Shielding Your Child From Emotional Trauma During Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediation Orange County; California Divorce MediationParents are terrified of how divorce affects children. This is most acute during the process of divorce. In fact, the fear of something bad happening to the children is the reason most unhappy marriages persist longer than they should. It can be constant struggle to consider what is best for the kids. Both parents seek the optimal way to guide them through the navigation. For both the parents and the children, the whole process may appear like an unending struggle. However, there are ways to minimize the negative impacts a divorce could have on the kids. It is important to make the transition much more positive. 

Amicable alternatives

Selection of mediation or opting for a collaborative approach will result in decreased contentiousness. It will probably make the process quicker. It means that the children will not be exposed to more uncertainty and acrimony.  This is because the standard litigation system can only be described as adversarial. You will fight your spouse from the beginning. It is an excellent idea to hire a better lawyer so that you know your rights. However, when you opt to mediate with your ex, then it results in better co-parenting. A mutually agreed plan can be developed- and not left to the courts to make a decision.

The litigation system cannot be a good avenue to take revenge or punish your ex. If you want to litigate when there is no need to, expect some heavy expenses. Your children will also be much worse off. Be parents first and the mediation process will help children to enjoy a smoother and quicker transition to new reality.

Protect children from painful experiences

Children can find it extremely difficult to adjust to two separate homes. When the children are staying with you, help them by having fun and doing activities they love to do. Do not push for details on their ex and dwelling on divorce. Most importantly, your children should not see you two having a fight. Do not use them as kind of messengers between you and your ex. Do not speak badly about the other parent. If you do, your children will suffer from stress and the circumstances will not be beneficial to the relationship or the well-being of your child.

It is also an excellent idea to seek the help of a good therapist for the children. It can make a big difference in dealing with anger and resentment issues.

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

All You Need to Know About California Child Custody Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsThe Orange County Family Law local rules as well as the broader California laws require a mandatory child custody mediation to be set before a court hearing at which a court order or modification to an earlier court order pertaining to child custody and visitation take place.

Moreover, if a parent fails to turn up for a child custody mediation session without having valid reasons for his or her absence once or repeatedly, he or she may be prevented from being heard further on the issues of child custody and visitation. If it goes to the hearing stage, it may become extremely difficult for the absentee parent to explain their stand.

Custody issues are often the hardest to settle and can’t be settled under premarital agreement settlements since the right of a child belongs exclusively to the child themselves and their best interests would be held paramount by all courts.

Although a mediator can’t be decisions like a judge or an arbitrator, they can definitely propel the discussion between the two parties forward and create a peaceful environment under which discussions can be held, even for such spouses who have come out of an acrimonious relationship and don’t see eye to eye. A mediator plays a vital role and his intervention is often the only reason why a discussion goes forward.

How to prepare for child custody mediation 

In order to prepare for child custody mediation, try to gather as much evidence or relevant information about your child that would help you while presenting your side of the argument or making your proposals.

One important step is to understand your custody rights and obligations from an experienced and licensed attorney. You can also prepare and present a list of daily schedules for yourself and your child that would convey how emotionally and personally invested you are in the growth and welfare of your child.  You should also present your child custody and visitation proposal during the mediation process after taking advice from your attorney.

You will also need to come to an agreement with the other parent for deciding the scheduled visits and where to drop and pick up the child from and also special occasions or moments in the child’s life when they would expect both their parents to gather.

You may also do well to get an understanding of some commonly used legal phraseology or jargon that may be thrown around during the mediation discussions. Consult your attorney and prepare yourself accordingly.

In order to prepare for the child custody meetings, be honest and think, if you are really capable of taking care of your child. At all points, their interests will be to be kept in mind. Be compassionate towards the other party and you may be able to reach a mediation agreement regarding to your child easily.

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

How To Increase Visitation in Custody Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County child custody attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsDivorces can be hard for some parents especially when kids are involved. It becomes even more hard when the affected parent is the non-custodial parent. Staying away from the children can be mentally and physically daunting. Every parent wants to spend as much time as he/she can with their children. The custodial plan is made to ensure that the non-custodial parent gets to spend quality time with the kids.

One of the important parts of custodial plans is the parenting schedule. Sometimes, the time is so short, it really becomes difficult for the non-custodial parent to have quality time with his/her child. There are ways to change the custodial plan and increase parenting time.

