Common Divorce Problems Created By The Spouses

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorney Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen a couple decides to divorce, there are many emotions that each spouse can often feel which includes anger, hate, disappointment and self pity. While these emotions are acceptable since divorce can be hard to grapple with, it is important to make sure that the process is not complicated by problems created by the parties themselves.

In our experience as California divorce mediators, unfortunately we have come across a number of spouses creating problems in their mediation process and ultimately in then resolution of their cases.  Here is a list of some of these common problems that couples create.

Financial Inaccuracy

Whether you like it or you don’t, the role of finances is one of the most important ones in divorce. For things in the marriage to go as smoothly as possible both of then spouses need to ensure accuracy of data provided and be truthful in their assertions. Orange County divorce mediation is not litigation; there is no judge that you want to fool around with.  You need to work with them to produce an effective solution and lying about your financial assets may decrease the effectiveness of the process.

Bringing the Past in the Present

The problems that you have had to face in your relation are ones that only you can understand. No mediator can gauge the trouble and torment that you went through. Yet, what you need to understand is that focusing on then past and bringing it up in mediation discussion will only create further problems for the future. The other spouse may start to get cranky or uneasy, ruining the amicable atmosphere needed for a divorce to conclude within a reasonable time.  work.

Not Compromising and Being Rigid

The term mediation means compromising and reaching a solution between one another. Compromising and accepting the view point of the other party is an important step in mediation. Two spouses will often have two solutions in mind; neither of them can enforce their own on the other. For a mediation to be effective both of them need to accept some of the demands of the other to reach a mutually acceptable decision.

Thinking About Everything but the Kids

Being a parent means that the single most important thing for parents is their kids. They want to make sure that their kids are kept safe and have a healthy future up ahead. In such situations, the biggest problem you can create is forgetting about the interests of your kids and their future while you go through Orange County divorce mediation with the other spouse.

Myths of Premarital Agreements

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsPrenuptial (premarital) agreements have become a tool that spouses and couples are increasingly using to shore up the finances and even up the post-marital distribution of assets to avoid any kind of issues after separation. Despite the emerging presence of prenuptial agreements, there continue to be a number of myths about prenuptial agreements.  Here is a list of some of these myths:

Prenups are just for wealthy people

That perception is based on the past. People believe that premarital agreements are for the wealthy couples. In reality that is not the case. Prenups are for anyone that has the slightest bit of confidence in their abilities and knows that they’ll reach a nice financial position in live. While you may not be rich, you’ll want to have successful marriage. Prenuptial agreements clearly lay down the financial status of the spouses leaving little to imagination and allowing for a open and honest relation.

Prenups favor the rich spouse more than the poor one

Once again this is a perception rooted in the past. Today, prenuptial agreements only exist when they are fair to both spouses and if they protect the interests of both. Unfair prenups that take the side of one party and unduly miserly on the other spouse will not hold any legal authority. Prenuptial agreements are used as a clear cut division of assets predetermined in the event of a divorce instead of a tool to save your assets and monetary belongings.

Prenups need to be extensive, detailed and should have all the details in the world

The fact of the matter is, that is not the case at all. Prenuptial agreements are designed to determine the post Orange County divorce status of some, many or all aspects of finances, etc. It is actually dependent on the two spouses making the agreement to determine what it would cover and what it shouldn’t. A prenuptial agreement needs not be extensive it can include even a few things.

Prenups are unromantic and can ruin a marriage

Knowing something is better than living in its ignorance. There are some people that believe a prenuptial agreement which is effectively a part of the planning for a divorce. This in reality is not the case; prenuptial agreements are not made simply in anticipation of a divorce. If anything they are created to make sure the two spouses are clear on the financial issues and avoid any bitterness in case they go through a divorce.

Top 5 Issues in Orange County Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsOrange County divorce mediation is becoming a more preferable alternative to traditional divorce litigation. A number of people are looking towards this new method as means to end their relationship peacefully without hassle. Yet, most people who are interested in mediation are reluctant to try this new method since they are unaware of the issues that mediation can handle.

