Is Mandated and Private Divorce Mediation Different?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce is not a decision couples take in the best of their times. Any decision of divorce involves loads of bitterness and hurt behind it. Divorce is one of the most important decisions in a person’s life and in addition to the importance of the decision, the way the couple separates is also an important consideration. Contrary to popular belief, the decision to separate leaves the couples with a host of options to choose their mode of a divorce other than simply retaining attorneys and fighting it out in court.  The parties can seek private divorce mediation, but the California family courts mandate child custody mediation prior to most custody court proceedings.

Mandated Child Custody Mediation

It is often misunderstood that when couples go through the family law courts, there is little or no chance of mediation. This, however, is far from the truth. In reality, when couples start to go through child custody court proceedings, irrespective of their legal positions, the first thing that courts require them to do is go through mandated custody mediation.

In mandated mediation, the couples are presented in front of a court assigned mediator who reviews the custody case, its facts, and questions the couple on their positions. The job of this mandated mediator is to allow the couples a chance to sort their custody issues.

Private Divorce Mediation

This form of mediation is the most-commonly used mediation. The key to this type of mediation is that it is flexible in terms of time, place, and the format of mediation. The lack of time bar on this type of mediation allows the couple to have a greater amount of time to effectively discuss their issues in depth and in detail to allow the issues to be ironed out.

The key to Orange County divorce mediation is the role of the mediator in this type of mediation. Unlike the role of the mediator in mandated mediation, an Orange County divorce mediator only facilitates the couples to try and sort their issues out and doesn’t really take part in questions and answers with the clients. One of the most important things that make this type of mediation more potent than mandated mediation is the legally binding authority it has. Divorce mediation agreements can be enforced through the use of courts.

The Best Interest of the Child and Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsThere are many reasons that make mediated divorce better than litigated divorce. One of the leading reasons is the fact that more often than not, divorce mediation has a number of ground rules set up between the spouses to help steer the process in the correct direction. These ground rules help the couples focus on the long term solutions instead of short term victories throughout the process. There can be a lot of ground rules, which may include having less amount of direct accusations, no use of foul language or derogatory remarks or maintaining the best interest of the child.

The Best Interest of the Child

This is one of the most commonly used phrases in the divorce world, especially in family law and child custody cases. Yet, do you know what this phrase really means? When you look at the legal side of things, this is a rather complex area of law, since it includes entitlements, parental rights, child visitation, custodial parent residency, etc. The family courts in California use the principle of child’s best interest in deciding a variety of cases and mediators also keep it at the top of their agenda in divorce mediations.

Yet before we talk about it more, let’s take a brief look at the standard of this best interest rule that needs to be considered before any decision is taken:

  • The type of contact that exists between the parents
  • Any history of child abuse either emotional, physical or mental
  • The levels of child safety, welfare and health
  • Any history of drug, alcohol or substance abuse by either parent
  • Criminal record of the parents

Mediated Divorce

While these legal definitions do form the basis of the concept, but it is important to realize that Orange County divorce mediators and spouses are not bounded by these legal definitions. For parents who take part in divorce mediations, the parents can look at the existing child-parent relation through the best interest canvas, but it is by no means mandatory.

In divorce and custody mediation, the standard of the child’s best interest is not only depends upon the legal considerations, it also includes ethical and moral considerations. More often than not, each child is different from the other; hence, divorce mediations allow the parents to mutually determine what’s best for the child considering his/her individual case.

According to recent studies on children, the child best flourishes in environments where their surroundings are peaceful and full of harmony. The key to harvesting the child’s best growth in addition to looking for his/her best interest is to have effective and frequent communications with them as well as keeping them away from the spousal bitterness of a divorce.

Divorce Mediation: What You Should Expect From Your Ex-Spouse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce is one of the hardest times for a person, with emotional traumas and mental setbacks being one of the few things that are usually encountered by spouses going through a divorce. Ending a relation that was started with the aim of it lasting a lifetime is hard. Different spouses react to this situation differently. Spouses can seem aggressive, aggrieved, restless or calm, and overtly funny, etc. The behavior of one’s spouse is important in the divorce resolution cases whether it be in courts or through divorce mediation.

In divorce mediation, the spouse’s behavior takes up a whole different level of importance. Mediation is a process that involves cooperation and coordination between the spouses to reach a conclusion. Ideally, mediation requires both the spouses at ease and willing to work towards a solution, to be effective. In reality though, different spouses tend to act differently in Orange County divorce mediation solutions.

Here, we are going to talk about the different situations and how spouses are seen to react in each.

The Financial Muscle

Was your spouse the one who was always under control of your marriage? Did he/she earn the most in the household? If the answer to either of those questions is in the affirmative, chances are that your spouse craves power and is accustomed to authority. Spouses with such tendencies are often resistant to any kind of change in their life without their approval, let alone divorce.

