Don’t EVER Consider A Do-It-Yourself Divorce, Unless You Have No Other Options!

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmFor most people, the decision to file for divorce is itself one of the most stressful and gut-wrenching ones in their lives, and is often made after many months or years of going back-and-forth deciding what to do.

The next step after deciding to file for divorce is whether to retain a divorce attorney or not. California family law courts do allow you to present yourself “in pro per” in family law proceedings.  However, is that the right way to handle your divorce case?  NO!

Although that answer is coming from a divorce attorney, it is an honest answer based on years of experience handling divorce and family law cases.  Even if your divorce is uncontested, there are very few assets of the marriage, and perhaps there are no children involved, you should still at least have legal counsel for guidance and to make sure your case is resolved properly.

There is a reason why the saying goes “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.”  

I once handled an Orange County family law case for an ex-husband where the parties had both settled their case by themselves and seemingly he thought he had gotten a good resolution of his case.  However, he had thought that he had gotten a waiver of spousal support from his wife in the divorce judgment, but the wording in the divorce judgment was clearly not drafted by an attorney.  Ultimately, having handled his divorce himself came back to bite him, because the spousal support waiver was not worded properly and did not hold up. I assisted him in working out his case at that point but in reality he spent more money than he would have had to pay if he had retained a divorce attorney in the beginning to do the job right.

Most divorce cases are never “easy.”

Even when you think your divorce is “easy,” the divorce process, the steps involved and, most importantly, the potential pitfalls that may arise in resolving your case are all more complicated than you may realize.  You are better to retain competent legal counsel to represent your best interests in your divorce case and get it done right, thereby avoiding vagueness and potential loopholes and pitfalls in your divorce judgment that could come back to haunt you later.

Moreover, the divorce process itself can be very confusing and overwhelming, and I have had many clients who originally tried to handle their case themselves, only to realize that it was a task that they could not really take on and handle adequately themselves.  Moreover, with all of the issues generally involved in a divorce case, including division of assets and debts, custody, child support, spousal support, division of retirement accounts, etc., the resolution of those issues fairly and properly by yourself can be daunting when emotions are already high.

If you have to go to court because you cannot resolve all issues with your spouse, appearing in court in front of a judge by yourself is incredibly nerve-whacking, and unless you have a legal background, you do not possess the knowledge and skills to represent your own best interests and get the best possible outcome.

If your spouse has a divorce attorney, YOU need a divorce attorney.

I have sometimes been asked if a potential client should retain a divorce attorney because the other party has legal counsel who says he can “handle everything” for both parties.  My answer generally is “yes.”  Even though that other attorney may appear to have the best intentions, the fact of the matter is that the attorney is representing your spouse, not you.  At a minimum, you need a divorce attorney to review the divorce paperwork and any proposed divorce judgment in your case to advise you of your rights and to make suggestions.  I generally tell someone whose spouse has legal counsel that they also need legal counsel, because there is always a possibility that without one, you will get taken advantage of.

For further information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce lawyer 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, divorce mediation, spousal support, child support and child custody issues.

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.

What Happens in My Orange County Divorce Case After The Divorce Paperwork is Filed and My Spouse Is Served?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmThere are several procedures that occur in an Orange County divorce case after the initial divorce paperwork has been filed and the other spouse has been served.  There are the three main ones

1.     Temporary Orders

After the initial divorce paperwork has been filed with the court, either spouse may file for a “Request for Order” (RFO) hearing with the court requesting a hearing to decide temporary orders for child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, and other orders while the divorce is pending. Other orders can involve temporary use of marital property, restraining orders and orders that one party pay the other party’s attorney fees and costs.

Whenever a Request for Order (RFO) hearing addressing temporary child custody and visitation issues are filed, the Court will order that the parties attend mediation at no cost through the court’s mediation department prior to the Request for Order hearing date. Although the law requires that the parents participate in mediation, there is no requirement that they reach an agreement.

2.     Disclosure of The Spouses’ Financial Assets, Debts, Incomes and Expenses

The next step after service of the Summons and Petition for Marital Dissolution and the Response thereto is for both parties to complete and exchange their own “Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure.”

Both parties in a California divorce are required to disclose detailed, accurate information to the other about their respective incomes, expenses, property (both marital and separate property), and all debts and obligations. These mutual disclosures are called the parties “Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure. These formal disclosures are signed under penalty of perjury. A Final Declaration of Disclosure can be completed at approximately the time of trial or settlement in the case, unless the parties mutually agree in writing to waive such final disclosure.

