Advice On Effective Communication With Your Spouse From A Divorce Attorney

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange-County-divorce-mediators; California Divorce MediatorsMost fights and disagreements in a relationship usually start by verbal tirades against one another. Effective communication is vital for the health and success of a relationship. Communication, however, can’t be limited to either verbal or non verbal. The cause for most fights is a lack of effective communication.

Imagine someone is saying something pleasant to you and you start to give them an angry stare. The other person is likely to feel perplexed and confused. This shows how verbal communication needs to be coupled with non verbal communication to fulfill the goal of communication.

Here are a few tips on effective communication with your spouse so that you avoid fights and disagreements in your relationship that can ultimately lead to a divorce.

1. Be Crystal Clear

When you are communicating with your spouse, you need to speak your mind clearly. If you talk fast, you need to go a little slow and if you are hard to comprehend, you need to repeat it multiple times so that there are no misconceptions that are left after your message. While most people find it annoying to repeat themselves again and again, it is unavoidable at times. You have to realize that the effort you are putting into effective communication is never in vain.

2. Own Your Thoughts

Very few people have the ability to judge the feelings that sometimes creep into you. To be good at communication, you need to have a clear head and for that you need to know what you are feeling and take clear stances on what you like or dislike. If you think during a discussion that something is not right, you should not compromise and agree to it, instead you should say what is in your heart. If you do not speak up, your emotions will get bottled up and will increase your chances of a meltdown.

3. Be Expressive

Bottling up your feelings will always be harmful to you one way or another. The key to effective communication is saying whatever you feel like saying. If you have underlying feelings of discontent, they are likely to show on the non-verbal communication front. Even if the feelings are of love and appreciation, make sure they are expressed to make your partner feel valued.

4. Be All Ears

Any relationship is a two-wheel drive and for the car to function properly both the wheels need to be on equal footing. Being an effective communicator is going to take you far, but to go the distance, your communication skills and your ability to be a good listener should be polished. Relationships are about understanding one another and the best way to do that is to listen to the other person.

How Sexual Orientation, Religion And Handicap Affect Child Custody

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange-County-child-custody-attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsIn a child custody case, people sometimes wonder if a parent’s sexual orientation, physical handicap, or religious beliefs have an impact or effect on child custody.

Sexual Orientation

It is fair to say that Orange County, California has been known as having residents often with conservative beliefs. It is widely known that the officials, elected representatives, and courts have traditionally leaned towards conservative views. Yet, does it play a role in determining child custody? Since 1998, the Courts in California have held that homosexuality of a parent cannot be a determining factor alone in a child custody case. The judges in the courts deem heterosexual or homosexual behaviors irrelevant to the child custody because child custody depends on the betterment of the child. Unless the sexual conduct poses any real threat to the child, it is regarded as the parent’s private matter.

Religious Practices

This is another factor that is more a myth than a factor. Orange County family law courts are not allowed to deny custody or visitation to any parent because of their religious beliefs. There is, however, one condition. If the religious beliefs pose a threat to the child, that may be a reason against granting child custody to that parent. Courts are also open to let parents talk to their children about their practices as long as the religious practice involves no kind of illegal activity. The courts follow these rules because the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment protects the religious beliefs of the individual.

Physical Handicap

Can physical disability of a parent be used as a means or argument to stop the child custody being awarded to someone? That’s definitely not the case.  Disability can be considered in combination with other reasons to decide child custody issues, but only basing child custody decisions on disability is forbidden. The thing that courts have to consider is whether the parent can care for the child or not. If the parent, despite his/her disability, can care for the child, there is no reason for the court to not grant him or her child custody.

Who Really Needs To Know About Your Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce-mediation-Orange-County; California Divorce MediatorsFeelings of guilt, shame, disappointment, and fear of the unknown are common in people who are going through or have gone through a divorce. When a relationship starts to fall apart, the dreams of the couples are shattered causing most couples to feel like a failure while others may make themselves immune of whatever is happening around them by acting as uninformed. While such feelings are bound to exist, and are normal to experience, the news of your Orange County divorce needs to be told to a few people. Here are a few of the people who you should tell about your divorce.


When we say family, we mean your immediate family. These consist of your children, your parents, and you siblings. The most important part is telling your children because this decision will have an ever lasting impact on their lives. Making sure you tell them in a way that they understand is vital. While they are being told about this decision, there has to reiterations to them about your love and care for them. Your parents and siblings will act as your buffer. They are likely to help you get through this difficult period and assure you of their acceptance of you and your decision.