A divorce mediation is likely to result in a restless, dominant, and overpowering behavior from your spouse, trying to sustain their control over you. This is one of the most common situations and it should not deter your decisions. People with such behavior are likely to prefer litigation to death, but trying and talking to them may result in them trying mediation.

Instable Emotional State

Divorce as previously mentioned is a painful process in itself. Add an emotionally unstable spouse, and the divorce proceedings threaten to boil over and become dangerous. Divorce mediation is a process that depends on reasoning, logic, and immense resolve to try and seek resolution. Spouses that are emotionally unstable are likely to have a distinct sense of revenge, and lack of logic.

Emotional instability can result from several factors, which may include hate towards the other spouse, a feeling of un–fulfillment, or a sense of betrayal. When a person is in that state of mind, it is better to consult a psychiatrist before any kind of divorce proceedings whether they is divorce mediation or litigation can be started. The lack of mental incapacity at a later date can be sighted as a reason by the spouse’s lawyer to annul any agreements, resolutions, and decisions that are taken at this point.

A Sneak Peak At California Divorce Law: What You Should Know!

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorney Orange County; California Divorce Mediators Divorce in California can be one of the easiest and one of the hardest processes within the family law jurisdiction.  Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions with regards to California divorce law, so that you are able to know what you should about the rules that control in all counties of California, including an Orange County divorce case.

Q. I was married in a foreign country and now I am remarrying. Where do I have to do my divorce papers?

Getting a divorce in California is possible as long as you meet the residency requirements.  As long as you have lived in your county for three months and in California for six months prior to filing for divorce, you can apply for it.

Q. If I divorce my spouse and they get retirement from their job, am I entitled to half of it?

The answer to this question is dependent on the timing of the divorce and the retirement of the spouse. As long as the spouse earned all, most, or even some of the retirement pension during the time of the marriage, then you are entitled to some part of it. The percentage of amount you will get depends on the number of years he/she earned the retirement pension while being in a marriage with you.

For example, if the spouse worked for 15 years to earn the retirement benefits, and for all those 15 years they were married to you, you are likely entitled to one-half thereof.

Q. I own a property bought before my marriage, what is the status of that property at the time I get divorced?

Properties that are bought and owned by one or the other spouse before they enter wedlock are usually regarded as separate properties. However, it is important to note that your property will be regarded as a separate property only if no community funds were used to purchase it or any rights given over it to the spouse, such as by adding the other spouse to the title to the property. Separate properties are not counted as the divisible assets in a divorce and they will stay yours irrespective of the divorce results.  However, the other spouse might still have an interest in the property if the principal on the mortgage loan was paid down during the marriage.  These issues can be complex and it is advised that you speak with a qualified divorce attorney to understand your situation and your rights.

Don’t Let Your Divorce Take A Toll On You!

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorney Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen marriages start to turn sour with a lack of love and trust, people start to feel trapped and suffocated. In such cases, people yearn to be free – free from the stress, the constant fighting, and the endless arguments. They want a better, more peaceful future for themselves without their spouses. This future is only available to them in the form of a divorce. Yet, more often than not, couples sweat over making their divorce decision because it is indeed one of the hardest decisions one has had to take in their lives.

While the importance of making the divorce decision correctly is undeniable, the heartbreak and the toll that it brings is certainly one of the hardest to deal with. Most spouses are left reeling by the prospect of breaking their wedding vows and failing the relation that they had pledged to have throughout their lives. The toll of a divorce can be an immense one and in order to deal with it, there are several tools that need to be used. Here is a list of people that you need around you to make sure you don’t let your divorce take a toll on you.

Your Family

There is a reason that families are the building blocks of society. Your family members are closest to you, because they hold the bond of blood and flesh with you that others don’t. Your family understands you the best and knows the likes and dislikes of the person. Divorce can be one of the hardest times for the person because of emotional and financial strains. Your family is the best suited to help you out in such testing times with emotional backing and even financial support. Your family loves you and they will make sure they do things even if they have to go out of their way to cheer you up and in testing times these people can prove to be your rock.

Your Friends

Who knows your deepest and darkest desires? Who helps you in your most testing times when you can’t approach your family? The answer is your friends.  Divorce is one of the hardest times for you with lots going on in your mind and very little people around that you can confide in. Your friends are your pillar of support that you are going to need throughout the distress and depression of leaving a relationship you valued. California divorce opted through Orange County divorce mediation is likely to have a few financial squabbles and your friends can help you get through the drama and the emotional trauma.