Here is a lowdown on some of the leading issues that Orange County divorce mediation can handle:

Child Custody

Which spouse gets the custody of the spouse? Will it be a joint custody and what will be the visitation hours are all important issues that need to decide after a couple decides to end their relation. Children are one of the most important assets and should be dealt with by care. There are two types of physical custody available in Orange County family law; one is physical custody and the other legal custody. Spouses attending mediation are not quite bound by these laws; hence can often workout a workable parenting plan between themselves in the best favor of the child.

Spousal Support

Spousal support is another issue that can be mutually decided between spouses in Orange County Divorce mediation. Spousal support simply put is a payment made by the spouse that earns to then stay at home spouse to make sure they are able to sustain their lifestyle. The idea behind this payment is to make sure that the spouse that stays at home is not but at a disadvantage to the earning spouse.

Child Support

One of the leading issues of an Orange County divorce is with regards to child support. This simply means the payment that needs to be paid to maintain and guarantee the betterment of the child and to safeguard their future. While the law in California has a special way and set rules to decide how each of the spouses need to pay the support to the spouse who has the custody of the child, in an Orange County divorce mediation things are different. There is a realization that no two situations are same and spouses can decide mutually any amount that they see fit and just for their child.

Division of Debt

Debt division is an important issue, which unfortunately must come up in all divorce mediation cases. While asset division is thought to be one aspect which can result in conflicts between spouses, debt division can also divide opinions. Yet handling and dividing of debt is an important debt that comes up in mediation cases.

Property Division

Division of asset is an important part of your divorce case irrespective of whether it is mediation or litigation. In mediation spouses will have the chance to decide on their asset division in a more flexible comfortable way that can help both the parties in their future endeavors.

The Better Divorce – A Team Effort

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorney; California Divorce MediatorsIs there ever a “good” divorce? The concept of a perfect divorce is essentially a flawed one. A divorce in itself is a sign of imperfection and a failure in terms of the relation between the spouses. Divorce is not something that spouses plan for and yet it is something that continues to happen day in and day out.

While there may be no concept of a good or perfect divorce, is there are a better way to end the relation with your spouse so that neither of you feel betrayed at how the relationship ended? There certainly is, here is a low down on the better way to divorce your spouse.

Divorce mediation: the better way to divorce

Divorce mediations are carried out by divorce mediators. These people are responsible for maintaining that the divorce goes on smoothly, with both the spouses talking their differences out and reaching a mutually acceptable decision. Mediation is one of the fastest and easiest ways for two spouses to part ways but there are a number of things that need to be maintained in order to make sure that mediation works.

Time, effort and effective communication are just a few of the many ingredients needed in a successful mediation proceeding. The key to a good mediation is cooperation. Here is a list of a few tips to make sure divorce mediation works.

·         Open communication

One of the things that makes divorce mediation a perfectly acceptable process for most spouses is because of its transparency. Both the spouses involved in the process and the mediator conducting the mediation need to be kept in the loop with all then happenings of the case. Once you have committed to solving your marital issue using mediation you need to be open to effective and detailed communication with your spouse amicably.

·         Come to mediation with an open mind

Before most spouses come to divorce mediation, they will have drawn up certain solutions and scenarios that they may be willing to accept. While that is a healthy approach allowing you to have a solution in mind during your negotiations, you should not be rigid with your solution. As you go through Orange County divorce mediation, newer solutions may be flaunted and you find them acceptable. It is okay to move away from you pre-set solution and agree to the one being suggested by your spouse.

·         Willingness to cooperate

You may not be happy with your spouse on their decision to part ways, but once you have become part of mediation process. The key to success is making sure you are ready to cooperate and work together with them to find a solution. You should realize that it your future that is being decided and you should make sure it is for the best.