Your friends mean your closest friends. These people have been closest to you for a number of years and just like all the other secrets you can share with them, they need to know about your divorce. Your friends are your main support group. They will help you avoid that feeling of being alone and hounded.

Financial Advisor

Your financial advisor should know that you are going through a divorce irrespective if it’s a divorce mediation or litigation. These are the people who’ll help draw up your financial list and tell you what you’ll need in terms of finances in the post divorce time. It is important that you and your financial advisor are honest about your assets because hiding assets and lying about them will only draw the divorce longer.

Business Partner

If you own any kind of a business in partnership, you need to inform your business partner(s) regarding your divorce. This is important because your divorce can have an impact on the division of shares and profits and other financial matters, and the other stakeholders in the business should know about it.

Estate Planning Attorney

Your estate and property are all part of your list of assets, and during a divorce these are likely to have an impact. Telling this to your estate planner is vital because they’ll help you in the planning for the future and figuring out the best picks in your divorce mediation agreement.

Irrespective of the method of divorce you choose, the myth that divorce should be secretive and kept between the lawyers and the concerned parties only isn’t true. To help you through a divorce both emotionally and financially, you need people and they need to be informed about your decision. While the method does not matter in terms of informing others, it matters if you want a smooth divorce.

How To Use Your Social Network To Manage Divorce Stress

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediator lawyers Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDepression and grief are natural reactions to a divorce and it is normal to feel down and strained when you are going through your divorce. Changes in life such as these can be hard to handle for most people. In such situations, it is vital that you reach out for support socially. Social support can make you feel empowered in your life helping you get through such grief stricken situations.

The best way to reach out to the social support is through social networks, which are the hub of the online society. To feel aggrieved is natural in your life after such a drastic change such as a divorce, but the sooner you relieve yourself from this stress the faster you’ll get your life back on track and create a better and happier life. Here are a few steps you can get the social support that’s much needed in your predicament.

Know Your Inner Circle

Your inner circle consists of the people who you talk to about things that are hidden from the world, people with whom you share your stories. One sign of judging who these people are is that they will pick your call even in the middle of the night. An inner circle is usually your parents, siblings, and your closest friends.

Get in Touch with Your Inner Circle

Once you know who your inner circle is, it’s then vital that you reach out to them. Reaching out to them is you making that initial contact with them, a phone call, or the large text message. Remember the people in your inner circle genuinely care for you and the slightest issue that you have will be at the top of their priority whether it be an illness or a fornia divorce.

Tell Them About It

Keeping emotions under wrap for too long can ultimately result in them bottling up and causing conflict confusing, and chaos within you.  There may be emotions of shame coming through your divorce and after it. Yet it’s important to let those emotions out, because only once those emotions are let out will there be space for you to have a new light and fresher perspectives.

Connect With Those That Have Gone Through A Divorce

Social media is a large global community. There are all kinds of people on the social network. It will be comforting for you to reach out and get connected with people who aren’t part of your inner circle but have gone through a divorce. Such individuals are likely to have the best pieces of advice for you and they will prove to be a source of inspiration and guidance since they’ll understand you better than most.

Ensuring Happy Holidays for Divorced Parents and Children

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce-mediation-attorneys-Orange-County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen you hear about holidays, your mind goes back to the fun filled Halloweens of the past years, the Hanukkah, Christmas, and Thanksgiving events that were loads of excitement and fun. These memories are likely to bring a smile on your face. Holidays are that time of the year that is made to be enjoyed with your family. Yet this time of the year can be a source of stress and anxiety to the divorced parents and the children of divorce who once enjoyed these festivities with both their parents but are now made to alternate between parents.

Here are a few tips for those parents that will help make the holiday period more joyful for themselves and their children.

Take a Break from the Power Struggle

Power struggles are common between divorced parents and all these ever do is increase the negativity among the parents and have a depressing effect on the children. Power struggles are likely to be initiated near holiday period and is likely to be about who gets the child at what time and distribution of their times. The good way to enjoy your holiday is taking a break from the fight, and being flexible, let your ex have the way as long as the children and you enjoy. A good fight-free start to the holiday period is usually a good omen for the rest of the holiday season.

Go Easy on the Spending

It is very normal for divorced parents to try and overcompensate to make sure their children don’t feel the changes in family. This is not the wisest thing to do. Parents who feel guilty about the problems their children have had to face because of their divorce, while it might cheer your child up then, it will give you the blues after the holiday period. It’s better to spend more time with your children instead of spending more on them.

Be Happy, Laugh

Yes, the family separation would have been painful but laughing is a good way to enjoy your holidays. Children laugh naturally, but adults tend to laugh a little less as they grow older. Let your inner child out during the festive season and have fun with you children, nothing will make your children happier than seeing you happy.

