Is Divorce Mediation Right For You?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediationThese days, couples can get divorced through various ways. Some of these ways are litigation, collaborative or mediation. But how do you conclude what is the right method for you? Divorce mediation is a method of procuring a divorce when a neutral and unbiased third party, selected by both the spouses can facilitate discussions to address and resolve various issues related to a divorce. But mediation is not binding unless it is mutually agreed by both the parties.

Check out some of the common principles through which divorce mediation can be conducted to resolve issues:

Private

A mediation process engages only those stakeholders whose presence is needed to reach an agreement. The stakeholders typically include the spouses, a financial neutral or a coach if required and the mediator, agreed by both sides. The records or notes exchanged in the mediation process can never be used in future court proceedings if the mediation does not work out for whatever reasons since they are public records. In a majority of cases, mediators tend to destroy the mediation notes and records after the process is completed for this particular reason.

Voluntary

It could be made mandatory for both the parties to attend an initial meeting if a judge orders so. However, follow up participation is voluntary in nature. The court cannot impose a resolution on either spouse. Plus, all resolutions that are arrived at should be voluntary and mutually agreed upon.

Confidential

Strict confidentiality should be maintained for all mediation sessions and are restricted to only those professionals that are approved by both the spouses as mentioned above. In case a party requests for any kind of access to mediation information, both the parties should put their signatures allowing so. Both sides should also be willing to the fact that secrecy should be maintained due to some compelling reasons or it is beneficial to do so.

Decision-making should be done in an informed way

Both the parties should have the essential information required to make informed decisions with respect to the resolution of their conflicts.

Whether divorce mediation will work for you or not depends on your unique situation. It may work out for those couples who want to divorce by embracing a cost-effective procedure and need to maintain a harmonious relationship even after their divorce is finalized so that they can co-parent their kids successfully. But there could be a scenario when one of the spouses may disagree to mediate. In such scenarios, opting for litigated or collaborative divorce can be a better alternative.

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

Symptoms Your Kids Are Being Affected By Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county custody mediation; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce triggers both kids as well as adults to make several adjustments and face tough challenges. However, there is a difference in how each child responds to their parent’s divorce. While a majority of them will handle these challenges with maturity and sensibility and grow up into well-adjusted adults, there are some kids who go through behavioral and emotional difficulties when their parents go through a divorce. And though there are differences in the long-term reaction in a child to the divorce of their parents, many kids may go through emotional distress and emotions like conflicts, confusion, guilt, fury, anxiety, and sadness in the short-term. Such emotions pop up when there is a question of loyalty towards their parents and a strong desire to spend more time with their absent parent.

When you notice the following symptoms of distress with your child, you need to take appropriate action such as taking them to a therapist so that they can overcome their emotional problems related to the divorce.

Drastic change in academic performance

Do you find your kid is showing dismal performance in the tests? Is he losing interest in his school activities? This could be a telltale sign that he is emotionally disturbed.

Refuses to spend time with his/her parent

When there is no issue of child abuse in a family and yet a kid shows an unwillingness to spend their time with the parent, it can be a symptom that the kid feels the requirement of taking sides. A child should not feel that they are forcefully put in a situation where they have to select one parent over their other.

Increase in certain type of physical complaints

When you find them complaining about their physical conditions such as stomach aches or headaches quite often, it may mean that they are going through a tough time to come up with the divorce of their parents.  Allergy, stomachaches, and headaches are some of the most common symptoms that your kid is going through an emotional distress.

Prolonged and significant change in the behavior

You have always known that your child to be extremely polite bit you may find them being inconsiderate all of a sudden when your divorce case is going on. Your outgoing, gregarious and talkative kid can express less interest in social activities and friends.

Does not show keenness to engage in family, school, athletic or social activities

This is another important symptom that your children are clinically depressed as a result of your divorce from your spouse.

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

3 Tips on Effective Co-Parenting After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County Divorce Mediators; 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 custody and parenting schedule with your ex-spouse 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 Orange County divorce mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Dealing With Divorce Involving A Special Needs Child

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediation Orange County; California Divorce MediationWhen you have a kid with special needs, there could be special issues in your divorce. Hence, when you visit your divorce lawyer, you should describe the facts to him or her clearly and accurately as it will be a different divorce altogether.

