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.

Getting Temporary Family Law Orders In Orange County

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmDivorce is an act of legal separation that happens when couples are unable to live happily with each other. There are many reasons for an Orange County divorce to take place. The reasons can range from a lack of compatibility to unfaithfulness etc. Irrespective of the reasoning though, when couples decide to call it quits in their relationship, they seek help from the Orange County family law court. Divorce cases in family law courts can be emotionally charged with each of the couple wanting to get the best decision in their favor.

There are many tools in the California family law legal system that can be used by couples to make sure that the case is going on smoothly and that they are able to get exactly what they want. One such tool that has been used by divorcing parties is the temporary order. Temporary orders are orders where the spouses want the court to rule on matters of importance temporarily until they settle the entire case or go to trial.

How Do You Get Temporary Orders?

The request by parties to be granted temporary orders in their favor is made by filing a Request for Order with the Orange County Family Law court at the Lamoreaux Justice Center, in Orange, California.  A Request for Order (RFO) is simply put a request put forward by the spouses for the court to make certain orders in their case.

The Process of Bringing a Request for Order

For a Request for Order process to start, both parties need to file papers in the courts that highlight issues that the judge will need to pass a temporary order on and their sides of the case and the order that they believe should be ordered, and the court will schedule a hearing date for the RFO.

At the day that the actual RFO hearing is scheduled, the divorce lawyers from both sides will generally present testimony to the court and highlighting the law and make the legal arguments that they believe applies to their case for them to get a temporary order in their favor.

When it comes to the actual hearing, the burden of proof of proving his or her claim to the court is entirely on the person filing the RFO.

Types Of Temporary Orders

While the family law court can hear a number of issues, there are generally only a few matters that they will make temporary orders for. Here is a list of a few of them:

How to Handle the Low-Earning Spouse’s Narcissist Behavior in Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmPreviously, we have written about the narcissistic spouse in a relationship and the problems they may create for the other spouse. In the context of this article, let us revisit the definition of a narcissist. A narcissist is someone who loves himself (or herself) more than anyone or anything else in the world. These types of people continue to live in a world of fantasy, a world that revolves around them. Yet, when you get involved in a divorce with such a spouse, there are likely to be complications in the case.

This article is focused on helping the high earning spouse deal with a narcissistic low-earning spouse and how they are likely to drive up the costs of the litigation and create hurdles in the process.

Using the Children as Leverage

Orange County divorce cases can become territorial and contentious when children are involved. One of the worst maneuvers that narcissistic low earning spouses can make is to try and use the children as leverage. There is a variety of reasons why these parents retort to such means. The use of the children is simply to hurt the other spouse. This tactic can be completed through a number of steps such as interfering with the other spouses, custodial rights, not allowing adequate visitation times, and even retorting to false accusations.

In case where high earning spouses face such tactics, it is strongly advised that they use contempt of court proceedings to enforce their rights. Contempt of court proceedings will also make sure that the narcissist parent will have to face court penalties for their erratic behavior.

Conditioning of the Children, Alienation and False Allegations

Narcissist parents try to exert undue influence on the minds of the child to try and keep them from their higher earning spouses. This tactic, if found, is likely to result in severe punishments by the courts. One of the first things a spouse who is facing such a narcissist parent at the other end should do is request for custody and visitation modification. The courts are unlikely to allow a parent who is involved in such misconduct to keep the custody of the child under the rules of deciding on the child’s best interest.

The Attorney Fee and Sanctions Motion

Perplexed by the fact that your spouse who is a low earner cannot afford these orders? It is important for you to understand, however, that the Orange County family law court does not limit the attorney fee awards. The only thing the courts are likely to look at in this regards is whether the parent being fined has community property or some kind of equity or not. If that is the case, the court will assume that the party in violation is able to pay such costs and will likely order it against the party that has been proven to cause unnecessary delays.

The 7 Step Divorce Process In California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law Firm, Inc.Are you a husband or a wife that has been married for two years or 22 years and have reached a place in your relationship where you cannot see the two of you existing together as a couple?  When one is looking to take a decision with regards to divorce, there can be a whole lot of apprehension, confusion, and uncertainty about the process of California divorce and their own future.