These Declarations of Disclosure consist of special forms required by the court, and except for proof that the parties served each other with such forms, these forms are otherwise not filed with the court. The 4 forms that generally comprise the Declaration of Disclosure are:

  • Declaration of Disclosure (Form #FL-140)
  • Income & Expense Declaration (Form #Fl-150)
  • Schedule of Assets & Debts (Form #FL-142)
  • Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure (Form #FL-141)

The purpose of such financial disclosures is to make settlement negotiations easier to proceed because of the generally clear picture of the parties’ financial situation given by such formal disclosure. Moreover, it protects the parties in the event that either spouse failed to disclose all assets.

California law requires that the disclosure documents be completed and served twice, once at the beginning of the divorce (i.e. Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure) and then again near the end of the case immediately prior to trial or Judgment (i.e. Final Declaration of Disclosure). However, the parties can agree to waive service of the Final Declaration of Disclosure, as long as such waiver is in writing on the appropriate legal paperwork.

3.     Legal Discovery

In divorces that require determinations of the fair market value of marital assets, community businesses, debts, and self-employment incomes for support purposes, “discovery” requests served on one or both spouses may be necessary. Such discovery requests can require responses to general and specific questions, production of documentation and other tangible items, and depositions of the parties or third parties.

Completion of the discovery process is generally necessary before a divorce case can be set for trial and can slow down the divorce process. However, such discovery is necessary to protect the parties’ rights and ensure a fair and reasonable division of the parties’ assets and debts.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Orange County divorce attorney Gerald Maggio at The Maggio Law Firm, by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting www.maggiolawfirm.com.

How To Choose The Best Divorce Attorney Based On Your Needs

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County Divorce Lawyer; The Maggio Law Firm

One of the biggest and toughest decisions in your life can be filing for divorce, something generally most people do not want to do except as a last resort.  The next biggest issue is choosing a divorce attorney to represent you in your case.

So, how does one go about choosing a divorce lawyer exactly?  It can be a daunting task and ultimately a subjective decision that only you can make.

First, doing your research is always a good idea.  The internet allows you to search divorce attorneys online, look at their websites, and get a feel for the attorneys out there in your area.

Speaking of divorce attorneys in your area, you should generally try to choose an attorney in your city or county, depending on where you are.  For example, if you live in Orange County and your case is in Orange County, you generally should find and retain an Orange County divorce attorney.  Why?  There are 3 reasons:  (1) your attorney will have to travel less time to get to court, which in turn will save you in legal fees, (2) a local divorce attorney will know how the court in your county works (i.e. the little “ins and outs” of the court system) which is invaluable, and (3) a local divorce attorney will be known by the other attorney in your case and, even more important, the judge will likely know that attorney.  All those factors can have an effect on your case in terms of legal fees, the duration of the litigation in your case, and in how your case might be resolved.

Chances are you know someone, i.e. a friend, family member, or someone you work with, that has gone through a divorce.  If they are willing to talk about it, ask for an attorney referral because that person has gone through the process whereas you likely have not.  That person can give you a lot of helpful information and assist you in choosing a divorce attorney that fits your needs.

Much like asking someone you know about their divorce attorney, checking out and reading the client reviews of divorce attorneys is also a good way to narrow the attorneys you will want to set up consultations with.  Such reviews can be helpful in getting a sense of what those attorneys are like.  Some of those reviews are posted on attorney websites, but there are independent websites like Avvo.com that has helpful information about attorneys including client reviews.

It is always advisable to meet with more than one divorce attorney once you have narrowed your choices.  Set up consultations with each.  Some will offer free 60 minute consultations, some will offer a free 30 minute consultation, and some will require a charge for their time, often at the attorney’s hourly rate.  Do not let the issue of free vs. paid consultation be the determining factor in choosing an attorney.  Instead, in meeting each attorney, ask questions about the attorney, about how they handle their cases, about how available they are by phone/email/in person when needed, etc.  Make an informed decision about the divorce attorney you pick after doing all of this.  You want to pick an attorney that you feel comfortable with, is accessible and who actually listens to you.

A word of warning:  if a divorce lawyer that you meet promises or guarantees an outcome in your case, run out of their office.  NO divorce attorney should EVER promise or guarantee an outcome, because there are many factors involved if your case goes to trial that may affect the final outcome.   Don’t ever choose an attorney that says only what you want to hear, but one that also tells you what you need to hear.

In the end, there is no such thing as “the best attorney.”  There are many qualified divorce lawyers out there.  Rather, the issue is choosing the best attorney for you.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with Gerald Maggio, please call our Orange County office at (949) 553-0304 or go to maggiolawfirm.com.

