What Are The Common Reasons For Divorce In The U.S.?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce Mediators50% of all marriages ending in divorce in the United States is, unfortunately, a fact. Differences in income levels, personalities, education and physical appearances are just some of the many reasons why so many couples are getting divorced in the U.S. and experts and therapists say that these reasons are very trivial especially after having spent so many years of their lives together.

Divorce statistics in the United States 

No doubt the rate of divorce has been significantly increasing since the 1990’s especially after divorces could be settled out of court and child support and alimony was introduced by states in the U.S. Couples didn’t feel the need to stay married to each other with all the benefits being offered to them by the state governments.

Now, the average length of a happy marriage in the U.S. is claimed to be only a shocking 11 years. According to a recent and interesting study conducted by the American Law and Economics Review Board, a little more than two-thirds of divorces in the U.S. are filed by women. Even though the rate differs slightly from state to state, by the end of the 20th century, 70% of women in most states were the ones filing for a divorce.

Common reasons for divorce in the United States 

Marriage therapists and counselors in the U.S. say that shockingly enough the main reasons why so many couples are getting divorced so fast is due to the simplest and most futile reasons. The most common ones are –

  1. Society – the number 1 reason for divorce in the United States is either one party getting married for the wrong reasons such as money or because they thought they had to get married before reaching a certain age.
  1. Lack of individuality – ‘couple dumb’ is a syndrome where either the man or the woman are incapable of doing anything interesting without the other person around. Having their own interests and the freedom to express themselves and involve themselves in their own hobbies, likes, interests, etc. is vital in order to maintain a sense of individuality and enjoy their own personalities.
  1. Financial dependency or difference in incomes – when one partner becomes financially dependent on the other is when problems start to arise as the other partner automatically begins to call all the shots when it comes to how and when to spend money. Major differences in incomes earned by husband and wife can also be grounds for calling it quits as whoever is earning more tends to stand on a pedestal in the relationship.

Other common reasons for divorce in the U.S. include either partner “changing” after marriage, unmet expectations, loss of intimacy, and forgetting your role in the relationship.

If parties have grown too far apart for whatever reason that remedying the problems of the marriage or reconciling, then divorce may unfortunately be the final outcome of the marriage.  If that is the situation, then divorce mediation is generally the better way to end your marriage without making the relationship even worse, especially when children are involved.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.

The Difference Between Divorce Attorneys And Divorce Mediators

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in Orange CountyMediation is a way of resolving any issues or disputes that may arise between the couple, and is handled by a third party member, who can listen to both the people involved, and come to a conclusive decision. It is an effective way of managing divorce settlements, because everyone present can give their own inputs, talk about the own requirements and come to a negotiation. The husband and wife can take control over the matters themselves, and decide what would be best for them and their family, with the help of the mediator. In divorce litigation, there’s no single person overseeing the discussion. Both the husband and the wife need to hire their own attorneys who argue their cases.

The major difference

While a mediator isn’t representing either parties, and is acting as a neutral third person who has the husband’s and also the wife’s interests in mind, a divorce attorney cannot represent them both. He can be hired by either one of them, while the other hires their own divorce attorney to argue their case.

Legal expertise of a lawyer can be helpful even when the husband and wife are agreeing in most cases and have a fairly good idea of how they want the proceedings to go. This is because sometimes, in cases where the assets that need to be divided are too large, only an expert with proper financial knowledge can help in doing so. A lawyer is usually hired when the parties are conflicting, because in that case, they need someone who can help them in appealing their case and trying to direct the divorce in their favor. Custody battles are one of those issues, where both parents are likely to want to keep their children with them. This is where the lawyer can come in and try to prove why his client is better suited for taking care of the kids.

Amicable divorce

When the divorce is amicable, and the parties involved see eye-to-eye, then hiring a mediator can be the wiser decision. They are good at coming up with solutions for any issues that might come up during planning of the divorce. Also, hiring a mediator is a lot less expensive than hiring a lawyer, and usually the husband and wife share the fee.

The husband and wife can still hire their own individual attorneys, after having consulted a mediator, for additional advice and his expertise.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.

