolescents or teenagers might want to have a say in their vacation time and may want to make plans with friends or schedule their own activities.
  6. Both parents must have the child’s school and extracurricular activity schedules available to make plans accordingly.  Some parents simply continue the normal schedules during the child’s vacation, while others plan a different schedule that will work better for the child during their vacations.

In addition, there are ways to share the children’s school vacation time, as such:


  1. While the child is off-track, parents can alternate weeks of custodial responsibility with the exchange occurring the same night every week.
  2. While the child is on summer vacation, the parents reverse the custodial plan so that the child resides primarily in the home of the parent they had less time with during the school year.
  3. For the majority of the child’s summer vacation the normal routine is followed, except the parents agree on a set period of uninterrupted time with the child so that they can each take a vacation with the child.

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.

Handling Substance Abuse In Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm Most people, not being able to handle a stressful situation, look for ways to forget about the things that have been troubling them. This usually leads them to alcohol and drugs which, despite being only a temporary refuge, cause them enough relief for a few moments to want to try them again and again. Before they’re even aware of it, they’re addicted to the feelings of relaxation that these things can bring. Thus starts a downward spiral towards alcohol and substance abuse and further depression.

Dealing with the pressure

Divorce – being one of the most stressful things that can happen to anyone in life – often leads to alcoholism. Change is never easy, but when it comes to ending a relationship, even after having taken vows to remain by each others’ sides forever, the pressure is too much for most people to handle. Marriages that lasted for many years, with children being a part of the equation, are decidedly more difficult to break off. In a lot of cases, the person involved has been exhibiting a trend of resorting to drugs or alcohol, even before things went downhill in his or her marriage. The condition of these people is likely to deteriorate even faster, as compared to someone who doesn’t have a prior history. It can lead to violence, and more often than not, it affects a lot of other people other than the ones involved directly.

Prior to an intervention

Before an intervention, consultations should be made with a substance abuse specialist in order to find out whether it is even necessary. Depending on the extent of abuse, lawyers should be contacted, in order to discuss any legal options. Weather it is about the person’s own drug issues or for his/her spouse, a lawyer may be able to suggest specialized treatment programs that are handled by courts. If treatment is being offered to the spouse, then an emergency hearing to talk about assets and child custody might have to be requested.

In order to request for drug tests, evidence of the spouse’s health condition will need to be presented to the court. Sometimes, the person requesting for the drug test may have to go through one as well, and also pay for both the tests. The policies may vary in different states, therefore it is always advisable to discuss with a lawyer and be completely aware of them before trying to present a case.

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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