Tips for Communication for People Participating in Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorney in orange county; California Divorce MediationThere are a large number of people who shy away from participating in divorce mediation simply because they are concerned about their ability to negotiate for themselves in the process. This is one of the main reasons why people that have an opposing spouse who is well versed in law and confident on finances shy away from mediation.

On the other hand though, they are aware that a better outcome to their divorce is available they agree in a a divorce mediation as opposed to fighting a case in litigation.  For such people the value of communication in mediation is beyond belief. Here are a few tips to help people communicate effectively in mediation.

Take the Mediator’s help

A divorce mediator in Orange County or elsewhere has an important role to play in a mediated divorce. While the decision and the discussions are done between the spouses, the role of a mediator is to channel their discussion into something constructive. If a spouse has issues with their communication abilities they have go up to the mediators and tell them their fears.

A mediator will typically tell the spouses that a mediation is not a litigation case, you don’t need to be very good a communicator, you only need to get the core of your message across to the other party. Once you do that, the decision is to be taken by the two spouses in combination and hence unless the weak communicating spouse is not happy with the solution, all they need to say is a “NO”.

Rise Above the Fear and the Worry

Going through a divorce is a stressful time nonetheless and in between such stress, one of the spouse may go overboard with his to her comments. The key for you is to not react and stand on your stance steadfast. The trick to communication is looking beyond the threats of the other spouse and looking at the fear behind their statements. Unless you are very good at communication, retorting back to such comments will lead the argument nowhere.

Get Strategic

When you are communicating you need to be strategic with your communications, looking to achieve some goals each time you speak.

  • Determine ways that you can use to get your point clearly across to the other person.
  • Be clear on what reaction you want out of the other person having said a certain word or a phrase.
  • The key to negotiation is give and take, identify what he wants the most and exchange it for what you want the most.
  • If you don’t like the offer reply back with an uncompromising No.
  • If the opposing party responds with a No, give them a little time to let your offer set in and then ask them again.

Communication is an important part of Orange County divorce mediation, but the most important part is your viewpoint. As long as you are clear on that you will be able to protect your interests in mediation.

When is the Best Time for Divorce Mediation?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County Family Mediation - Divorce Mediation; California Divorce MediationDivorce is not something any couple looks forward to when they tie the knot. When two people decide to enter wedlock, they are aiming for a happy, prosperous family life. Unfortunately not everyone gets to live that dream. There are many reasons that couples decide to part ways, some of them stronger than others. What is clear about a divorce though is that, it’s never a happy experience for the spouses.

For couples that are looking to avoid the public glare, the bitterness and feud mentality of litigation proceedings, Orange County divorce mediation seems the best bet. Yet even with this process the real challenge is finding the correct time to build a bridge over the distance, disillusionment and hurt to help both spouses reach each other for a solution. Divorce is almost always a major loss, resulting in the spouses undergoing various stages of conflict and grief.

What is the Best Time for Divorce Mediation?

In reality there is no best time for divorce mediation. Divorce is not a word that can associated with a positive unless in situations where one of the spouses has been subjected to abuse.  An Orange County divorce will always pain the two spouses, derive that sense of hurt and failure in them and so there is no best time for divorce. Yes, there might be an optimum time for spouses to bring up mediation, where both of them can make the most of the process and reach a low conflict solution.

For couples that are still functioning with one another for example, the question of a best time will never really come up. If you and your spouse have decided to mutually part ways, and continue to remain friends, you can undergo and Orange County divorce mediation anytime you want.

For couples who come to Orange County Divorce mediation to escape the hurt of court proceedings, optimum times for may vary. In such cases usually one of the spouses is looking for divorce while the other is reluctantly accepting it. These kinds of spouses are ones that will likely experience the most hurt and pain of the relationship ending. For such spouses, the optimum time to go through an Orange County divorce mediation is when the spouses have started to accept the notion of having to part ways.