How To Select The Best Divorce Mediator For You

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorney in orange county; California Divorce MediationA mediator is a neutral third party, who sits down with the two people who want a divorce, and discusses their arrangement, what works for them and what doesn’t. They have to be really good at resolving any issues that might come up during the discussion, by coming up with solutions that are agreeable to both parties. This is no easy feat, by any means, and hence finding the right person for the job can be very difficult. However, there are a few things that you should particularly look for, when trying to find a good divorce mediator.

Look for a committed mediator

First and foremost, your mediator should be committed to divorce mediation, meaning that he or she truly believes in it and not simply as a secondary option. If the person you have decided on is also a divorce litigation attorney who is also a trained mediator, that’s okay as long as that person can recognize what cases can and should be mediated, and those that should be litigated, without the cost thereof being the determining factor. They have to be compassionate, listening to both the side and keeping both their requirements in mind, in order to come up with something negotiable. In order to ensure that the family remains emotionally stable, they need to be able to genuinely care for what might be the best solution for everyone. They also have to have a thorough understanding of financial matters, when handling settlement for various assets.

Check the mediator’s background

For someone who needs to discuss child custody, you should approach a mediator who has a background in therapy and understands family dynamics. A divorce causes a bigger impact on the lives of children than it does on the parents. Therefore, their welfare has to be kept in mind. They must also showcase a practical approach to handling these situations, instead of getting swayed away by emotions, because that may lead to some unfair judgments.  They should also be well-educated about the law regarding this matter, and be able to explain things concerning the divorce to both parties, thoroughly. He would talk about the option of hiring divorce lawyers, what that would involve, how things might proceed in the court and what the likely result would be.

Lastly, a good mediator is one who offers his services at a reasonable cost. If divorce mediation costs just as high as the whole process of the divorce usually is, then it might be even more difficult for people to go ahead with the proceedings.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.

Can Divorce Mediators Handle Cases of Domestic Violence?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County domestic violence attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsDid you know that according to a study, nearly half of couples that live in America have encountered some form of domestic abuse? This means that there is a chance that any marriage that goes towards a divorce will have traces of domestic violence in it.

Typically, cases of out and out domestic abuse are brought before the law, with the courts treading with caution in their dealing of the case. However, with more and more people opting for divorce mediation instead of litigation, the question is whether mediation can handle cases of domestic violence? Especially, because in most cases, the evidence comes to light only once the process has begun.

What Should They Do?

A domestic violence abuse is a serious offence. The issue needs to be handled with care. If such an accusation comes to light in front of a divorce mediator, they will have to follow the standard protocol of couple screening to judge whether they are capable of mediation. The aim of the procedure is to take a look at the balance of power that exists between the two spouses. Which spouse dominates the other and if there is any such threat of the physical or emotional abuse happening again.

The most important thing to realize about mediation is that one of the foremost priorities of a divorce mediator is to ensure the safety of the parties involved in the proceedings.

Can Domestic Violence work as the basis of a Divorce Case?

There is no right answer to this question and the answer will largely depend on the extent of the abuse, the nature of the abuse and the continuity of the abuse. One of the reasons why a spouse decides to end their relation has got to do with them not feeling happy in their marriage. Sometimes, this may be because of physical abuse, other times, it might be due to emotional abuse.

The mere presence of domestic violence in a divorce case though, doesn’t make it impossible to mediate. If, for example, the domestic violence took place a long time ago, or if it took place in a one-time instance, it might not have the same effect as a recurring one would perhaps have.

Steps Taken in Such Cases

If the couple does decide to go ahead with divorce mediation, there are a number of steps that the mediator might take to ensure a safe and smooth process. Here is a low down on some of the steps that might be taken:

  • Arrange for exclusive communications
  • Have separate mediation sessions

Whether it is litigation or mediation, no method condones domestic violence. Unlike the court’s iron stamp, mediation is more cooperative in nature. Yet, to deal with cases of domestic violence, the approach and tactics are typically changed.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.

Determining Boundaries of Step-Parents in Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce mediators; California divorce mediatorsIf you were given the chance of having to choose a companion for your child post-divorce, which one would you choose, a new adult best friend or a new step-parent? Ideally, most parents would choose the former. Yet, the issue of a step-parent can have its lasting repercussions, primarily because they can plant the foundations of conflict at a time when both the child and the parent are going through the pain of divorce.