Implication of divorces involving special needs children 

If it is a divorce pertaining to special-needs then your lawyer may require specialized understanding, specialized details, external experts and a distinct discovery process. When you do not furnish all the requirements to the lawyer or not procure all the information that will be needed for your divorce since you are unaware of the requirements, there can be severe repercussions for your child or your entire family.

Questions your lawyer may ask you

How can the needs of a special child affect the co-parenting and custodial arrangements that are being contemplated? After all, a standard parenting plan can be quite inadequate. How much amount the other parent should pay for the support of such a child? Do the parents know how long the support should be paid since the child may not be self-supporting ever? Does the spouse need to purchase additional life insurance in such circumstances? If so, then how much and for what duration? How does your lawyer ascertain whether there are special requirements in reality or not when one of the parties say there are while the other parent goes on claiming that the kid is just doing fine.

Your divorce lawyer may conduct a fact-finding exercise while conducting the first interview for you. In fact, it can be a different exercise altogether as compared to the way they deal with their other divorce clients.

Some of the questions they may ask you are as follows:

  • Has there been a formal diagnosis?
  • Do both the parties agree with that diagnosis?
  • Who made such a diagnosis?
  • What kind of testing has been done and by whom?
  • Does your kid have an IEP?
  • Do any special financial requirements exist?
  • Is your child’s condition treatable, curable or is it a terminal one?
  • Does the state or a private insurance company reimburse additional and special expenses?
  • Are these expenses non-recurring, recurring or ongoing?
  • What is the daily schedule of your child?
  • Do you think any such expenses will occur in future that is not being incurred now?
  • Are there expenses related to the child’s medications?
  • Does your kid have problems with transitioning between two different environments?
  • Are there any special dietary requirements?
  • Does one of the parents need to undergo excess time commitment or any kind of special training as compared to the other parent?
  • Is your kid with special needs affecting the other kids in the family who do not have special needs?

Depending on the severity of the child’s special needs, there may be a need for adult child support beyond them reaching the age of majority (age 18), so it is important to address this issue in the divorce judgment that may include having the child formally assessed as to abilities to work and live on their own before the child turns 18.

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

Understanding The Types of Child Custody in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsIn the State of California, couples who are on the path of divorce are advised to read up about all the rights that apply to them so they do not get the short end of the stick. Even unmarried parents have legal rights that cannot be stripped away from them.

Joint legal custody

According to California’s Family Code, parents that have joint legal custody of their children need to ‘share’ the responsibilities of ensuring the well being of the children. Share is the critical term here. You don’t need to share details about everything, but you will need to share details of critical parts of the child’s life such as medical, dental, and education records unless specified otherwise by a court.

Under joint legal custody, a parent cannot do things such as infringing on other’s custodial time, taking the child and moving away, or seeking therapy for the child without the knowledge and consent of the other parent. If a parent violates joint legal custody, then a court could strip some of the parent’s rights away depending on the nature of the violation.

Sole physical custody

The parent whop does not have sole physical or legal custody of a child still possesses the right to access records about the child in question. The parent will also have ‘reasonable visitation’ rights. Sole custody does not deprive noncustodial parents of all their rights, and they have the right to ask courts to strictly define visitation times and schedules. However, the sole custodian will have the exclusive legal authority to make decisions about a child’s education, welfare, and health. The noncustodial parent has the right to challenge these decisions in court and have it overturned if a court determines that it is against a child’s best interests.

What about child preference?

After the California Family Code 3042 was implemented in January 2012, child preference is now more important than ever before. A child’s preference will be taken into account by a court as will factors such as maturity, parental influence, social conditioning, financial health, and other factors that affect a child’s well-being. If a child is sufficiently mature and meets all the relevant criterion, a court will be obliged to respect the wishes of the child. Children who are or above the age of 14 are allowed to attend and address the court regarding their preferences.

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

Symptoms That Your Kids Are Getting Stressed From Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody attorneys in Orange CountyDivorce triggers both kids as well as adults to make several adjustments and face tough challenges. However, there is a difference in how each child responds to their parent’s divorce. While a majority of them will handle these challenges with maturity and sensibility and grow up into well-adjusted adults, there are some kids who go through behavioral and emotional difficulties when their parents go through a divorce. And though there are differences in the long-term reaction in a child to the divorce of their parents, many kids may go through emotional distress and emotions like conflicts, confusion, guilt, fury, anxiety, and sadness in the short-term. Such emotions pop up when there is a question of loyalty towards their parents and a strong desire to spend more time with their absent parent.