Once they start to accept that partying of ways is now more than a thought, they will be able to reform their emotions and rally their mind to an acceptance. In such a case, the spouses will mellow down their emotions and be willing to negotiate and have an amicable solution. This is when Orange County divorce mediation will work best for them.

Orange County divorce mediation is a process that involves cordiality between the two spouses. It can only be worthwhile at a time when both of the spouses have accepted the fate of the relation and as a result are looking for less hurting solution.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner Seek Amicable Divorce and Co-Parenting Strategy

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsBen Affleck and Jennifer Garner, who made headlines after announcing the end to their 10-year marriage this past summer, have chosen to take the mediation approach to their divorce.

Media reports have described the divorce as “not contentious,” with the Hollywood actor couple choosing to settle their divorce amicably out of court for the sake of their three children — Violet, 9, Seraphina, 6, and Samuel, 3.  They are working with a mediator to resolve financial, property and custody issues and expedite the divorce process. Affleck, 42, and Garner, 43, will share joint custody of their children and intend to co-parent as equals.

In a joint official statement, the couple said, “We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time.” According to media reports, Affleck and Garner plan to continue living together on the family’s property in Brentwood, California, but in separate houses in order to effectively co-parent and focus on consistency for their children.

The decision to seek mediation is unusual as many divorcing celebrity couples tend to become involved in drawn-out court battles that often turn ugly. Mediation takes the drama out of divorce and keep things efficient for the sake of the family.  Adopting smart co-parenting strategies can ease the burden of divorce on children. Contentious divorces place the focus on seeking revenge, while amicable divorces involve setting egos aside and making children the top priority. Couples who manage to take a sensitive, selfless approach will ease the stressful nature of divorce on children, especially young ones.

Besides parenting issues, the couple also faces the task of dividing their assets. They are estimated to have combined wealth upwards of $115 million. The media has speculated that Affleck and Garner purposely announced their split one day after their tenth anniversary due to California’s spousal support laws. In California, a marriage that crosses the 10-year mark is considered long term, which affects the amount and length of spousal support. However, many of the state’s courts do not prefer to award lifetime spousal support if they feel that the lesser-earning spouse is able to support themselves. If the divorce involves a prenuptial agreement or decisions made during mediation, the judge may not even have to rule about spousal support.

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The Positive Impact of Divorce Mediation on Children

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County Divorce Mediators; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce is not well received by children. The last thing that any child would want is for their parents to call it quits with their relation and leave the family broken.  This is compounded even further when they decide to go for Orange County divorce litigation. Litigation involves both spouses fighting each other in court to get every inch of the divorce booty for themselves. This can have the gravest impact on children of the broken couple. Hence it is best that you keep litigation as the last resort.

A host of families that are breaking up have no complex issues to discuss and are usually straight forward cases of spousal incompatibility and asset division. Such cases should never end up in the Orange County family law court. Spouses should look to get their divorce alternative solutions to litigation that can save their children from the hate and bitterness of court proceedings.

What can it lead to in kids?

There can be a variety of things that can happen to a kid that goes though Orange County divorce mediation. It can lead to:

  • Personality changes
  • Gradual withdrawal from society and friends
  • Psychological issues such as depression etc.
  • Grades dropping

Over the long term, children from broken families that have gone through divorce litigation seem to be susceptible to failing relationship and divorces themselves.

A positive influence on kids

Orange County divorce mediation is process that stand in start opposition to litigation. Mediation allows the spouses to settle their disputes in an environment of harmony and cooperation. It is all about making sure that the two spouses sit down and converse and deliberate the issues at hand for them and end up reaching a logical, long lasting, acceptable solution.

For children that go through an Orange County divorce mediation, it is likely to have a positive impact on their lives. Since mediation is all about cooperation, seeing their parents go through mediation, would help the children avoid unneeded psychological and emotional damage.

Mediation is all about working with each other to produce a result that is mutually acceptable and beneficial for both spouses. This helps the parents keep cordial relations with one another and to keep on friendly if not amicable terms with each other. This will have positive impact on the children since they would be able to understand that while their parents are separating because its best for both of them. Neither hates the other and both will always be there united for the love, care and sake of their children.