Court Order

Courts can order a change in the visitation hours if it finds that the non-custodial parent deserves to spend more time with his/her children. A court will decide whether spending more time with the non-custodial parent is in the child’s best interests.

Violation of parental plan

If the custodial parent is deliberately trying to limit your visitation time or preventing you from seeing your children, you can use the evidence to increase your visitation hours. In some rare cases, it even leads to a change in custody.

Both of you are equally responsible for paying child care and if the case arises where you are paying more than you should, then naturally your visitation hours should also increase. You can build a case claiming that since you are paying the entire child support by yourself, you are eligible to be the custodial parent. But it may not work every time since there are many reasons why the custodial parent pays less than he/she should.

The custodial parent is the primary caretaker of the child and should provide basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. If in case, the custodial parent is unable to provide any of the basic needs, the custody of the child can be changed. Or the non-custodial parent can be granted more time that he/she can spend with the child.

Conclusion

Visiting hours helps non-custodial parents spend quality time with their children. However, the time can be increased if there is evidence that the given time is not enough for the non-custodial parent.

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

A Calm Mindset Is The Best Way To Get Divorced

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsThere are many emotions brought by a divorce. This is especially true when the couple has had a bad time in their marriage. It is normal to go through feelings such ad fear, fury, sadness, and anxiety. However, you need to remember that the degree of emotions will slowly subside with the passage of time. So, when you are undergoing a divorce process it is better to be calm. So do not get agitated as this would only spoil your health. Studies have shown that people who are composed during such times are better equipped to manage the difficulties that accompany a divorce process. Do not continue a blame game with your partner as nothing would come out of it eventually.

Stop being resentful

Divorce should not be looked upon as a means of settling scores or a way to take revenge against your spouse. If you regard the resolution of your marriage as a battle, there is a high possibility that the divorce process will be more expensive and time-consuming. It is recommended to go for divorce mediation so that you can avoid the long and tiring courtroom proceedings and end up hating one another even more. Studies have also proved that it can help to support the needs of the kids as well as getting emotional satisfaction.

Focus on a smooth split

In many cases, it is not unusual that you do not want to talk to your spouse from whom you intend to part soon. However, despite the ill-feelings, aim for a smooth split. Cooperation, as well as proper communication, will help in making the process healthier and less stressful for both the parties, Moreover when you seek the help of a psychologist and a divorce mediator, you and our estranged partner can avoid conflicts and bitterness.

Do not neglect your health

This is a phase when you must take good care of your health. Speak to your family and friends for comfort and support. Alternatively, the idea of joining a formal support group also makes sense as they help you to cope up with your pent up emotions. There are many people who begin a fresh chapter after their divorce by taking up new hobbies or indulging in activities they had not attempted before. Even you can start doing the same. Make sure to eat well and be physically fit. When the divorce gets nasty, your spouse and you start despising one another even more. Now, that is not good as you still have joint responsibilities as parents. So, try to be amicable while parting since it is good for your sanity, purse, and kids.

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

Having More Than 2 Legal Parents: How California is Different

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsCalifornia is the only state which legally recognizes the right of a child to have more than two parents.

This holds a lot of implications.

Let us say A and B were in a happy marriage, and together, they had a daughter, whom they named C. But A and B began drifting apart and decide to call things off. Following their divorce, the court awards custody of C to A.

A decides to test the waters again, and marries D this time.

To C, B remains a legal parent. In short, she now has three parents – A, B and D. All three have equal claim to her.

When C grows up, she will have a claim to B’s fortune if the latter dies without leaving a will.

Another scenario is when A and B cannot have a child together. They go in for the IVF method, and the embryo is implanted into the womb of a surrogate mother, say S. While A and B are the biological parents, S is the natural mother, according to California law. So all three – A, B and S – are parents of the child.

A near-combination of these two instances occurred recently when Hollywood actor Jason Patric (you might recognize him as the male lead in Speed 2: Cruise Control) was named parent of his biological son, who was conceived through IVF.

Patric was involved with Danielle Schreiber in the late 2000s, but the two called it off in 2008. However, Schreiber desperately wanted to be a mother, and Patric convinced her that she should choose his sperm.

Their son, Gus, was born through In-Vitro Fertilization in 2012.

A family court awarded Patric custody of Gus for six months in a year, with Schreiber having custody for the remaining six months.

Schreiber is unmarried at present, but should she choose to marry someone other than Patric, Gus would have three legal parents.