Top 20 Financial & Legal Steps To Take After Your Divorce Is Done

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

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In most divorce cases in most states, you cannot charge estate plans, life insurance beneficiaries, etc., until after your divorce case has been resolved and your divorce judgment has been entered by the court.  However, once your divorce is final, you need to take immediate financial and legal steps to reflect your new reality.  The following is a checklist of the actions that you need to take:

  1. Change your name on all of your financial documents, bank accounts, etc.
  2. Close and/or change the names on all joint accounts.
  3. Make sure that all credit card bills and loans are paid promptly and closed by you (or your spouse if such bills or loans were designed as their responsibility in the divorce).
  4. Open a checking and savings account in your name.
  5. Open a credit card in your name to establish your own credit history.
  6. Set up and start depositing money into an emergency bank account to cover 6 months of living expenses and don’t ever dip into it.
  7. Check all of your investment accounts to make sure that the stated ownership of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, and retirement accounts are correctly listed.
  8. Change your name with the Social Security department.
  9. Change your name on your driver’s license.
  10. Change the title on your automobile(s) into your name if necessary.
  11. Change your automobile insurance coverage into your name alone.
  12. Have your spouse’s name take off of the mortgage (or lease).  This may be difficult to do without a refinance of the mortgage.
  13. Make sure that you transfer ownership of all deeds for your real estate and record with your county recorder’s office if not accomplished in the divorce case.
  14. Change your beneficiaries on all life insurance policies.
  15. Change beneficiaries on all retirement and pension plans.
  16. Revise your health insurance coverage, dependent on the terms of your divorce judgment.
  17. Make sure any Qualified Domestic Relations Orders that need to be done to divide retirement benefits per your divorce judgment get done.
  18. Contact an estate planning attorney and have a new estate plan done.  Be sure to update your medical and financial powers of attorney.
  19. Speak with a financial advisor if you did not do so prior to concluding your divorce case and determine a financial roadmap for you post-divorce.
  20. Review your tax withholding allowances and taxes with your CPA, particularly if you are receiving or paying spousal support (alimony), and make any necessary adjustments with your payroll department.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact the Orange County family law firm of The Maggio Law Firm at (949) 553-0304 or at www.maggiolawfirm.com.

 

Top 5 Things You Need To Know To File For a California Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

1.  In California, there are only two legal reasons for ending a marriage: [1] “Irreconcilable Differences” or [2] incurable insanity. Irreconcilable differences means that no amount of marital counseling will save your marriage.

2.  California is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning that you do not have to give the court any other reason for filing for divorce.   You are, in essence, suing for divorce and contrary to what you see on television, you do not have to “ask” for divorce.

3.  You must have lived in California for 6 months and for 3 months in the county where you file for divorce.

4.  Part of the initial paperwork filed for divorce is a Summons.  In a divorce case, the Summons includes automatic restraining orders preventing either spouse from concealing, selling or disposing of any property, changing any insurance policies or beneficiaries, or taking any children of the marriage out of the State of California without the  written consent of the other spouse.

5.  To personally serve the initial divorce paperwork, the party initiating the divorce cannot serve the paperwork, but anyone who is at least 18 years or older can or you can use a professional process server.  A minor investment of less than $100 well worth the money versus asking a family member or friend to do so.

For more information or for a consultation, contact Orange County Divorce Lawyer Gerald A. Maggio at The Maggio Law Firm, Inc. at www.maggiolawfirm.com or (949) 553-0304.

Grandparent Rights are Relevant in California Child Custody Cases

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

Grandparents are entitled to have quality time with their grandchildren, even if their son or daughter is getting a divorce.

Grandparent rights are not to intrude on the parents rights, as they still have authority over their kids’ lives. If a spouse is trying to prevent or ignores a request for grandparent to be involved, grandparents should seek legal counsel to understand and fight for their options. Oftentimes, a child custody attorney can push to include grandparent visitation rights in the overall child custody agreement.

Unfortunately, in some circumstances the birth parents are unfit to take care of their children, thus leaving grandparents to raise the kids. Parents who are incarcerated, have mental health problems, abuse drugs or alcohol, deceased, or have abused, neglected or abandoned a child will not be given the right to take care of their child. Throughout California, close to seven percent of all children are living with their grandparents.

Grandparents as caregivers are divided into two categories. Custodial grandparents have legal custody and provide daily care, security, and decision making for the kids. Usually the child’s birth parents are so unfit to take care of the children that this is the best way for the child to succeed. A court must grant guardianship to the grandparent.