Going through Orange County divorce mediation is a better bet to keep your children from getting affected by divorce. You should remember that children are your most valuable assets and you need to make sure that they are safe physically and emotionally from hurt and torment. Mediation helps them escape the torment.

Divorcing Couples Face Rising Use of Smartphones & Social Media as Evidence

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsThe use of evidence from smartphones and other wireless gadgets during divorce proceedings has increased over the past three years, according to 97 percent of the lawyers surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Among the types of evidence gathered, 46 percent consisted of text messages, while 30 percent were emails and 12 percent were call logs and phone numbers. App data, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds and more were also used.

The survey cited popular social media sites Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as being the top three used for divorce evidence by 41 percent, 17 percent and 16 percent of the surveyed attorneys respectively.

Social media can have a significant impact on divorce cases by opening up divorcing partners to scrutiny in court. In litigated divorces, opposing attorneys may dig up incriminating information from social media pages for one spouse to use against the other as evidence to prove anything from concealed assets to the breach of a prenuptial agreement.

For example, a parent “tweeting” about a night out could be perceived as being irresponsible towards their child, or a spouse sharing Instagram photos of a vacation could raise questions about their income.

So the bottom line is that you should monitor your behavior on social media. Ask yourself, if I post this, will it come back to haunt me later? If you are going through a divorce, err on the side of caution and refrain from using social networks until after the divorce. Otherwise, your online activities could come back to be a problem for you.

When it comes to divorce, an advantage of divorce mediation is privacy. Neither party is compelled to look through each other’s social media activity to find something incriminating to use. The divorcing partners can instead focus on looking forward and coming to an agreement regarding their futures, rather than reliving the past.

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Ending Your Divorce Case The Right Way

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsIdeally, couples that are going through divorce need to agree on everything, thus avoiding court and ensuring the best interest of the child is maintained. Yet an ideal situation is hard to find. You need to make the most of the current situation and get the best divorce solution despite not being on the best of terms. For this all you need to do is identify the primary reason that the two of you are getting divorced. Once you have identified the reason, you need to find a neutral, objective Orange County divorce mediator who can help facilitate the two of you as you look to fix your divorce case to logical conclusion.

There are a large number of skeptics that can get depressed at the failure of their marriage and leave their divorce to turn out just like their marriage. In reality, through irrespective of the state of your marriage you can have an amicable divorce resolution. You can fix the divorce process by choosing divorce mediation over traditional litigation.

Here is a lowdown on some powerful tools that Orange County divorce mediation give you:

1.      Mediation gives you the power to settle or not

Divorce couples often forget that when they go to a family law court for the solution of their divorce they are voluntarily giving up their right of decision making to the judge. The judge and your layer will have the power to decide and fight a case that is going to determine your future. A lawyer or a judge will have a number of cases in a day and will not know you or the state that you are in. They will look at the facts and fight a case based only on that.

2.      You are under control of the costs

Divorce in a court can be expensive to say the least. So unless you have a considerable amount to win from the division of assets, it is best that you go for mediation. Orange County divorce mediation allows you to control the costs of the process by talking the case along at your own pace and not having to pay the fees of lawyers etc. per hour. In mediation there is only a set amount that both of the spouses can spend, unlike litigation where your spending is heavily dependent on the amount your spouse spends.

3.      You get to learn law and negotiation

Mediation is a process that is carried out in the presence of three people only. You, your spouse and the Orange County divorce mediator of your choice. The mediators will along the process explain to you the legal obligations and rules that are best followed allowing you to get a better understanding of them. The hands-on approach in mediation makes sure the spouses negotiate with one another and end up getting the best solution for everyone.

Celebrity Divorce Brings Tax Issues to Forefront

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsIn a recent high-profile divorce, former “Baywatch” actress Pamela Anderson received $1 million in her settlement with poker player Rick Salomon.