What is an over-stepping step-parent?

There is no set formula used to describe what an overstepping step-parent is. The answer lies in the eyes of the co-parent. First up, the influence of a new person may not be welcomed by your ex- spouse, since to them, it would seem like they are being replaced. Yet, sometimes their complaints should be paid attention to.

When you are in Orange County divorce mediation, this topic is likely to come up. Here is what you need to do if such a situation arises and how can you deal with it.

·        Listen to what the other parent says

When your co-parent allays their fear to you, the first thing you should do is talk to them and encourage them to speak up. Remember, the kid is as much yours as it is theirs and their concerns should be taken validly and seriously.  Only when you have the details, will you be able to decide whether their complaint is based on actual grounds or mere insecurity.

·        Make a list of the issues that they have

During your divorce mediation, you should ideally make a list of the things that the other parent is uncomfortable about with regards to your child’s step-parent. A list would help you clearly mark what can be done and what can’t. A list could also contain the bare minimum things the step parent can do. Such as:

  • Attend Parent-Teacher conferences
  • Go to volunteer in your child’s classroom
  • Help the child with their school projects
  • Give their input regarding a decision in the child’s life
  • Coach your child’s sport teams at least once a year or so

·        Correct it if you see fit

The most important thing to understand is that just because the other spouse allayed their fears to you in divorce mediation doesn’t mean you have to act. The decision to act is yours. As long as you have child custody, the child is your responsibility. You should only act if you think that the fears of the other parent are based in fact. If that is the case, you can have a civil discussion with the step-parent and highlight the issues, clearly demarcating what they can and cannot do in relation to the child.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.

Finding Out Why Divorce Is So Hard

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation lawyers; California Divorce Mediators“Going through an Orange County divorce is difficult.” This is because you cannot describe divorce in another way. It is emotionally disturbing, makes you feel depressed, paralyzed, helpless and betrayed. You can feel lost and sad all the time. The good thing though, is that you are not alone in these feelings. Almost everyone that goes through an Orange County divorce experiences such issues.

Yet, this blog goes beyond the rhetoric and actually highlights why divorce is really so hard. If you thought the death of a loved one was bad, divorce can often be three times worse. Here is how and why.

End of a Long Term Relation

Most marriages can be long. Even if the marriage isn’t long, the period of the relationship can be longer. When such a relation that has spanned for most of your youth ends, it is the end of life as you knew it. The fact that you are no longer with your spouse, and that you no longer have them to support you or appreciate you, can sting. They are left with a void that unfortunately you may struggle to fill, causing pain.

The End of a Theory

If you have read a fairytale, you’ll know that everything back in your childhood ended with a happily ever after. This is a romantic notion that we are taught through the course of our life. With an Orange County divorce, this notion comes crashing down. This highlights that something we had believed in, and hoped would happen, was nothing more than a fantasy. Real life is different to the reel life. This results in people experiencing humiliation, having seen their beliefs being proved wrong and their hopes mocked.

Lack of Trust

For most people that grew up in a household where the marriage of their parents was intact, marriage is a corner stone to build your life around. And your spouse was someone that you could trust to never betray you. However, if you have experienced marital betrayal or domestic abuse which is the reason for your Orange County divorce, you may feel wronged. This feeling of being cheated upon can hurt people through the course of their life.

Despite the hurt being real, what you need to realize is that a divorce is not the end of the world. There are possibilities that need to be explored and a life that needs to be lived even if you have gone through a divorce.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.

What Happens When You Don’t Want To Talk In Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce Mediation“I don’t want to talk to my ex in mediation.”  This is a common issue that Orange County divorce mediators have to deal with regularly. Some spouses that come to Orange County divorce mediation may come for the mediation process because they want to avoid the delay of litigation, even though they have a distinct hatred of their spouse in their hearts. Such spouses would often want to stay away from the other spouse. But how would mediation work when two spouses don’t even want to be in the same room?

Mediators Waving their Magic Wands

An Orange County divorce mediator is part of a mediation process for a reason. That reason is their supreme skills to make two warring parties communicate and settle down. There is an important saying in mediation that “A mediator urges warring parties to settle down in their differences rather than settle down their differences.” This is exactly what they are tasked with, even in such a situation.

