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 Is A Contempt Action In A Divorce Case And How Do I File It?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Best Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmThe final decree of divorce announced by a court of law is legally binding on both the parties involved in the lawsuit. In other words, it is a legal obligation on both the spouses to fulfill the demands of all court orders regarding the various aspects of a divorce verdict such as child custody, visitation, support, property distribution, and the like. The idea is to respect the court’s decision and minimize any post-divorce conflicts and disputes between the exes.

What is a contempt of court in a divorce?

When a party violates a divorce order, the court can find that party in contempt of court and carry out legal ramifications in a quasi-criminal proceeding.  It is an effective way of enforcing court orders against your spouse.  If your ex-spouse refuses to comply with the instructions stipulated in the final decree of divorce, you have the right to file a motion for a contempt of court and inform the legal authorities about the violation of the settlement. 

How do I file for a contempt of court in a divorce?

Owing to the fact that the court of law is instinctively motivated to be in complete control over its decisions, a contempt case is typically met with stringent punitive actions. In case you wish to file a motion for a contempt of court against your ex-spouse, you can either go ahead with it yourself or take the help of a divorce attorney. The next step is to serve a copy of the motion of contempt to your ex-spouse. If you are handling the situation all by yourself, you can consult the court officials regarding the forms you will be required to fill out and send to your spouse, as a court notice. However, if an attorney is involved, he/she will take up the responsibility of serving your ex-partner with the notice. The basic content of the motion will comprise of the orders of the final decree that have been violated by the other spouse and why he or she must be held in contempt of court.

If you find that your ex-spouse has not been keeping up with the obligations mentioned in the final decree of divorce, you must immediately take legal counsel and go ahead to ensure adequate action against him/her.

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.

Divorce Mediation vs. Collaborative Divorce: What’s the Difference?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmDivorce mediation and a collaborative divorce may sound similar but the mechanics of these two approaches can be quite different. If you are unsure on which one is better suited to your situation, here is a look at how they work and what to expect.

Alternative to court trial

While there are some ways in which collaborative divorces and divorce mediation are starkly different, there are a few basics which remains the same in both cases. For one thing, they offer an alternative to a long drawn out and often expensive and messy battle in divorce court. Both offer a greater measure of control to you and your ex and don’t leave things to the discretion of a third party – the judge and your attorneys. However, there are some differences that could make one preferable over the other for you.

If the mediation or collaboration doesn’t work

In the event a divorce mediation doesn’t work out, you simply take your case to court to work it out before a judge. Your attorney presents your case and is already well-versed with the details so will be better equipped to represent you. However, if a collaborative divorce process falls through, your attorney is bound by a ‘no-court’ agreement. This is a document signed by you and your attorney and your spouse and theirs, stipulating that if the case heads to court, they must necessarily withdraw as your attorney. You will then both need to hire new lawyers who will want to do their own research ground up, resulting in some additional expenses and time.

Who’s involved?

In the case of a divorce mediation, an independent neutral third party is brought in to mediate. The operative being ‘neutral’. In other words, neither of your divorce attorneys can mediate. Instead, you and your spouse meet with the mediator (and attorneys when required), to work through your differences in a neutral environment. A mediator does not push you towards a settlement or agreement, but simply helps diffuse the situation and encourages conversation and conflict resolution so critical things like custody, alimony and division of assets can be worked out.

In the case of a collaborative divorce, both spouses and their respective divorce attorneys work together to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution through four-way meetings. The benefit here is you have legal counsel to support you throughout. It is a more effective and less expensive alternative to litigation but gives room for lawyers to negotiate and present arguments for you.

Confidentiality issues

In many states, the discussions during divorce mediation are protected by mediation confidentiality laws. Collaborative divorce discussion are typically not. You can however, overcome this hurdle by getting everyone to sign confidentiality agreements before you begin the collaborative process.

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.

3 Things That Can Cause Divorce Mediation To Fail

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmWhen couples decide to split, the decision they take can often have far-reaching effects. Hence, it is important that people choose the right method to get divorced. The easiest and most popular method of getting divorced is through divorce mediation. This is a method where the spouses are empowered to come to terms with one another and resolve the divorce issue themselves.

Despite it being a fast, empowered, stress free and conflict free way of getting divorced, sometimes, even divorce mediation can fail. This blog outlines the 3 reasons why it can fail, so that you can avoid them and make your divorce mediation a success.