When Friends and Family Can Hinder Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce is something each and every person looks to avoid. The purpose of getting married is never to end up divorced and yet there are often situations where the only way to make sure that the lives of both the spouses continue normally is for them to part ways.

Most cases of divorce can often be settled out of court, using a number of alternative dispute resolution methods, such as Orange County divorce mediation. What most spouses don’t realize is that, when they are going through a divorce the support of their family and friends is integral.

Family and Friends–The Supporting Cast

Going through a divorce can be hard. There is a lot of anger and grief within the person. In such situations the importance of their friends and family rallying around them and offering the spouse their utmost support can make all the difference. Although most spouses don’t know it, when you have your loved ones backing your decisions it can instill confidence and confidence at a time when you are facing the unlikely task of having to part ways with your spouse is important.

Family and Friends A Hiccup?

There are primarily two ways to divorce, one is through the courts and the other is through mediation. The support of friends and family is important in the process of litigation when you are fighting a battle against the other spouse, in mediation though that support can ruin the chances of its success.

When you are aggrieved at the other spouse and their actions, your friends and family will almost naturally side with you. They will support you not only moral but emotional support to get through the crisis unscathed. Sometimes this emotional help can be in the way of channeling your anger towards the other spouse. Making sure they join you in your fury and anger over their actions which led to the downfall of this relation.

While this may be good for litigation it can prove disastrous for Orange County divorce mediation. The process of mediation is all about making sure that the two spouses sit together and resolve their issues through mutual consultation. Mediation empowers the two spouses to come up with and agree on the solutions to their problems. Led by divorce mediators they are ideally held in healthy atmosphere with both parties comfortable with the other.

If the support of your friends and family starts to fuel your anger towards your spouse, it is going to show in the mediation. You may start to curse the other spouse, make sure his or her demands are not agreed upon etc. This is an illogical way to deal with mediation and one that could not only waste your time, but it could also mean the failure of the process.

So while the support of friends and family is important it should be well within the limits.

Divorce Mediation Is Slowly Replacing Litigation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County Family Mediation - Divorce Mediation; California Divorce MediationThe media in California was full of the news this past summer that actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner were looking to divorce and that their preferred method for their divorce was divorce mediation. Back in the day when couples opted to divorce, most of them went straight to court for resolution of their divorce. They would be flanked by lawyers and would battle it out against one another in front of the Judge leaving the decision of their fates in the hand of the Judge.

The choice of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner to peacefully end their relationship using divorce mediation shows a shift from litigation to mediation.

Changing Times

Divorce mediation is often being used by celebrities one because it allows them to maintain their privacy and reach a resolution. One of the responsibilities of a divorce mediator is to keep whatever is being discussed between the spouses private unless it is a matter of threat to the national security or other such extrapolated reasons.

One of the reasons why most spouses opted for litigation was because it allowed them to battle it out with their spouse, slandering them and destroying their future using their high powered lawyers.  This is often a reasoning used by spouses who are angry at the conduct of their spouses and want to teach them a lesson.

A Better Alternative

While you may want to teach your spouse a lesson using litigation, have you ever thought what kind of a message that would give to your children? When children are involved in a divorce the type of divorce needs to change for their benefit. Using litigation where both the spouses are fighting against one another will damage the children mentally as much as emotionally.

Divorce in itself can be a hard task for children to go through; the fact that they will be unable to have the love of one of their parent at a time will take some getting used to. Over burdening those in the knowledge that their parents hate each other and are not able to stand on another will only add to their torment.

One of the reasons why divorce mediation is more of a preferred option over litigation as the first choice not only for celebrities but also the general public is because it not only helps soothe the process at this point of time, it also sets up for a amicable future between the two spouses.

The whole process of divorce mediation is run by two spouses themselves. They will have to mutually talk about the issues they face and agree on a solution that leaves both of them satisfied. When the spouses are able to do that, it will harness a healthy communicative relationship between them, where they can continue to communicate for the betterment of their children.

