Factors Considered In Granting Grandparent Custody & Visitation Rights

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Grandparent Rights California; California Divorce MediatorsThe laws for visitation rights of the grandparents may vary from state to state. Over the years, decisions taken by the courts have undergone a lot of changes. Thus, each state has a different set of laws and rules.

Grandparents are only awarded visitation rights when specific conditions laid down by the court are adhered to. Conditions to get custody rights for the grandparents may vary from that of visitation rights. As grandparents, you should be aware of the conditions applicable for visitation or custody prior to deciding if you should file your petition to request for the same.

Court will keep the interests of the kid in mind

A court has to consider what is best for the child while awarding visitation or custody rights to the grandparents. There are many states where the law mentions all those factors a court should assess while deciding the best interests of the child or children in question. Even in States where such factors are not listed, courts try to identify the factors in visitation and custody cases by interpreting the available state laws. Here are some of the factors, which ascertain what should be done in the best interests of a kid based on case laws and applicable state laws.

  • The ability of the grandparents and/or parents to satisfy the requirements of the kid
  • Need of the kid such as the emotional and physical health, safety of the kid in question and their welfare
  • The desires of the grandparent(s) and the parent(s)
  • The desires of the kid in question in case he or she can take that decision
  • How close the bond is between the grandchild and grandparent(s)
  • Evidence of neglect or abuse by the grandparent(s) or parent(s)
  • Duration of relationship between the grandchild and the grandparent(s)
  • Evidence of substance abuse by the grandparent(s) or the parent(s)
  • Ability of the child to adapt to the community, school or home
  • Distance between the location of the grandparent(s) or the parent(s) and that of the kid
  • Ability of the grandparent(s) or the patent(s) to shower the kid with affection and love

Is the biological parent abusive?

In case a grandparent can furnish necessary proof that the child’s parent is in poor condition, abusive or is incapable, a court can give permissive or even permanent custody rights to the child’s grandparents.

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

Tips for Single Divorced Moms

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsAre you a single divorced mom? There is a high possibility of dealing with the process of healing your pain as a result of your murky divorce. Moreover, you also had to take up the added responsibility of taking care of your children mostly not only that, you need to arrange for meals for your family, deal with your former husband who could be irrational at times and have a roof over the head of your family. At the same time, it is natural that you want to move on with life and want to date a new man and gave a fulfilling future. Life is full of new challenges for you and you need to face then to put back your traumatic past and lead a rewarding and rich new life. Follow some of the tips mentioned below to do so.

Make conscious efforts to eliminate the trauma related to your divorce

As they say, time is the biggest healer. While you may have gone through a lot, do not keep thinking about your past. Look out for exciting activities that can keep you engaged. Instead of being stuck with old pain, start dating and going out with friends with whom you share common interests.

Do not depend solely on alimony and child support for your financial needs

You should stop thinking of alimony or child support as your income. After all, the money that is coming to you in the form of child support is only temporary.  In a majority of cases, even alimony too is a temporary inflow of cash. You need to establish your financial position so that there is no difficulty in your survival when these today checks do not come to you anymore. It is crucial that you make a proper investment in yourself to get a sound return in the future. It may be possible that you possess a degree but are not employed. You can call up a local university or college and inquire about classes, which will enable you to refresh some of the skills or get certified so that your marketability in the job market goes up. You can get in touch with the financial aid office and procure student loans to pay for these courses when you attend them.  Be confident about your talents and skills that you believe are marketable and contemplate starting your own business.

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.

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 Deal With Your Kids Being Away On Vacation with Your Ex-Spouse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County Divorce Mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsWhen you plan for vacations after your separation or divorce, it should be done with a great deal of caution. It is better to stay away from situations that may trigger conflict pretension right in front of your kids.

Here are some comforting and cool tips to explore co-parenting while a vacation is on to ensure that your kids are adequately buffered from the harsh realities of life.

You can collaborate with the other parent so that logistics can be planned in advance

Collaborating in advance will be helpful in setting up new traditions especially when you pay heed to the wishes of your children and get support from your extended family members. On most of the occasions, kids hardly have much control or say over the plans and scheduling of their parents. Thus, when you give them some sort of a control over the traditions and on certain activities, they will feel excited about their vacation instead of being apprehensive about the possible changes,

Stop asking your children to select between father and mother

Both children and their parents benefit when special occasions and vacations are shared equally. On many occasions, the way a holiday gets split may also depend on how old the kids are, whether there is any involvement of travel and how far is one parent’s home from the other.

The true spirit of the vacations should be communicated non-verbally as well as through words

Most holidays involve emotions like giving, peace, love and caring. Whenever the kids spend time with one of the parents, it is natural for the other parent may feel sad and lonely during holidays. However, it makes sense to realize that kids should experience togetherness with both their parents, There is no harm and letting your kid know that you will miss them when they are away but will be fine. Avoid situations where our children start feeling guilty or responsible for their parent’s emotional well-being. While the temptation to tell them that you will miss them a lot and do not know how you will cope in their absence, rephrase it slightly.

Tell them you are sure that you are sure that they will have a great time with the other parent and you will wait to hear all about the holiday. Have a plan in advance so that you have your friends or family near you when the kids are away. Such an action will help you to manage your own emotional requirements in their absence. You should hope that your kids feel free and enjoy their vacation with their other parent and stop worrying about you.

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.