The ex-couple, who had announced their marriage in January 2014, released a joint statement. “Public divorces can be harsh and cruel — we apologize to our families and friends for any hurt and embarrassment we have caused — we have come to an amicable agreement and are moving on,” they said.

Celebrity splits, including this one, tend to be prolonged litigated battles in which money matters take center stage. Divorce calls for skillful navigation through financial challenges as they emerge, often coupled with complicated tax rules.

Prior to reaching the settlement, Anderson had alleged that Salomon was a California resident who was evading taxes on his poker winnings of $40 million through his residency in Nevada, which does not have state taxes. She has now agreed not to challenge his residency.

Communication is essential when addressing finances, and mediation allows this to take place. Each spouse needs to consider their future taxes when dividing property. To avoid tax disputes and audits, divorcing couples should to come to an agreement about child support, alimony or property settlement.

In divorce, getting high basis property is better than low basis properly as splitting assets with a combination of both high and low bases allows each spouse to equalize their respective tax burdens in the future.

The IRS Publication 504 states that there is no limit on the amount of money or property that can be transferred tax-free between a divorcing couple. A property settlement is not tax deductible, while spousal support is tax deductible to the payer and taxable income to the recipient.

However, the situation is different with child support as it cannot be claimed as a tax deduction by the payer. Both spouses should consider their tax obligations thoroughly, which is why divorce mediation is a good option for divorcing couples because it allows them to determine what works best for them.

The Right Time to Bring Up Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County Family Mediation - Divorce Mediation; California Divorce MediationDivorce mediation is not a process that is time barred or opens for a limited time only. As long as your divorce case hasn’t had its first formal trial, you and your spouse can opt for a mediated solution to your divorce. The important thing about mediation though is that it is voluntary and needs consent from both parties.

Divorce mediation will depend on the way your propose divorce and the timing of your proposal. This blog will talk about the best times to propose Orange County divorce mediation to your spouse. Divorce has many branches. There are many aspects to a divorce. There is a financial divorce, an emotional divorce, a parenting divorce and a social divorce. Each of these has their own specific timing which will play a part in your spouse assenting to or dissenting to your mediation proposal.

Factors that determine When to bring up Mediation

·         Emotional

Whenever one of the spouses proposes the idea of divorce, the other spouse goes into an emotional divorce phase, where their first reaction is to go into a state of denial. Once this denial dilutes and reality starts to set in a spouse may experience feelings of anguish, angst, anger and sadness. This will not be the best time to propose mediation. Only once they come to terms with the idea, in a state of acceptance, should you propose mediation.

·         Financial

When there couples are going through a relatively tight financial spot and are looking to make important financial decisions. This is the best time to suggest Orange County divorce mediation for resolution of major issues. When both of the spouses are not comfortable with their finances, the low cost of mediation will generally pull your spouse towards itself.

·         Legal

As far as the legal aspect of divorce is concerned, you need to make sure the suggestion for divorce is made before the petition has been filled. You can use the reasoning of legal costs, maneuvering and lawyer expenses as reasons they should opt out of litigation and go for Orange County Mediation. Telling them how mediation will give them the authority to decide the issues for themselves instead of having to rely on a judge could help sway their decision.

·         Social

Does your spouse have meddling friends that seem to have an opinion on everything? Social acceptance of divorce is the last stage of divorce before the actual divorce happens. Friends and family are often under the influence that litigation and opposed to mediation is a chance to get a larger portion of the assets. Before such friends harden the viewpoint of your spouse against Orange County divorce mediation, you need to speak to your spouse about it.

Checking Your Readiness for Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsA divorce can be a test of emotions and depth of person. To get divorced and end one’s long standing relation can be a tough task even for the most emotionally sound spouses. The misery of going through a divorce can often be compounded by bitter feuds developing in court proceedings over it.

This is why a large number of people are turning to Orange County divorce mediation. Mediation is a different process to court led divorce and can give spouses more freedom to exercise their will. While mediation is a good option for divorcing parties, there are some factors to consider before deciding on its appropriateness for you.