They will need to take some of the sting, hatred and drama out of the divorce. Making sure that first up, the spouses are focused on the proceedings at hand and secondly, are aware of the life altering effect these decisions will have.

Yes, a spouse may not want to talk to the other spouse, it is perfectly natural. Yet, an Orange County mediator will need to outline to them just how important communication and effective resolution of such an issue is for them. The fact that they want to stay away from the other spouse and not talk to them will depend on how they work with the mediator and the spouse to find a resolution. The quicker they can resolve the issue, the faster the couple can make their divorce official and go their separate ways.

Talk to Them Today for You May need them Tomorrow

The thing about life is that two people can never truly stay apart, especially if they have shared a marital relation with one another. Your children for example, are a source of joy for both parties and both the parents would want the best for their children. Yet, co parenting, working on parenting plans, making sure child visitations are properly met and handing and taking over of child custody are all issues which warrant that the two parents have healthy relations.

Even if you don’t plan on talking to your ex spouse, you will at some point be needed to do just that and if you are unable to keep a relation of respect between you two, the conversation could be troublesome for you.

Hence, Orange County divorce mediators encourage spouses that hate each other to still come to the communication table, discuss their differences out, and make sure they reach a peaceful resolution for the sake of their future life.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.

Custody of Pets: What Happens During Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsAnyone with pets knows that they are as well loved as a family member. So divorce can be a difficult time for families with pets, not the least of which is because your precious four legged friends are treated as another ‘asset’. The system works rather differently for custody of pets, compared to when it is considering the custody of children. If you had written this into your prenuptial agreement, then things will be cut and dry. If not, be prepared for hard negotiations during mediation.

Pets before marriage

If a pet was one of the partners’, before marriage, then during divorce proceedings it is almost always that spouse who gets sole custody of the pet. However, if you bought the pet together during your marriage, it becomes like any other marital asset.

The importance of divorce mediation

When it comes to things like marital assets, debt, and other financial aspects of the divorce, you can rely on outside help to make smart choices. But when it comes to your pets, there’s no better person to make that decision than you and your soon to be ex. If the pet is important to both of you, you may need to work out a custody sharing arrangement where the pet splits time between two homes – yours and your ex’s.

Think of where the pet would be most comfortable and happy

Use the divorce mediation process to have frank and open discussions and weigh the pros and cons of the pet staying with each of you. Keep in mind the interests of your pet, and not just your desire to be with your beloved furry friend. For instance, if your spouse has a larger home in the suburbs or a good park nearby for your pet to run around and play in, while you are in a studio in the city, it may be better to take your pet on only weekends when you can drive him somewhere to enjoy the outdoors. Also factor in which of you was the primary caregiver when you were together. Will your spouse be able to manage all the jobs like cooking up meals, taking the dog or cat out for a walk or playtime?

Making your case for custody

To build a case for yourself, should the custody issue be challenged, prepare documentary proof and perhaps even a testimony from the veterinarian, neighbours and others who can confirm that you had primary responsibility for the pet during the marriage.

When kids are involved

For families that have pets, it is usually best to have the pets go wherever the kids are going to be, or to work out a similar arrangement so that the kids can hold on to that emotional constant during this difficult time.

The costs of pet custody

Remember there is no formal pet support payment though this can be worked out as part of alimony arrangements or figured out as part of the settlement during divorce mediation. Do factor in the costs if you do get awarded primary custody, because bringing up pets can be expensive.

How pets get used as leverage

Beware of letting your emotions get the better of you. If you and your spouse are parting on less than amicable terms, he or she might use your emotional attachment to the pet to fight you on custody. And it may not even matter that he or she doesn’t love the pet as much, or really care where it goes. This may be done with the sole purpose of having you give up on some financial aspects of the divorce settlement that you are also battling it out on.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.

3 Surprising Effects of Divorce on Children

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in Orange County; California Divorce Mediators“Oh, the children are just too small to be affected by the divorce.” This is typically the response that parents have when asked about the coping ability of their children, to the decision of their parents getting an Orange County divorce. To most parents, children are affected but only at a certain age.