5 Reasons to Choose Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorney; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce mediation is one the best methods to obtain a divorce. The method in which it is carried out is calm and casual. Fights, spats, and raised voices aren’t part of the process, as it minimizes the arguments by involving the partners in coming up with sound solutions to help maintain peace and understanding between the two. People that are thinking of filing for divorce should consider choosing divorce mediation for the following five reasons:

1.     You Are In-Charge

The divorce mediator doesn’t interfere in the decision making process, but is more like the third person that works with you, helping you and your partner come up with a solution to satisfy both of your needs. Throughout divorce mediation, the reins are in your hands and you get to decide what happens from here and the factors that will affect it.

2.     You Will Save Money

Going to court to get a divorce will burn up your savings fast. This isn’t a good idea, especially for those couples that have children. Even if you are childless, don’t you want to save money to celebrate your freedom of being single again? The only way to do that is if you go to a divorce mediator, as they are more affordable.

3.     Plan Your Future

Divorce mediation will help both of you come up with a plan for the future. Instead of focusing all your energy on bashing your significant other, focus on what lies ahead and where you will go from here. Going to court will not get you that.

If you go to court, you would be missing all the important things to consider when getting divorced, as both would be too occupied at finding faults with one and other. At mediation, you can come up with creating financial and tax planning solutions to benefit the both of you.

4.     Protect Your Children

No one loves your kids more than you do. That’s why you can’t leave the decision up to the judge to decide who gets the kids. Both of you should come up with a plan that will be in the best interests of your kids. For instance, if a partner gets to keep the house, the other partner shouldn’t force them to give it up, as giving it up would mean losing the roof over your children’s head.

5.     You Can Get Out of the Mediation Process

The minute you begin to question the divorce mediator’s ability to help you come up with an effective agreement, get out of there and move on to the next one. You don’t want to stick around if you feel they won’t be able to help you settle your differences in an effective manner.

Divorce mediation in Orange County and elsewhere with the help of a mediator helps partners draw up an agreement containing their own terms and condition. In doing so, the agreement holds more value and shows maturity.

Is There A Set Standard In Divorce Mediation?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce mediation is not a mystery as people make it out to be nor is it as complicated as people deem it to be. Divorce mediation is one of the most simplistic forms of getting a divorce. Since it’s on your terms and conditions, it makes it one of the most effective as well. So, to answer your question, is there a set standard in divorce mediation? Due to the nature of the sessions and the method of drawing up the divorce settlement agreement, there is no set standard in divorce mediation.

What Transpires during Divorce Mediation?

In divorce mediation, the role of a divorce mediator is to listen to the clients talk about the issues regarding their assets, property, and children, if they have any. The divorce mediator during this takes calculated notes of everything said in the meeting to keep a record to reference later on. In the first meeting, each partner is asked to bring financial documents with him or her to give to the mediator to look over. The mediator doesn’t interfere, but guides them to make a fair decision regarding the division of assets by telling them laws to aid the decision-making process.

Brief Introduction to the Divorce Mediation Process

The first meeting is the longest because the divorce mediator reviews the financial documents provided by each party to see if the information provided is accurate. The mediator then takes the time to discuss the financial documents in detail. If one partner thinks that their ex is hiding something, they can voice their concern in the first meeting. That’s why it’s recommended that clients come prepared, especially if they suspect their ex to hide something. After the finances are out in the open, the partners get the floor.

Each partner tells the other of what he or she thinks is fair and not fair. After hearing each person’s viewpoint, the mediator provides them with legal information about their options regarding the division of assets and property. The information provided by the mediator can be general or complex depending on the type of assets being disputed. Lastly, the partner’s wish list of what they should get out of the divorce is discussed thoroughly.

What Each Person is Interested in Getting

This in one of the most crucial points of the divorce, as it decides who gets what after the divorce is finalized. If the partners want the same thing such as the house, it could create animosity between the two. However, in divorce mediation, they don’t fight for the property, but come to a conclusion to benefit both of them. For instance, they may try to sell the house and split the profit two ways. The best part is that both of them get to decide what each wants, and then make a decision together, without the intrusion of a third party to influence them or make a ruling on who gets what.

3 Gems to Keep With You in Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen it comes to divorce mediation, it is bound to be a stressful time for the couples going through it. Apart from the couple, it is also a time of immense pressure on Orange County divorce mediators to make correct decisions, and guide the couple safely through the process. To make sure they perform at their highest at all times, most top divorce mediators have a set of rules that guide them through their work. When a client comes in for divorce mediation, mediators will make sure that the clients are made aware of the set of rules that mediators follow in order to assist them through the process.

Similar to divorce mediators, when it comes to clients and couples that are going through a divorce mediation, it is important for them to have a set of rules that they are willing to follow. Following these rules will be a boost for their mediation attempts to bear fruit. These rules can be termed as the three gems that all couples going into divorce mediation should keep with them. These rules are:

Stay honest At All times

Honesty is the key to your divorce mediation being successful. From the very start of your mediation process right up until the end, you will be needed to disclose tons of information to aid in the mediation process.  If you are unable to be honest, the result of the mediation will be based on false claims, which are highly unlikely to work. At the first day of your consultation, you’ll be asked about the goals that you expect to achieve with the mediation. It is important that you are honest and clear with your Orange County divorce mediator at this point because that is likely to set the tone for the whole session.