Expectations Not Matching Reality

People to people contact, the internet and other online resources have a number of different advantages, but one disadvantage of the process can be the spreading of misinformation. Some of the spouses that come for Orange County divorce mediation have a belief that everything that their spouse has is theirs. When spouses have such unrealistic expectations, it is hard to negotiate with them because they want the other spouse to merely accept what is being offered or risk losing all of it in a litigated divorce.

Despite the fact that their belief is wrong, these spouses and their sky high expectations can decrease the chances of a meaningful conversation and a resolution.

Engaging in Good Faith Negotiation

The key to success in Orange County divorce mediation is having good faith during negotiations. This is not a game of chess or a game of hearts where you keep your cards and your moves close to your chest. For mediation to work, the spouses need to trust one another and should outline all of their options on the table. Inability to do so can result in a breakdown of negotiations.

A good faith negotiation is where both of the spouses feel willing to negotiate and provide true, relevant information beforehand. Lying, keeping information and assets hidden can be taken in bad faith and might ultimately lead to a failure of the mediation process.

Trying to Use Mediation as a Way of Mending Broken Bridges

There are some spouses who enter mediation, not with the goal of having a peaceful resolution to their divorce process, but instead to salvage their marriage. These spouses believe that unlike a litigated divorce, the pace of this divorce can be dictated. Hence, they try and slow the pace down only to buy time to salvage a relation.

This is often the wrong approach to take, since once another spouse has decided to take such a big step of ending the relation, there is a minute chance if any, of them going back on their word and the only thing delaying mediation achieves, is getting the two embroiled in a bitter litigated divorce.

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.  

Divorce Mediation Becoming Popular in California & the U.S.

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmAlthough the rate of divorce has actually declined in recent years, there is still a tremendous amount of pressure on the family law court system which often has more cases to handle than judicial officers available to handle them.  In addition to that, most divorce cases that end up in court aren’t always the most straightforward ones which mean that they will take up a large portion of the courts time further delaying the new up and coming cases.

A New Way

The fact that people are having to wait for their cases to be heard and because the court procedure of getting a divorce can often lead to parties contesting against one another leading to bitterness, more and more people in California and elsewhere are looking towards a different way to get divorced, one that offers them more comfort and functionality than the court system.

California divorce mediation has thus started to become a popular method for spouses to use and end their relations. There are many reasons for the growing popularity of mediation over divorce litigation. One of them is the pace of their proceedings. Most people who come to court are looking for a speedy remedy. Imagine you hate your spouse for their extramarital affair but the delay in your case coming in front of the judge means you’ll have to stay with him/her to maintain the strength in your case.

Greater Comfort and Peace

The comfort argument is often used to describe divorce mediation and in reality that is one of the reason why it is growing in popularity. Divorce is a personal matter arising out of issues between two parties and more often than not they would like to keep that private. The stigma attached to divorce is enough to deal with and no spouse would want themselves to have to deal with people in and around them talking about the personal issues that led to their divorce.

In courts that is hard to manage, but as far a mediation is concerned your mediator will make sure to keep your reasons for divorce private. Since mediation is a process that is decided between the two spouses with no authority interfering in their decision making. The two spouses tend to stay away from bitterness and instead use mutual collaboration to solve their issues. This helps ensure that the process is done smoothly, without many fights or arguments with the divorce mediator making sure the atmosphere is kept peaceful.

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.

Divorce Can Increase Heart Attack Risk in Women

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmResearchers have found that divorce can adversely impact the heart health of women.

Substantial research has already shown the negative effects of divorce on physical well-being, but a recent Duke University study reveals that multiple divorces can increase the risk of heart attacks.

The findings indicate women who divorced at least once were 24 percent more likely to have a heart attack compared to women who stayed married. Divorcing twice or more raised the chance of a heart attack to 77 percent, while remarrying caused it to go up to 35 percent.

Men’s heart attack risk went up only if they divorced at least twice, while it remained the same if they remarried.

The study, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, tracked the marital status of around 15,000 adults who married at least once over 18 years. Results remained the same even after researchers took into account age, socioeconomic status and physiological factors, among others.

The study did not examine how exactly divorce leads to more heart attacks or why there is a difference between risk levels for men and women. However, theories point to the emotional trauma of a dramatic life event or changes in behavior — such as smoking or altered eating habits — as possible causes that can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to poor heart health.

For more information, see the following articles:

 
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.