When you notice the following symptoms of distress within your kid, you need to take appropriate action such as taking them to a therapist so that they can overcome their emotional problems when your divorce comes through.

Drastic change in academic performance

Do you find your kid is showing dismal performance in the tests? Is he losing interest in his school activities? This could be a telltale sign that he is emotionally disturbed.

Refuses to spend time with his/her parent

When there is no issue of child abuse in a family and yet a kid shows an unwillingness to spend their time with the parent, it can be a symptom that the kid feels the requirement of taking sides. A child should not feel that they are forcefully put in a situation where they have to select one parent over their other.

Increase in certain type of physical complaints

When you find them complaining about their physical conditions such as stomach aches or headaches quite often, it may mean that they are going through a tough time to come up with the divorce of their parents.  Allergy, stomachaches, and headaches are some of the most common symptoms that your kid is going through an emotional distress.

Prolonged and significant change in the behavior

You have always known that your child to be extremely polite bit you may find them being inconsiderate all of a sudden when your divorce case is going on. Your outgoing, gregarious and talkative kid can express less interest in social activities and friends.

Does not show keenness to engage in family, school, athletic or social activities

This is another important symptom that your children are clinically depressed as a result of your divorce from your spouse.

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

How to Make Co-Parenting a Great Success

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsCo-parenting is particularly important to do for all those parents, including those who have had high-conflict divorces. The idea is to mainly concentrate on bringing up their kids without engaging in stressful communication with one another after the divorce.

Here are some easy tips to ensure that co-parenting is a great success.

Use an organizer

You can use a parenting notebook or an organizer website to communicate effectively. Note down all the relevant and vital communications pertinent to the visit of your child like homework, meals, behavior strategies deployed by you to calm your child, bedtime and so on.  Your notebook should have a mention of the different events including both behavioral as well as emotional that the other parent can refer to.

Work closely with an unbiased third party

For any contentious issues, changes and disagreements with the other parent that needs a great deal of discussion, it is better to work with an independent third party. This person should be neutral like a therapist or an experienced mediator. The meetings conducted in the presence of the third party should be time bound and scheduled. All your key concerns can be taken up during these meetings.

Emails for non-urgent matters

Both of you can use emails for discussing matters that are not that urgent. You need to also make sure that these emails should not exceed more than two times in a month. Try to restrict them to a single topic. When you use emails to communicate with the other parent, you get a chance to reread what you wrote so that you are certain that it is not disrespectful. Plus, it also enables your ex-spouse to get a breathing space for responding. Avoid giving parenting advice on these emails.

Once the divorce is finalized, it is crucial for both the parents to be involved in taking care of the kids despite their conflicts and not so cordial relationship.  Co-parenting enables both the parents to remain involved in the lives of their kids while not fighting with one another.

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

How Are Parallel Parenting And Co-Parenting Distinct From One Another?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorney; California Divorce MediatorsMany experts on child development have claimed that children enjoy many benefits when they are brought up by both their parents, though divorced. There are various reasons for this. A key reason is that those parents, who follow the co-parenting model for bringing up their kids, go through fewer incidents of conflicts as compared to the parents who get sole custody of their kids. Studies have demonstrated that kids are miserable and feel deep anguish when their parents are bickering one another after the divorce. On the other hand, when parents try to keep their disagreements to a minimum, children are likely to become more resilient.

But there are not many experts who have spoken at a length about the limitations of co-parenting in cases where the parents do not share a good relationship or the conflict between the two is high. According to some experts, when kids come from broken families, they are to benefit if their parents share healthy and strong relationships. They should never get exposed to the conflicts and arguments of their parents.

Divorced parents should only opt for co-parenting when both the former spouses are supportive of one another and understand the importance of respecting each other for the well-being of their children. However, there are many parents who become addicted to fury. These parents are constantly convincing themselves that their ex-spouse is not competent or is mentally ill.

They not only share their thought with the children but also to other stakeholders like mental health professionals and school staff.

There are several experts who suggest going for parallel co-parenting as an alternative to all those parents whose relationship is adversarial. So, what is the exact distinction between parallel parenting and co-parenting? To understand this you need to go through the following key aspects of both.