Even if the children have spent the holidays with their other parent, encourage them to share their happy experiences and laugh with them on it. Remember, kids want your approval on things and having a laugh on their fun is going to let them enjoy even more.

All these tips require no technical or financial expertise. To stay happy you need the will and the desire to stay happy, and then happiness will come. Make sure this happiness is maintained for you and your children. We hope our tips help you live a happier festive season.

How To Manage Your Expectations In Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsCouples that are going through divorce are most commonly worried about their finances and how their financial position isn’t ideal anymore. Irrespective of whatever way you decide to divide the finances, there will always be the nagging feeling that what amount was once used to run one household is now being used to support two. It is a difficult pill to swallow, but it’s important to ensure the well being of you and your partner. Some people come to mediation expecting they will not have to change the amount they spend on themselves or their lifestyles. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

Having said that, if you want financial security to be achieved to the best of your potential, divorce mediation is just the thing for you. For starters, instead of both of you fighting a long litigation battle worth thousands of dollars, it’s cheaper and more effective to come to divorce mediation. Once you decide to mediate your divorce, you should come with reasonable expectations, here are a few tips on how to manage your expectations during divorce mediation:

Understand What Separate Property Is

Separate property is the property that is wholly and solely yours unless some exceptions specific to your case apply. The property that you come into the marriage with or the property that you have inherited during the marriage is only going to be regarded as your separate property. Once you are clear about that and you come into divorce mediation, you should remember that a separate property does not get divided 50/50 between the couples.

Why does it help in curtailing expectations? When you come into divorce mediation, knowing the minor details will help you understand how your property will be treated and you’ll thus have expectations knowing what’s fair and reasonable for you to get.

Review Your Finances

Something that is common among many couples today is that one of the spouses hasn’t looked at the other’s finances for years and is unaware of their current financial position. This spouse has no idea of the income and how the finances of the house are being managed. Sometimes, this lack of knowledge results in them assuming there is a lot more money to be divided than there really is.

How to curtail these misconceptions? When you start your mediation process, your Orange County divorce mediator will tell both of you about each others’ financial position so that during the division of finances there are no lofty expectations leading to disappointment at the end of it.

Learning about your financial position and the details regarding your properties is time spent wisely because these ensure that your expectations are managed. Knowing these facts will help you align your expectations in respect to the black and white numbers that will now be in your knowledge.

How To Make Your Divorce Mediation Checklist

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange-County-divorce-mediators; California Divorce MediatorsThe success of your divorce mediation depends on many factors such as the couple’s cooperation, willingness to settle their dispute amicably, and the complexity of their case. Orange County divorce mediators are tasked to keep the couples on track in their divorce mediation. Negotiating and coming to an agreement is the task of the couples but it’s easier said than done. For most couples this is a hard task and here we provide you a list of the top issues you should talk about in your divorce mediation.

Minor Children

Parenting in a marriage and parenting post-marriage are two very different things. During the marriage, you and your couple are likely to have a specific way of co-parenting but after divorce, all that is going to change drastically. Therefore, it is advised that you talk to your spouse about it. In such a discussion, talk about work schedules, the child’s activity times, and then segregate duties of the child to each other in a way that’s convenient to both of you.


A large number of couples have only their real estate as an asset in their divorce. When couples buy a home, they have to share the mortgage using their income and the subsequent expenses that are incurred on the house. When you decide to get separated, the future of your house should come under discussion. Both the spouses should decide whether they wish to rent the property out or have one of them live in it and who and how will the mortgage payments be made in the future.


When couples undergo divorce, they separate their households. In such a case, it’s important that you discuss the classification of furniture in your divorce mediation, because these are inventories that might lead to disagreements in the future.


If you and your spouse own a business, that is one subject that should come under discussion in your mediation. The business is likely to be the source of a financial income to both of you and it is important that you have a detailed discussion regarding it. The discussion could include who would make the decision in the business, whether to keep the business or sell it off, and how will the profits be divided.


This is definitely a topic most couples shy away from but that’s not a wise thing to do. Debt discussions are never bound to be fun, but they are important and have to be had. These discussions will let you discuss with your spouse the amount of debt you have, whether it was taken before or during marriage, and how will the payments of the debts be divided. This is important if you want to avoid being surprised by a large credit card bill.

The Better Way For A 21st Century Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsWhen most people hear the word “divorce,” they think of distrust, couples stressing out, losing control in a court room, leaving a lasting impression on the children who now have to be raised in a broken family. These are all mere thoughts established on false perceptions and stereotypes. In reality, this isn’t the only way divorces happen.