What this means for you

If you are considering using the services of a surrogate mom, make sure the contract is iron-clad. If not, the surrogate mother could very well claim parentage over your child, citing her rights as the natural mother.

If you are trying to have a child through IVF, have an attorney review the contract that you sign with the clinic. In case of any mix-up, i.e. they use someone else’s sperm or eggs, you don’t want to lose your child to a stranger.

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

Mediation For Younger Couples Compared To Gray Couples

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce is a time of great hardship and both individuals have a hard time dealing with the reality. However, for some it is easier to accept the fact more than others. For young couples, who haven’t stayed married for a longer time, dealing with divorce is relatively easier than for gray couples. For gray couples, a divorce is more than just a physical separation from their partner. It is a new way of life and for some it can be very tough. Also, there is the question of property and asset separation which is more likely to be much more difficult for gray couples than for young couples.

Mediation is commonly used in divorce cases to ensure that the whole thing goes smoothly. But mediators might use different approach for young and gray couples because the issues are different.

Mediation for young couples

Lawyers who mediate young couples will often focus on the importance of marriage rather than a divorce. Often, mediators will offer couples to go for a separation instead. Since, the marriage period is small, a separation might help them understand what it means to stay apart from each other. Also, mediators will discuss the pros and cons of getting a divorce at an early stage. If the mediator becomes convinced that reconciliation is not possible, then he will focus on the advantages of getting a divorce. It is expected that younger couples won’t have children or much property and therefore, the divorce becomes much easier.

Mediation for gray couples

Gray couples have spent a longer time in marriage and their decision to divorce must be a strong one. However, mediators will often ask couples to reconsider the case and look for options to avoid a divorce. Most gray couples will have children and their assets and properties will also be huge. On top of that there will be the issue of taxes. So, overall, things like child custody, property division, alimony, tax and debt will play a major part in the divorce.

Conclusion

Mediation is important for every couple planning to get a divorce. However, not every couple will require the same type of mediation. For younger couples, the approach will be slightly different than it will be for gray couples. Things like huge assets, child custody, tax and debt won’t be a big issue for young couples as it will be for gray couples. Mediators must consider every factor before mediating.

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

When Are Two Mediators Used During a Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange county divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsNowadays, divorce has become a common issue and couples who are unhappy with the marriage head for a divorce. Mediation plays a big part in divorce proceedings. Often, if the couple have not undergone a mediation program, the court will appoint one for them. But court-appointed mediation does not work as well as mediators who work separately. One of the biggest reasons is that court appointed mediators are given a time limit and often that limit is not enough to complete the mediation process properly. Mediation is given so that couples understand the divorce proceeding and what is required from them. In some cases, mediation processes also end up saving the marriage.

In most cases, one person acts as the mediation lawyer for both individuals. However, in some cases, two mediators are used.

When one of you is a close friend of the mediator

It could happen that one of you are good friends with a divorce mediator. So, it’s possible that the mediator favors one of you over the other, although mediators go out of their way to remain neutral even in such situations.  Also, having close friends mediating your divorce might not be a good idea if  there are things about you which probably you don’t want the world to know.

When one mediation does not work

Sometimes, couples might feel that one mediation is not enough or that the mediator has not done a good job. One of the primary objectives of mediation is to enlighten the couples about the divorce proceeding and what should be their best course of action. If a mediator fails to do that, then couples have the right to seek out the help of another mediator. However, they should first check the reputation and background of the second mediator they are hiring.

Conclusion

Mediation is an important part of divorce and should be taken seriously. However, in certain cases, one mediator does not work and therefore a second one may be required. It usually happens if the primary mediator is a family friend or at least close to one of you. You can also choose another mediator if you’re not happy with the service of the first one. It is important to know when you need a second mediator for the job. Spending unnecessarily on another person is not a good idea especially when you’re going to face financial damage during your divorce.

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

5 Tips To Have An Amicable Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsMost people avoid talking about their divorce as much as they can because it is certainly not a happy story that they would want to talk about. While some marriages end in divorce, it is also not true that every divorce is a bad divorce. There are ways to have an amicable divorce and here’s 5 ways in which you can do it.

  1. Talk to your spouse

It is very important that you talk with your spouse about the divorce. Instead of having heated arguments, try talking about it amicably. Sometimes, divorces happen due to misunderstandings and maybe if you clear the air, there will be room for another chance. Even if the divorce takes place you’ll at least know that you tried your best to prevent it.