Here is an explanation of the California divorce process to help ease some of the uncertainty.

Step 1: The Period of Separation

The first step in the seven-step process of California is the period of separation. This step deals with the question of whether moving out of the house or staying put. It is important with regards to this step to point out that if you are the spouse who is likely to be on the receiving end of spousal/child support, you should leave the house only after clarity of issues such as finances and custody, etc. is resolved.

Step 2: Filing and Service

Formally, the divorce process in California starts from here. Either of the spouses that want to initiate the divorce proceedings needs to file the divorce petition in court. When you are filing in the Petition it is important to be careful with regards to the information being put in it and its factual accuracy. Once the Petition is filed, the court then assigns the number of the case which is then used in future correspondences.

Step 3: The Financial Disclosures

This is an important step in the divorce process. California family law courts require both of the spouses to be clear and open with the courts in terms of their financial positions. Disclosure usually includes the couples disclosing their own income, debts, expenses, and assets.

Step 4: Temporary Orders

The use of temporary orders is widespread in California divorce proceedings. Temporary orders are orders passed by the judge at the initial stage of the case. These orders will often be enforceable until the final judgment of the court isn’t given. The most common types of Temporary orders include:

  • Spousal Support Orders
  • Orders for Child Support
  • Orders for visitation and custody of the child
  • Orders regarding property and assets.

Step 5: The Process of Discovery

The discovery process is an optional process that courts can order on their discretion or the request of one of the spouse to obtain greater information with regards to any subject of the spouse or the relationship of the couples. The information for this method is likely to be gathered through direct questioning and providing of documents etc.

Step 6: Negotiations for Settlements

This is one of the final steps of the process. Settlement negotiations are when the spouses or their lawyers sit down to discuss the matters that they can conclude the divorce and agree on mutually acceptable answers to child custody, alimony payments, and division of assets and finances. The best negotiations of this kind tend to occur once the spouses are fully informed and try to keep emotions out of the negotiation process.

Step 7: Trial

If and when the settlement stage proves unsuccessful, the spouses come to the family law courts and put their arguments before the judge in the form of a trial. Trials are often one of the most emotionally-charged instances in a person’s life.

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.

Family, Friends, Or Your Divorce Lawyer – Who Should You Listen To?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce attorney; The Maggio Law FirmPeople tend to react differently to problems at different moments of time. This phenomenon is a universal observation. To make this concept easier, let’s look at an example. A child, whenever he or she feels insecure or in need of help and advice, tends to go to the parents. As children grow, so does their social circle, and with time they start going to other people for advice. In and beyond the teen years, people tend to turn more towards their friends for advice.

Yet, if you face a legal issue and come to a qualified divorce lawyer, there can sometimes occur a bit of a dichotomy for the clients. They are then at the crossroads of whose advice to pay heed to. Should they listen to their family regarding such an issue? Their friends? Or their Orange County family law attorney? This blog will give you some input as to whom to listen to when you have a legal problem in your family or personal life.

Divorce is an issue that is primarily a case of the happenings between you and your spouse with or without the interference from people on the outside. Most divorces are a mixture of a series of decisions that are taken or not taken by either spouse. Unlike other professions such as in medicine, divorce attorneys and their clients have a greater degree of consultation in their decision-making with each other.

As top Orange County divorce lawyers, we understand that the process of divorce can be painful for most, and in times of pain, the family and friends are usually the people to fall back to for support. While their support for emotional stability might be helpful, their advice in terms of decisions regarding the divorce case can be catastrophic.

Relatives of the people going through a divorce tend to have emotions charged themselves which means that their judgments and advices can be more out of some particular emotion rather than logical thinking. It is often seen that the relatives aren’t well versed in family law and may lead the spouse into making a decision that is unacceptable in court and might lead the spouse himself in trouble.

Compare the above to how divorce attorneys deal and the answer to the question raised at the very start will be clear. Lawyers treat their clients professionally, and with a professional connection with their clients, they can base their decisions on a clear-headed approach that enables them to give legally practicable advice to the client.

While the intention of the family and friends shouldn’t be doubted, it is important for people who are going through divorce that law is a profession that involves expertise, objectivity, and calm.

 
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.