Lawyer Or Mediator? Which One Should You Opt For During Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsDivorces can be complicated matters and getting caught in the middle of legal problems is common. some people try avoiding divorce cases by going through a mediation first.  A divorce mediator helps couples either negotiate divorce settlements or resolve issues that leads to the dissolution of marriage.

However, divorce mediation is not appropriate in all situations.  For certain cases where domestic abuse or some kind of crime is involved, courts often start divorce proceedings without a mediation. But it can be confusing for people who are stuck in between and don’t know whether to hire a lawyer or a mediator.

When does mediation work?

California courts always favor divorce mediations and alternatives to divorce because it saves them for going into complicated cases. They can instead focus on more pressing matters. It is the reason why courts ask couples to go through a mediation process before the divorce is finalized.

Mediation processes are successful when the idea of a divorce is mutual and both parties understand what it means for them. Divorce mediations are useful when the couples are open to comprise without any emotional attachment.

Mediation is a powerful process and many marriages have worked out after couples went through a mediation process.

When does going to a lawyer work?

Divorce mediations are absolutely necessary but in some cases, they are not required. In cases where clear signs of domestic abuse or child abuse is involved, mediation is unnecessary. In other cases, where the court feels that a mediation is waste of time, divorce proceedings are directly handled by lawyers. Sometimes, mediators and lawyers are the same person and the roles are intertwined. For such lawyers, it becomes easy to do both without the client or the courts interference.

Conclusion

Since divorces can become ugly, mediation processes that can potentially save the marriage is often used to pacify issues between the couple. Mediation processes work best when both parties are ready to reach a common ground where they can work out things. Often, it helps save their marriage. Divorce mediations also help couples who aren’t too emotional or touchy about the dissolution of their marriage.

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

Helping Children Adjust to Two Homes After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsWhile children are the most affected party in any divorced family, a major challenge for them is to adjust residing in two different homes after their parents go separate ways, Although, a kid may be visiting one of the parents only for some hours on a weekly basis, he or she should feel comfortable in their non-custodial house. A cordial arrangement will help in bridging the relationship with the other parent who does not have custody rights and will also help the kid to realize that though their parents got divorced from one another, they are still loved the same way.

When children of divorced parents feel like they belong at the homes of both their parents, it creates a healthy and smooth transition for them. Irrespective of their age-group, issues like abandonment and rejection matter to the kids a lot though many of them cannot express them properly through words. There are several kids who love to stay in both their homes since their parents shower them with attention and love.

The following are some of those ways that can help kids to adjust to living in two different homes.

A primary home should be designated for the children

Though kids of divorced parents may spend time in both parents’ homes, they should recognize only one of the houses as their “primary home”. There could be a lot of confusion if this is not done.  After all, when there is a designated primary home, all mails and other important communications will get delivered to that place only. It will be also helpful for the kids to feel secure and anchored. Though your house is treated as a secondary home for the children, you should not feel that the time they spend with you is less important. After all, do you not feel as happy and content at your holiday home as your main home?

Allocate a separate room for your child

It is imperative for your child to have their own personal room. In case that is not possible due to space constraints, they should be given space to keep their possessions like a toy bin, shelf space or an own drawer for dresses. They should also be permitted to store their things in the allocated space. Let them arrange the things according to their wish.

Freedom of carrying things

Your children should be permitted to carry their items between both the homes without any conflict or tension between the parents. The transition can be much smoother if this is followed.

Allow your kids to personalize their space

Permit your children to decorate their space the way they want to do. In fact, even you can help them out in this endeavor. Let them pick their own sheets and allow them to hang their favorite posters on the wall. Children love to personalize their space.

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

Take These Steps to Succeed As A Divorced Dad

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsFinding yourself as a divorced father all of a sudden can be a real big challenge. It could be a shattering experience to find that you are all alone in the hours and the kids are no longer living under the same roof with you. If you want to be a successful father after your divorce, you should maintain a bonded relationship with your children though you are now divorced from your spouse.

Though divorce situations can be unique, when a father is well-aware about what to expect, he can respond in a better manner. When fathers can manage situations more effectively, they are more successful in handling issues after the divorce. Here are a few steps that you can take as a divorced father.

Be closer to the house after divorce

When you stay close to where your kids live, you can spend more quality time with them after your divorce. There are times when certain circumstances or demands of your job may make it tough to stay close to your children. However, when you make sacrifices to stay near your kids, it can lead to a deeper bond and stability, which the kids need.

After a painful divorce, fathers may not realize or see the effect of that on his children

Children may feel devastated after their parents’ divorce and find one fine day that their family has turned upside down. Consult experts on what you should expect while your kids are trying hard to adjust to this strange and new reality of their life.

Even while at a long distance, try to stay connected with your children

You may have to stay far away due to a special employment or military assignment. Distance could cause a gap in your relationship with your little ones. There could be misunderstandings and your kids can feel neglected since they do not meet you that often.  So, you need to pick up tips for maintaining the bond even when you are far away.