Divorce Mediators Are The Neutral Facilitators Of Settlements

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce Mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsMediation in general and divorce mediation in particular are not one way procedures that have their techniques defined and laid out in particular patterns. The style of mediation and the direction that your divorce mediation will take depends largely on the course of action that is adopted by the particular mediator.

There are many types that can be adopted, a facilitative approach, a transformational approach, and an evaluative approach. The core of mediation is not rigid; there is vast variety on how mediators use these techniques to make divorce easier for their clients. It is largely down to these distinctions that mediation can be laid down as an art more than a science.

The Importance of The Mediator

In areas of divorce mediation, the importance of the mediator is obvious, who helps guide the process with his or her knowledge of the law, personality traits, and ability to communicate. A mediator can interject their legal opinion, but should not automatically do so unless requested by the parties.  A mediator is not a judge so they should not proceed as one.  Rather, they are there to help the parties bridge the differences in their positions without imposing their own “decision.”

Primary Role is to Inform and Not Advise

Divorce mediators are not allowed to give legal advice per se because of their role as neutral facilitators and not advocates for either party.  However, they can inform the parties about the legal aspects.  To inform is to objectively identify some elements of law that have not been or need to be fulfilled in order to make the divorce mediation as success.

During divorce mediation, couples will discuss a range of issues.  During such discussions, a mediator’s job is not to interfere or control the discussion unless there is an impasse.  They will only look to make sure that the discussion goes on smoothly and heads in the right direction, i.e. resolution.

Parenting Tips To Follow During & After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsEven when parents go through a divorce, the first thing on their mind is always the best interests of their children. Parenting is one of the most important aspects in your post-separation and post-divorce life and making sure that your children are not neglected once the two spouses have separated is a big challenge.

When parents go through divorce mediation as opposed to contentious litigation, they are better able to decide on effective co-parenting procedures, visitations and custody arrangements. Some of which may involve the children living apart from you.  Here are a few tips to help you pull it off effective parenting:

  1. Stay connected with them using emails, video chatting, and cards.  While the world may have moved on from the old ways of communication, a card or a letter that’s inspirational and funny can really melt the heart of your child. You child needs to know that he or she continues to be the center of your affection even after your divorce.
  2. If your child is not a teen yet, they will have different needs that you’ll need to care for despite not being there with them. The simplest thing you can do is to tell them a bed-time tale before they sleep, on the phone. It would be best if you each have the book that is being read so that each of you can turn the pages like the other making it a more interactive, loving experience.
  3. Keep in contact with them frequently.  Your primary aim as a parent during and after divorce is to make sure that your child is comfortable, safe and secure. You can only do that if you have frequent contact with them.
  4. Remember you are not the only parent to the child. If your child is in the custody of the other spouse after your divorce, it is crucial that you realize that and refrain from trying to run your child’s life the way you want. You should have the belief in the other spouse to take good care of your child and not try to assert too much control on what happens at the other parent’s home.

15 Ways to Be Happy Post-Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsGoing through a divorce may be hard, but getting over a divorce is not easy either. Once you have gone through a divorce with your spouse, usually you’ll feel tired, bogged down or even emotionally unstable to some extent. These are indications that your divorce has left you drained to the core. Irrespective of the divorce procedure adopted, once you have gone through a divorce, you’ll need to start being happy.

Here are 15 ways you can bring the happiness and the joy back in your life post divorce:

1.     Seek Inspiration

Go online or surf through the quotation books and write the most inspirational quotes that resonate with your situation and post them throughout your house and work in different parts, so that each time of the day when you look at them you feel inspired.

2.     Be Firm in Your Resolve to Recover

You can never recover from your divorce unless you are looking to recover from it. Make sure you are hell-bent on healing and it will eventually follow.

3.     Laugh Your Way Through It

Laughter is the best remedy. When you start to think of your ex or what might have been, put on a funny DVD on your favorite standup comedians and enjoy the show.

4.     Listen to Uplighting, Fun Music

Close the curtains, close the door, power up the music and fire away. Sing, dance, just let your free spirit out and let it enjoy the music.