This process starts with a petition the grandparent will file in court for Guardian Ad Litem. All individuals must receive notice of this petition, so that if one parent is willing to renew their care for the child, they have the opportunity to do so. The only way to go around this is if the guardian can prove that the parent is unfit and contests the guardianship. Grandparent guardianship can be terminated when a parent shows the court they are ready, willing and able to care for the child again and files appropriate motions to do so.

The second category of grandparents, known more as caregivers, helps with daily care but does not have legal custody of the grandkids even though they are living with them. The kid’s parent can live in the home, but the grandparent is in charge of giving an emotionally and financially stable home environment. These types of grandparents assist kids when the parents are out of town, deployed with the military, or absent for longer periods of time. Power of Attorney documents should be drafted and notarized so that the grandparent will be allowed to get the child medical care, make certain education and school decisions, and apply for California assistance programs.

In Orange County, Irvine child custody attorney Gerald Maggio has helped uphold the best interests of children and the rights of grandparents for visitation and guardianship. The Maggio Law Firm is experienced in all child custody matters and will strive to achieve fast and fair results through understanding, tenacity, and professionalism.

Gerald A. Maggio is an Orange County divorce attorney, in Irvine, California. To learn more about Orange Country divorce lawyer, Gerald A. Maggio, visit Maggiolawfirm.com or call (949) 553-0304.

Legal Counsel Needed in Divorces After 20 or More Years of Togetherness

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

An increase in marriages ending after 20 to 40 years is making news headlines and being dubbed “gray divorce”.

Many psychologists are attributing divorces after long-term marriages to the kids leaving home for college or life on their own, and a spouse who has felt trapped or unhappy finally has the drive to begin a new life. The ease and perception of divorce is also far better for couples now than it was decades ago.

With collaborative divorces, mediation and experienced divorce attorneys more accessible to couples, divorce doesn’t have such a bad stigma or price tag anymore. There are many asset and financial matters that need to be addressed in divorces after a long-term marriage, so this is where a results-oriented divorce lawyer is critical and can go over every facet that must be divided.

Gray divorces usually involve lots of marital property and assets, including real estate, vacation properties, bank accounts, retirement plans, pensions, and other assets. Without legal counsel, the divorce can be a messy, financial nightmare. A huge factor is that one spouse usually has a short period of time to make up for any difference in the division of assets before retirement.

As people in California and the U.S. lead longer and more active lives, U.S. Census statistics are showing older, married couples have only a 54 percent chance of reaching a 30th wedding anniversary. Couples married before 1965 fared better, but every marriage year after that shows lesser chances of staying married. Spouses tend to have raised children and kept their finances in order, but the marital relationship took a backseat.

With gray divorce, couples are finding that they stand to be happier pursuing different goals and starting new relationships. Women are far less dependent on their spouses for income and can afford to start a new chapter on their own. “Each person has to decide whether they can deal with the flawed, not just sparkly parts of their spouse,” says Christine Carter, doctor, author of Raising Happiness and columnist at the Huffington Post. If the flaws are a deal breaker and obstacle, divorce might be the only route to resolution.

Every divorce has its unique challenges and financial considerations, so no matter the years of marriage, expert legal counsel will ensure each spouse has peace of mind for the future. In California, Orange County divorce attorney Gerald Maggio is known for helping clients go through their options, protect their interests, and seek the most favorable divorce outcome. The Maggio Law Firm combines years of legal expertise in divorce law with compassionate guidance.

Gerald A. Maggio is an Orange County divorce attorney, in Irvine, California. To learn more about Orange Country divorce lawyer, Gerald A. Maggio, visit Maggiolawfirm.com or call (949) 553-0304.

Stepparent Adoptions Increasing with Thousands of Stepfamilies Forming Every Day

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law Firm

 Stepfamilies are a huge part of American society, yet the mainstream media rarely mentions the unique needs of both parents and children when they are assimilating into one family. The U.S. Census Bureau reports 1300 new stepfamilies are forming every day and more than 50 percent of families are remarried or recoupled with kids less than 13 years old.

Unlike normal adoption, stepparent adoption is for individuals who want to solidify their commitment as a stepfather or stepmother and adopt their stepchild. An experienced stepparent adoption attorney is critical to draft legal documents, review them, and counsel on a stepparent’s rights as well as legalities of which the biological parent must be aware. Expert legal counsel will ensure that a stepparent adoption will not have a chance to be reversed.

A stepparent adoption does end the absent biological parent’s legal ties to the child, including custodial and visitation rights and financial support. There are four main ways to do a stepparent adoption with an accomplished California family law attorney.