Try to ensure that joint custody operates in a smooth manner

In case you are lucky because the court awarded joint custody of the children to your wife and you, you should be familiar about how to manage this crucial relationship. Although in several cases the parents had been civil to each other after their divorce, the terms of the joint custody can create problems and conflicts. Hence, you should learn how fathers like you handled the situation of joint custody in an amicable manner to make it work.

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

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

Tips On Co-Parenting After A Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation lawyers Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsIt is not easy to be a co-parent, especially after you have split from your spouse and your relationship with your former partner is strained. You may have apprehensions about the parenting abilities of your ex-spouse, worried about your child support or stressed about some issues. You could also be tired of the ongoing conflict and feel that all that animosity between you and ex-partner will never disappear.

However, when you co-parent in an amicable manner with your former spouse, you can provide security, the close relationship with your kids with both their parents and stability that they require. It is for the well-being of your children that there will be a possibility to overcome the challenges associated with co-parenting and build up a cordial and working association with your ex-spouse. These tips will help you to resolve conflicts on contentious issues, be consistent and remain calm so that the joint custody works well and your children feel secure and happy.

Tip 1: Keep your anger and animosity aside

If you want to enjoy a fruitful co-parenting experience, you need to have a check on your emotions. This means that you should keep your hurt, resentment, and anger at bay for fulfilling the needs of your kids. It is true that keeping such emotions at a distance could be the toughest part to work towards a good working relationship with your former husband but nevertheless, it is an extremely important one. Being successful as co-parents are opposed how you or your ex-spouse may feel about one another. Rather it is all about the future well-being, stability, and happiness of your kid. Avoid putting your kids in between. It is highly possible that you may not lose all the bitterness or anger about your divorce ever. However, the best technique will be to compartmentalize your emotions and keep telling yourself that these are your concerns but not your kid’s; you should ensure that the issues you have with your ex-are kept away from the kids.

Tip 2: Try To improve your communication with your ex

Meaningful, consistent and peaceful communication with your former partner is a must for making your co-parenting click, although they may not appear to be possible. However, everything starts with your mindset. You need to remind yourself that the peaceful communication between both of you can be highly needed for the well-being of your child. Prior to getting in touch with your ex, introspect how your discussion could affect your kid and make a resolution to conduct yourself in a dignified manner. The key point of every talk that you have with your ex should revolve around your kid. You need to also note in this context that meeting your former spouse physically may not be essential always. You can speak to him or her over the phone, exchange messages, emails or texts on a majority of the occasions.

Tip 3: You need to co-parent as a single team

Being a good parent also involves having frequent decisions with your ex-irrespective of what you feel about one another. When you communicate and cooperate with one another without bickering or hurting one another, making decisions become much easier and simpler on everyone. When both of you work together as a team, decision-making with respect to your child becomes quite easy.

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

How to Help Your Kid through Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsAs thousands of couples decide to end their marriages every year, their kids are also affected in the process. But their reactions will depend to a large extent on their personality, the circumstances under which the parents decided to separate and their age. Kids often get affected when their parent’s divorce. Often, the first reaction these children go through is that of sorry, anger, frustration, sadness, and shock. However, these children can deal these feelings in a better way as they know how to cope up with stress. As an end result, many of them are more tolerant and flexible when they become young adults. At such trying times, the most crucial things both the parents can do are to help their children steer through it by taking the following steps:

Important steps

  • Try to minimize disruptions in the daily routines of their children.
  • Make sure that legal talks, heated arguments, and visible conflicts happen away from the kids.
  • Do not be negative in front of them. Conversation with close friends and private therapy sessions should not take place inside the house.
  • Both the parents should be involved in the lives of their kids. Indifference will hurt them more.

People going through divorce or separation require lots of emotional support from their families, clergy, professionals and friends. However, these adults should never seek support and help from their children though they may appear ready to do so.

Break the news gently

The moment you are completely sure of your divorce plans, you should speak to your children about the decision to separate. Yes, it will be not an easy task to break this news. In case it is possible, it is better if both the parents are present while the news is shared. Make sure that you adopt a neutral and unbiased tone and do not express your emotions of guilt, anger or disillusionment while telling them about your separation. Of possible rehearse how you are going to break the news from beforehand so that you go not lose your temper or become upset during the discussion.

You should discuss the matter in accordance with the temperament, maturity, and age of your kids. But one statement should be common. Whatever took place between both of you; your kids are not responsible for that. This is because a majority of the children feel that they should be blamed when things did not work out between their parents. So, it is extremely crucial that the parents reassure their kids about this.

Rather tell your children that at times the adults do not agree on things or their love for one another change and so they decide to live separately. But also tell them that children will tie the parents forever no matter what happens.

To learn more 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

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