Defining co-parenting

It is a form of parenting where the parents are not married anymore, not in a romantic relationship with one another or are not cohabiting For instance, in the U.S., co-parenting refers to a parenting situation where both the divorced or separated parents agree to take care of the kids jointly.

Defining parallel parenting

While co-parenting is definitely a great arrangement for parenting, it also involves a lot of interaction between the two parents. They have to make shared decisions, speak to one another at drop-offs and so on. However, high-conflict between the two may not produce the desired result. Parallel parenting is a model where divorced parents agree to co-parent even while remaining disengaged to one another while maintaining limited direct contact.

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

How to Make Visitation Easier After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County child custody; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce is not easy on both the parties involved and yet it is the kids who suffer the most. Often the conflict of both the parents leads to the subject of visitation quite an ugly one and the transition between father’s house and mother’s house can be a youth one if not dealt sensibly by the parents.

The process of divorce is truly a baffling period full of emotional upheaval and lots of uncertainty.  It is even more difficult if kids are involved in it. To ensure that the situation is stress free for them, it is imperative that both the divorced patents collaborate together to ensure that there is positivity in the visitation process. Experts agree that parenting one’s kids is the most crucial task that the parents evil ever do. When parents work in a mature manner, their divorce will not have negative, long and lasting impacts on the kids.

It is a prime responsibility of the divorcing parents to show that they are united in front of their children. Such a behavior will make the children comfortable and more confident during this trying time, Check out the following ideas and thoughts to make sure that the visits go smoothly for all concerned.

Promptness matters

When you are punctual in bring with your kids as per your visitation arrangement, it reinforces the thought that these visits are extremely important for you. Kids should feel that their presence is important in your life. Hence you need to focus on them every time you are with them. While visiting them, you should demonstrate them the fact that you consider them as your top priority. How about spending some quality time riding bikes with them or playing badminton?  You should understand that your text messages and emails can wait.

Try to avoid arguing with the other parent

Your kids may get very upset when you argue in front of them, particularly when you are picking them or dropping them off at the other parent’s house. It is crucial for both of you to understand that visitation is an opportunity to concentrate on your kids. So, it so essential for both the parties to ensure that come whatever may, the pickup/drop off transition is a pleasant experience got the children. It is better to deal with your differences and conflicts at a different time. You can fix up meetings at a different time to speak about contentious issues with your ex-spouse.

You should remain positive

Show positivity and enthusiasm while speaking about the upcoming visit. Your plans should not be overshadowed due to your conflict with the other parent.

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

How To Get Your Kids Used To Co-Parenting

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen you give a priority to the needs of your kid over your own, you are taking the right starting step towards functioning as an efficient co-parent. Researches prove that kids who got almost equal time to spend with both their parents had fewer trust issues and a higher degree of self-esteem when they grow up. On the other hand, although the agreement for your parental time mentions an unequal division between the two houses, you should contemplate balancing it so that it works out to be for the psychological and emotional well-being for your kids in the long-term.

Additionally, your kid can also benefit when you guide them well. After all, they do not have the necessary clarity of making sound decisions, insight and the wisdom of spending their time with the parents. You need to inspire your kids that they should also spend quality time with the other parent. Your children can be extra sensitive to unkind words and negative body language. Hence you need to ensure that both your words and tone are neutral or positive while speaking about your former spouse while your kids are present.

Your children may develop loyalty conflicts if you and the other parent are not cautious

Although your kids may not be the cause of your divorce, they may feel responsible for the lack or of happiness in their parents’ lives. There could be scenarios when your kid might take the side of one parent and brain against the other parent. Proper understanding, empathy and a good communication channel can make you resolve loyalty conflicts that they could be filling as a result of your marriage break-up.

Assist your children in achieving a smooth transition between two houses

Your child may feel stressful while shifting between two homes. There could be occasions when your kid may feel apprehensive at the possibility of leaving one of the houses and spend some time with the other parent. But this does not signify that your kid cares for any less about the other parents or will not benefit when they depend more time in the other house. It is imperative to note that opposing the transition is not an unnatural response of your kid who is drastically looking stound for security.

When both parents work together to coordinate the social calendars, activities, and school matters along with other areas of your children’s lives, such co-parenting can be an enriching experience for your children.  It will generate a positive daily experience with the kids regardless of where they will be staying on a particular day.

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