The non-primary biological parent can sign a state authorized form consenting to the adoption by the stepparent. The Department of Social Services will investigate to determine if it is in the child’s best interests and create a report with their findings. Children should be informed that the stepparent wants to adopt them as the social service investigator will interview the child about what he or she wants and what they understand about the adoption. Also, children older than 12 years must give written consent of the adoption. An adoption hearing will then be held and if everything is successful, the stepparent will have the adoption certificate.

In contrast, if the biological parent has not spoken or financially provided for the child in more than a year, then the custodial parent will have full custody of the child. The stepparent must prove these facts and give testimony, but no investigation is mandated. Only if the absent parent can give a sufficient reason for not communicating or supporting the child will the court not give its consent. Otherwise, it takes only one court hearing to get the certificate.

Yet in some cases the absent parent has only failed to communicate or give financial support, but not both shortcomings. This makes the stepparent adoption process a bit more complex, and the Probation Department will have to research and report if abandonment has occurred. California courts will hear the testimony of the party who wants to adopt and incorporate the probation report. One legal petition is required to terminate the absent parent’s rights and a second petition completed to adopt the child. Two separate court orders must be done and the absent parent’s relatives must be notified of the proceedings. If the child has been deemed abandoned, the court will then allow the adoption decree.

The last way to get a stepparent adoption is if the parents of the child were never married, and thus there is no natural father. A court order to terminate the alleged natural father’s rights is far easier than the aforementioned routes. The couple can then go about the stepparent adoption in the normal way.

After an adoption, the child is then eligible for Social Security and life insurance benefits should either of their parents pass away. Some couples get legal assistance to change the child’s last name and modify the birth certificate, too.

The Maggio Law Firm has guided many stepparents and the couples in solidifying their bond with the children. As an experienced Orange County stepparent adoption attorney, Gerald Maggio is well versed in all the steps of the stepparent adoption process.  For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Orange County divorce lawyer, Gerald A. Maggio, by visiting Maggiolawfirm.com or calling (949) 553-0304.

High Levels of Domestic Violence and Divorce in California Prompt Legal Action

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

Sadly, one in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. Each year, 1.3 million women will be victims of physical assault, according to the Alternatives to Domestic Violence organization in Riverside, Calif. California’s domestic violence shelters had more hotline calls in 2010, with an average of 5,261 individuals needing their services and support.

The recession has caused financial and marriage stressors to increase, and victims sometimes feel they have no escape route to improve their life. A recent Orange County domestic violence case emphasizes the need for legal counsel when dealing with divorce, child custody and restraining order concerns. Travis C. Unholz, an Orange County sheriff’s deputy, recently pushed his wife to the floor and she hit her head. The couple’s two children were at home during the argument. The wife called the sheriff’s department and they arrested Unholz. He was able to post bail, was charged with domestic violence, but then tried to buy a gun. He asked a friend to help him buy an automatic weapon, survival kit, and call his wife. All these actions violated the bail conditions.

Unholz now is charged with a litany of felony and misdemeanor charges – domestic battery, violation of a protective order and attempted possession of a firearm, sentencing enhancement for crime-bail-crime – and could face six or more years in state prison.

Every victim of domestic violence has the right to seek legal guidance and court protections to overcome a traumatic situation. If there are children involved, a restraining order can be requested to protect you and the children. Custody, visitation and child support orders can be requested at the same time, as well.

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you have a right to look to the court for protection. There are several different types of restraining orders that can provide domestic violence victims with this kind of protection. If a judge wants a mediation to decide on these matters, an individual will want to bring their divorce lawyer and a support person. Sometimes it is even best to meet with the mediator separately, depending on what type of abuse has occurred.

Current California statutes call for custody to be granted in line with the best interests of the child. Domestic violence that has been done in the previous five years does not bode well for the perpetrating parent seeking any type of custody. Only if the perpetrator can provide sufficient evidence that he has completed a batterer’s treatment program, an alcohol or drug abuse counseling program, parenting classes, and complied with a restraining order, will the courts perhaps consider joint custody.

One of the most prominent divorce and family law offices, The Maggio Law Firm in Riverside and Irvine, Calif., is skilled in representing a client’s and child’s best interests. Their firm will ensure that all of the proper documents are filed, any questions that a judge might ask will be done so in a quick, proactive manner, and will assist with any unusual circumstances that might come up in the divorce and child custody hearings.

Gerald Maggio, their lead Riverside County domestic violence attorney, recommends individuals get help early on who are being abused. He represents domestic violence victims that are married, have domestic partnerships, in dating relationships, and same-sex partnerships. Their exceptional legal counsel will aggressively advocate for an individual and child’s legal and human rights.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Orange Country divorce lawyer, Gerald A. Maggio, by visiting Maggiolawfirm.com or calling (949) 553-0304.

 
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.