Don’t Take Your Emotions Into Your Mediation Sessions

Divorce can be one of the most emotionally challenging experiences for a person. People going through a divorce are likely to be hurt, sad, and angry. While this is true, it is important to make sure that you keep these emotions under control when you are going through divorce mediation. In mediations, it is important that you talk your issues out with your other spouse and letting your emotions take the best of you will make your point of view weaker.

Fairness is the Name of the Game

The only way divorce mediation works is with both the parties playing fair. Fairness needs to be exhibited in your approach to the divorce mediation. Mediation depends on the cooperation between the two spouses, if you try and gain unfair advantages, the mediation process if unlikely to work. The key to a good mediation process is for both the spouses to be fair and just with each other and give themselves the best chance to work themselves out.

How to Save Yourself from Financial Hell in a Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce is a time where the two parties are scrambling to mark the assets that they want. They will fight tooth and nail to obtain it. Their mission becomes saving themselves from financial hell. They don’t have to fight with each other to get the assets they want. They can save themselves from financial failure if they do the following things before the divorce proceedings through divorce mediation or litigation begins:

  1. Negotiate an Equitable Settlement 

Most of people think that equitable means 50/50? However, does it always mean that? In some cases, it means the total opposite, as the other person may get away with getting more than you. This means you have to secure your chances of getting a fair division of assets in return after the divorce to secure your financial future currently and down the line.

In order to play it safe, you need to talk to a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst to talk to you through the process, advising you on what he or she deems as a fair ruling between two divorcing partners. With that information in hand, present your needs to your partner during your divorce mediation session.

  1. Save Money 

You don’t want to overspend on things, but save money instead.  You can consult a financial advisor to assist you in establishing a doable budget for the month.

  1. Think About Whether You Can Really Keep Your Home

If your partner is willing to give you the home, you should talk with a financial advisor so he or she can tell you if you can realistically afford it or not.

  1. You Won’t Get Everything Your Desire

Do you plan to fight with your soon-to-be ex-partner down to every last penny? If you do, you will be spending a lot of time in court fighting over things like who gets the furniture or the dishes. These types of things are not worth it. If you really want to argue over these things, do it during divorce mediation, as it’s a better choice to vent your concerns in a more casual environment.

  1. You Should Protect Your Retirement Assets

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order should be stated as a requirement in your divorce judgment to divide retirement assets properly, and should be filed immediately after you complete your divorce.

  1. Don’t Use Your Debt Card too Much

You and your spouse need to eventually close all the accounts that you and your partner opened up together. Most importantly, don’t forget to get a copy of your credit card statement.

How to Tell Your Children About Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange-County-divorce-mediation-attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsNo matter how old they are when you and your significant other decide to part ways, your children will still be greatly affected by the divorce. It will be up to you and your partner to see to it that they handle the news well. Don’t bombard them with the news when they least expect it, but explain to them why both of you have taken this decision.

Even though your children may already know that something’s up, most probably, they are too afraid to admit. For this one time, you and your partner will have to band together and break the news gently to them, and here’s how you should do it:

1.     Do It Together

When you break the news to your children, you should do it together. Parents that do it alone because they can’t stand their ex, confuse their child even more, as they will be hearing two different versions from two different perspectives. Therefore, both of you need to sit together to decide on a story to tell your child. Try to agree on a story to tell them that doesn’t end with your father or mother is bad.

2.     Do Not Blame Your Partner

Your partner and you may not see eye to eye anymore, but the doesn’t give you grounds to mock your ex in front of your child. Your child doesn’t need any more drama in their life, as this is a sensitive time for them. If your children are young, they will be more impressionable, which means they may blame themselves for your divorce. This is something that you need to avoid doing at all costs and anytime, you well up with anger, think of your children to help you cool down and regain your exposure.

3.     Use Simple Language

Young children don’t want you to provide them with a complex reason such as “Your father cheated on me.” You want to explain to them about what is exactly going to happen after the two of you get divorced. You start by telling them that one of you is going to get an apartment, which they will come and visit. However, this conversation needs to happen after both of you have decided on the days and times each will get to spend time with your child.

4.     Do Not Delve Into the Details

You will have to stay organized during this time, as you don’t want your child to come across anything that they shouldn’t be seeing. Moreover, you will have to take certain precautions when discussing your divorce proceedings. You don’t want your child to witness both of you discussing matters that rile each other up. So, choose a time, place, and day to talk about this, away from home.

Children are the glue that keeps a family together and you want to keep that glue intact by being careful in how you both address each other in their presence.