5.     Delve into Books

If you are a fan of reading, instead of letting your mind wander off in the events of your divorce, simply grab a good book that soothes your soul or captures your imagination.

6.     Find an Affirmation

When you are going through a rough patch, it is important that you develop a motto, an affirmation that you can tell yourself everyday when the going gets tough to keep your morale up.

7.     Go Outside

Nature is the best healer, get outside, walk in the sunshine, smell the flowers and have a nice walk through the garden, all of these will help you erase the gloom in your life.

8.     Help the Less Fortunate

You situation may be bad, but when you help someone less fortunate, you’ll see how their situation is even worse. Helping someone in need will also make you feel emotionally and spiritually good.

9.     Get a Pet

You need a distraction in life and raising a pet could be just that, and they are often excellent companions.

10.   Avoid Drowning Your Sorrow

Cut down or limit consumption of beer, wine and cocktails.  Alcohol is only a temporarily relief that can sometimes lead to other problems.  Find other avenues of relief, like exercise.

11.  Get Creative

Bake a cake if you love to bake; if you are into art make a painting; create a sculpture, since art and creativity are the best release of emotions.

12.  Reach Out to Family

When you are down and out, seek refuge with your family, they’ll show you the care and the love you deserve.

13.  Reach out to Friends

Talk to our friends, tell them you have gone through divorce and the best ones will rush to your side and make sure you are happy.

14.  Sleep Well

There may well be sleepless night, but for your health and your happiness, try to get a good night’s sleep as often as possible.

15.  Go Through Mediation for Divorce

If you want to get divorced, make sure you choose a method that is consultative and empowering which lets you take the decision of your divorce yourself and continue to be on amicable terms with your ex spouse.  Divorce mediation will make the divorce process easier, and in turn, it will make the post-divorce recovery much smoother and quicker.

Divorce and Retirement Plans

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation orange county; California Divorce MediatorsA divorce itself can be a complex and tight affair. Add retirement plans to your already complex divorce and you have lots of things to deal with.  There is a term used in divorce cases known as deferred compensation. This is a word used to refer to 401K plans, pension plans and other assets of retirement. There are a number of ways that these plans can be made divisible regardless of them being one party or the other in a settlement agreement.

Their division usually depends on the nature and the value of the asset. Here is a list of a few common retirement asset types.

·         Saving Plans

These are plans such as the ESOPs, 401k plans, Thrift saving plans, IRAs etc.

·         Defined Contribution Plans

A define contribution plan is different to a savings plan. The value of this plan is determined with respect to the contributions that are made to this plan over the course. The money invested in such plans can be invested and can grow.

·         Defined Benefit Plans

A defined benefit plan is one plan that compensates the spouse once they have retired to the date when their life time ends. This is usually done through a monthly payment every month for the rest of their lives.

Dividing Saving Plans

Saving plans are considered cash plan and hence can be divided as part of a divorce between two spouses. They can be liquidated, but before the liquidation happens, it is important that the accounts custodian is given a certified copy that has the court order clearly written down on it. The IRA proceeds can either be directly paid to the spouses or they may be used to make two separate IRA accounts for both the spouses.  This could however result in a loss of the 30% for taxes as a penalty for early withdrawal.

Dividing Defined Contribution Plans

Before defined contribution plans can be divided because of a divorce between two spouses, they’ll need to be valued. Their valuation is carried out by multiplying the vesting percentage to the balance of the account. Generally when such plans are divided each spouse gets one half of the vested current value of the plan.

Diving Defined Benefit Plans

The workings of a defined benefits plan are different to the above mentioned retirement plans. In such plans the benefits of the participants will not be liquidated before the retirement age of the owner spouse is reached. Once the age is reached the participant spouse will receive her retirement plan in her name with respect to the marital interest they have in the participant’s plan. This plane given to the spouse will also have the same terms and conditions as the original retirement plan has.