To help you decide if you are tailor-made for Orange County divorce mediation or not, here is the list of a few questions that you need to ask yourself. This test can be used by either of the spouse and needs no additional members. Make sure that the answers to the question are genuine and under no stress or pressure whatsoever. If that is the case, the validity of the test might be affected.

Questions to Test Readiness for Mediation

  • Are you ready to get divorced?
  • Are you not willing to reconcile or talk things out once again with your fellow spouse?
  • Do you oppose going to court and instead are willing to go to an Orange County mediator to sort your divorce issues out?
  • Are looking to have reasonable, amicable, and courteous relations with your spouse?
  • Do you think retribution, hatred, and blame games need to be ended and a fair agreement reached between the two parties?
  • Are you able to trust your spouse? Will you be able to agree to their version of events (not entirely though) and their declaration of assets etc?
  • Can you stand up against your spouse for you own rights and not be intimidated by them?
  • Can you disagree with your spouse without having to react remorsefully in the latter half of your life?
  • Do you think your spouse has the same level of respect and admiration for you like you have for them?
  • Do you expect your spouse to be fair in their dealings?
  • Are you sound mentally and physically?
  • Are you able to communicate your needs and wants and your viewpoints clearly enough to the other party?
  • Are you confident your relation did not have traces of physical abuse or violence?
  • Are you confident your relation did not have traces of substance abuse or drug abuse?
  • Can you trust the parenting skills of your spouse?
  • Do you love your children and would like to keep them away from the infighting between their parents?

If the answers to all of the questions are a yes, you are a good candidate for Orange County divorce mediation. The last 5 questions are important, any no with regards to lack of trust, physical or drug abuse can make the mediation process a waste of time.

Tips for Divorce Mediation with High Conflict Personalities

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorney Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce itself can be a challenging process. It can leave you emotionally and physically drained. This misery can be compounded to a whole new level when you undergo a divorce with a high conflict personality spouse.

High conflict personalities can be extremely challenging to deal with when it comes to divorce in general and Orange County divorce mediation in particular. This piece is covered in two blogs with some tips covered in this blog, while the other covered in an upcoming blog.

Before highlighting a few tips to help you deal with high conflict personalities through your Orange County divorce mediation. We need to take a look at the characteristics that define a High conflict spouse.

Characteristics of High Conflict Personality Spouses

The four primary characteristics they have are:

  • An approach to have everything for want nothing
  • Stick religiously to blaming others for any and every fault in their life.
  • Inappropriate and at times extreme behavior that is often unexplainable.
  • Lack of emotional management, which leads to exaggerated, unmanaged emotions.

Other characteristics of such personalities can be:

  • Being self centered
  • Lack of foresight between their actions and its repercussions
  • Manipulation of situation to fit into their own version of events
  • Cognitive distortions
  • A tendency to get into interpersonal conflicts
  • Being Unreasonable
  • Like to view themselves as victims in any conflict
  • Have a troubled past
  • Can make minor problems into major ones at will

Tips to Mediate with Such Personalities

Once the characteristics of the high conflict personality are clear, let’s take a look at a few trips to deal with such spouses in Orange County mediation.

  • At the start of the mediation process, be clear and confident about the fact that the other spouse is not in charge.
  • In mediation you are usually required to make opening statements. Instead of this, give the high conflict personality spouse the chance to speak about what they are willing to achieve from this process. What do they think is the best proposal for both the spouses?
  • Don’t expect your spouse to identify your interest and needs. HCP spouses are bad at thinking out of the box and are too self-centered to care about you. You need to be clear with each of your want and need from the outset, showing your tenacity to get what you want.
  • High conflict spouses usually go into any form of discussion with simply one solution in mind. The best way to deal with that is to present their solution as a proposal and highlight how this proposal is what will ultimately lead to a solution.
  • Orange County divorce mediation is all about courteousness and respect. You need to treat your spouse with respect, give them respect, and understand their viewpoints. Show them you are willing to listen to their points.