It is a growing belief in divorcing couples that it’s merely an end of a relationship and not the end of the world, and there are different divorce methods that give them the desired result without the publicity of a court. Particularly in California, divorce mediation is one of them.  Divorce mediation is an alternative to the litigation process. This method is also known as the 21st Century method of divorce. There are several advantages to this process over litigation:

Creative Solutions

In a world of technology that is made to be customizable, it’s almost fitting that divorce mediation solutions are innovative and creative to tackle your specific situation. In mediation, there is no judge but a mediator who isn’t bound by the limits of law and allows the couples to think outside the box for solutions they are comfortable with.


Divorce mediation in Orange County and all over the U.S. allows couples to be able to decide the times of their mediation through mutual understandings, keeping in mind their professional and personal commitments. Mediation puts the ball in the court of the spouses to decide the pace of the proceedings and the time period in which to achieve a solution.


When you go to a court for litigation, there are several fees from case registration to lawyer fees to consultancy fees incurred individually. In divorce mediation though, the costs of lawyers etc. are eliminated, there are only a few costs that are shared among the couple which means the process of mediation costs almost a fraction of litigation.

Win-Win Mentality

This is one of the biggest advantages of divorce mediation. In litigation cases, there are two sides and only one is bound to win, promoting negativity and resentment. California divorce mediators make mediation a form of solving issues through cooperation which means the couples start to focus on beneficial common grounds and compromises for each other promoting mutually beneficial mentality of win-win for both parties.

Your Fate In Your Hands

You are your best judge. Divorce mediation is a process that gives you the power over your decisions. Mediators allow couples and spouses to identify important issues and lead them to a constructive solution that they want. As opposed to a judge that decides cases in litigation, you decide what’s best for you, all the while the mediator assisting you every step of the way.

The more you get to know about, the more divorce mediation seems like the 21st Century alternative to divorces through litigation. If you want to avoid a messy divorce, consider California Divorce Mediators for a simpler transition in life.

How Can I Know that My Divorce Mediator Will Be Neutral and Unbiased?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsQualified divorce mediators are trained to be neutral, but anyone concerned about this issue should interview the mediator before beginning the process.

There are two main neutrality concerns that can be explored.

The first concern is that a mediator will be biased toward a particular party, perhaps because of his or her own past experience.  This may be of particular concern if one party feels that he or she will be presented as the villain.

The second is that a mediator will push a particular type of parenting plan or a particular arrangement for spousal support.  Some people may be concerned that a mediator may have a preconceived idea of the way things should be handled.

Prospective clients can address these concerns in a phone or in-person interview with the mediator.  Good questions to ask might be, “What kind of parenting plan do you favor?” or  “How do you handle it when one party is in the wrong?”  A truly neutral mediator will explain that he or she does not favor any one kind of plan over another, and in mediation, neither party is right or wrong*, and both perspectives are equally valued.

*This has exceptions – for example, domestic violence, or other illegal activity.

The Benefits of Divorce Mediation for Business Owners

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation orange county; California Divorce MediatorsIt is said that entrepreneurs have a high divorce rate.  If this is true, it is because building a business can require years of dedication, effort and singular focus.

And this is one reason that anyone who owns a business should consider divorce mediation before litigated divorce.

As Crain’s Chicago Business noted in a recent article, divorce has taken down many businesses, and it is often because lawyers have more financial incentive to draw the process out and create more conflict than to swiftly and levelheadedly resolve all of the issues.

In the article, Steve Thorne, an accountant with Deloitte Tax, exhorts divorcing couples to work together on the financial and practical issues.  For example, business valuations can be expensive, so Thorne advises that couples agree on a single valuation company and divide the cost rather than paying for separate valuations (which can cost tens of thousands of dollars).

Many business owners think that mediation simply isn’t an option, because of the complexity of the financial and legal issues at hand.  And it is true that for some issues, a lawyer will be necessary to draw up a particular legal agreement as it relates to the business.

But a trained divorce mediator, working in conjunction with accountants and other professionals, can create agreements between the divorcing spouses on all of the issues, so that the use of a lawyer can be targeted, limited, and cost effective.

Divorcing spouses who intend to continue running the business together can benefit greatly from mediation.  A successful, low-drama mediation can be a cornerstone for the kind of collaboration that will be needed to work together on the business.

But perhaps the most important benefit of divorce mediation, when it comes to the health of the business itself, is that it resolves the divorce with less money and time spent.  As Thorne indicates, litigated divorces can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take years to complete.  That is a lot of time and money to take away from a business intended to support you and your loved ones for years to come.