This, though, is the wrong assumption. Children of almost all ages are affected by the separation of their parents, with the impact in most cases, worsening, as they grow up. As an eye opener to most parents, here are 3 surprising effects of divorce on children.

1.     Children react to divorce according to their age

Here is a low down of how different children react to divorce differently according to their age and level of maturity.

Toddlers and infants

At this age, most children are unable to walk up straight or talk properly, let alone understand that they parents are ending their relation. An Orange County divorce will have minimal if any effect on such kids, as long as their parent’s don’t bring it up when they grow up.

3-to-5 year olds

Children at this age are possessive about what they have and what they want. If they have been seeing their parent’s together, a sudden change will affect their behavior. They may lose their sense of curiosity or cheerfulness as a result. The best thing to do is to insulate them from the process and the marital conflict that comes as a result.

Ages 6-12 

These children can be hard to handle, with most children reacting in expressions of anxiety, moodiness, aggression, restlessness, tantrums etc. Once again, they too, need to be insulated from the effects of divorce and then, parental bitterness. It is usually seen that boys find it harder to adjust than girls.

Ages 13 up to adulthood

An Orange County divorce can hit a teen the hardest. They can start to display anti social behavior, withdraw themselves from their family, refuse to talk to the parents and suffer from feelings of insecurity, loss and helplessness. While they will have to be told about the divorce, these teens should not be used by parents as weapons in a divorce.

2.     Children of intact and divorced families are similar

According to the latest bit of research, the difference between children from intact families and divorced families is similar. According to the US Bureau of Census, 1 million or more children witness the divorce of their parents. This highlights how the rise of mediated divorce has meant that more and more children are being saved from the toxic effects of divorce.

3.     The action of the parent dictates the reaction of the child

This is something that is understood, yet not properly followed. The single most important factor in your child coming to terms with the divorce is you. As long as you can ensure that the child has to face limited distress as a result of the divorce, is able to freely meet their other parent, they will not feel aggrieved at the loss of their parents’ marital relation.

Divorce mediation is a low conflict, cheaper way of ending a relationship and limiting the impact of divorce on children.  So if divorce is inevitable in your situation, contact California Divorce Mediators today.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”

Why Mediate Your Divorce Case?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsFirst up, getting divorced is a life-altering decision. It is a decision that will not only haunt for the rest of your life if you are careless with it; but it is also a decision that will affect people in and around you. Hence, choosing the best way to get a divorce becomes a paramount decision on your part.

Mediation is the right fit

The popularity of divorce mediation has started to increase recently. People are turning to this method either because they have been disappointed by the slowness of the divorce process in court or want to avoid as much conflict as possible.

Why have a mediator?

Typically, divorce mediation has three people involved in the process. The spouses looking to end their marital relation and the divorce mediator. To most spouses, the role of a mediator is that of one trying to calm the proceedings down in case things start to heat up between the couple.

Hence, when two spouses get along well and believe that they have a necessary understanding on most issues as well as an amicable understanding between themselves, they need not have a mediator in their divorce. This is often the case with spouses having gone through divorce related information online who believe that they can handle their divorce on their own.

An important role

Yet, despite what they perceive to be adequate knowledge of divorce, all they may have is a basic plan for separation, not knowing what other issues they’ll have to consider in a divorce. It is often the case in our practice that spouses that agree on the general principles of issues, often disagree vehemently on its details. This means that once they try to sit and draw up a resolution on their own, these details hamper progress and often the process breaks down.

This is why it is important to have a divorce mediator involved in your divorce proceedings. An experienced mediator will have gone through many divorce mediations and will know the issues that are important and need to be raised. These questions can be on a range of issues, namely the most important ones, such as:

  • Child Custody/Visitation
  • Parenting Plan
  • Child Support
  • Asset Distribution
  • Spousal Support

Most people that have the slightest bit of agreement with their spouses on the broader issues, want to get their divorce done without a mediator, partly because of its cost and time saving aspect. Yet, in reality, it can be said that hiring a divorce mediator helps spouses save time and money that they might have had to pay in the future, for example, the costs of a mistake in drawing up the resolution that can be challenged in court.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”