  1. Hire a good mediator

The main job of a mediator is to ensure that your divorce takes place in the best way possible. Instead of opting for a court-appointed mediator, hire one on your own. There are good mediators available in California and you can choose whomever you like. Often, a mediator succeeds in calling off the divorce but that mostly depends on the willingness of you and your spouse.

  1. Support each other

Support is very important when it comes to divorces. It may not be entirely your fault that you’re getting a divorce but remember that any negativity that you show will affect you in the end. So, it’s better to support each other not only financially but also emotionally as well.

  1. Give each other time to adjust

A divorce brings a change in a person’s lifestyle and to adjust to the new way of life every individual need’s time and space. When a divorce has been confirmed, give each other the time to cope with what the future holds for them now.

  1. Don’t rush into it

A divorce is not to be taken lightly and should not be rushed. Be patient and consider the changes that you and your spouse will have to deal with. Often, rash decisions lead to bad results.

Conclusion

A divorce does not necessarily have to end on a bad note. It can be done amicably provided you and your spouse are ready to listen to each other. Hire a good and experienced mediator to help you go through an amicable divorce.

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

Common Misconceptions About Divorce Mediation in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediationDivorce mediation is an attractive process for California couples that seek to resolve their disputes amicably without the need to have a public battle in court. However, there are still a lot of things that people do not know about divorce mediation and common misconceptions that exist about the topic.

Mediation is the best option

The whole point of an amicable settlement without the divorce going to court sounds attractive to most people, but divorce mediation is not always the best option for couples. This is especially true for couples in which one partner has a history of emotional abuse, and for couples that need to untangle and split a complex web of possessions between each other.

Pets cannot be a part of the mediation process

This is completely untrue as the California government recently passed a law concerning the division of pets in a divorce. The mediator can advise the couple on who is most likely to receive ownership of the pet or how they can work out a pet-sharing deal. This prevents people from stealing pets from their former partners and allows couples to settle the dispute amicably.

Mediation does not require individual lawyers

The mediator is typically a neutral party whose job it is to guide both parties in the divorce. However, it can be a complex process, and not seeking an attorney can be a very foolish thing to do unless you have complete knowledge of the law. You should definitely have an attorney who looks over the final mediation document before it becomes official. Both the parties are advised to have independent attorneys to safeguard their interests.

Mediation is not better than litigation for children

Most people assume that divorce is always going to be bad for their children no matter what. They assume that litigation and mediation are the same, but this could not be farther from the truth. By its very nature, litigation is an adversarial process that promotes a climate of tension, ill will, and stressful court appearances. On the other hand, mediation promotes a culture of cooperation and a desire to settle disputes amicably without excessive volatility. Mediators are trained to be concerned about the emotional and psychological well-being of the children involved, and it can be considered to be a first step to the future where the parents will no longer be together.

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

5 Ways In Which Co-Parenting Can Be Effective

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsCo-parenting is usually seen as a responsibility shared by divorced couples, but there is more to co-parenting than a simple responsibility. Co-parenting can also involve someone else other than the parents. When a parent and another person take care of the child, it is also known as co-parenting.

  1. Do what is best for the child

When it comes to child custody or any other laws where children are involved, the California court always rules in favor of the children. If you are at a crossroad where you need to take important decisions regarding your children remember to do what is best for the children. Because it is the children that you will be ultimately worried about.

  1. Don’t talk bad about your ex in front of the children

It’s natural to talk bad about your ex in front of your children especially when you have gone through a bad marriage. But always remember that in doing so it is your children who will get affected. Your ex will remain an important part of the responsibility towards your children. When you criticize your ex, a certain negativity develops in your children which can be dangerous in the long run.

  1. Never tell your ex you are the better parent

At times, you will feel the urge to show your children that you are better than your ex but it’s a good idea to stay away from that notion. Saying that the other parent is bad won’t make you look like the best parent in the world. Moreover, such things don’t work in a court of law in California.

  1. Establish rules and family values

Family rules and values are central to every parenting. Teaching your children the importance of family life can be a great way to keep things organized in life. Moreover, it will also help you and your ex maintain an amicable relationship. As a parent your main aim is to create a healthy environment for your children where they can grow and learn life’s important lessons. So what better place than their own home.

  1. Make plans for in-law and family visits

After getting a divorce, having the support of your in-law and family members is very important even though you may not want to see them. It’s good because the children should not feel alienated after you get your divorce.

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