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 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

How to Make Your Child Feel Protected After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsAlthough you may be divorced now and you are bringing up your kids on your own, not is still your responsibility to ensure that your kid feels secure and safe after the divorce. Follow the below-mentioned tips to make your kid feel protected even after you get divorced.

Your children should get proper care

Since there will be two households after the divorce, both the parents need to work on a majority of occasions. But when there are younger kids at home, you become highly dependent on childcare. So, select a reputable child care provider where you children will love to spend their time. So, do not just leave your kids with anyone. It is better not to have someone with your child who is just a casual acquaintance of you. Do proper homework on the childcare center or the person where you will leave your child. When your children are sad or mistreated, it gets reflected in their behavior.

They should have a place that they can call their home

Kids do not go to their father’s house or your mother’s hours. They just want to return to their homes. Parents can go for an arrangement so that the child does not have to shift from their family home even after the divorce. In case either you or your partner are not okay with such an arrangement, both of you need to ensure that your kids have a proper roof and a place where are secure and safe irrespective of whether they are residing either their daddy or mommy. It means they love to have their own room so that they can call their friends overt. Their home should be in a safe neighborhood or in a good school district.

They should have a responsible adult to depend on

Divorce can embitter the ex-spouses against each other and emotions can rule over sensibility. However, your children need not be a privy to your arguments and bickering. If you and your former spouse are not careful, it can have a negative impact on the security of your family. So, behave like an adult in front of your kids, no matter what you are feeling.

Parent should be good provider

Your kids require good food, a periodic outing like going for a movie, new shoes, and clothes. So, you should ensure that you have a stable job. You need all the extra bucks to give a comfortable life to your kids even after the divorce. In case you are a daddy, do not simply leave your job with an intention to shell out fewer payments for child support. On the other hand, if you are a mom and stay at home, it is time you start working too instead of completely depending on child support.

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

How Can Kids Get Affected By Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorney; California Divorce MediatorsAre kids really affected after their parents’ divorce? It is a difficult question to answer for sure. Different children may react or behave differently to their parents’ divorce. On many occasions, how the parents conduct themselves before their kids and how the children handle the situation.

As the rate of divorce continues to grow all over the world, there are quite a few parents who wonder how their kids get affected by the divorce. Though children may come across some of their friends whose parents are also divorcing, they still have problems in coming to terms with the same thing happening in their own family many of these kids lament about the lists of their old family life that they were used to living. This just goes on to prove how affected they could be by their parents’ divorce.

How children may get negatively affected by a divorce

When kids do not get the support that they require while their parents get divorced, there may be some of the negative effects explained below:

Disappointing academic results

Kids may have trouble in focusing and concentrating while they are studying when he or she goes through deep anxiety. They may be depressed and become callous about studying unlike before when they led a normal family life.

Feel isolated

In order to come to terms with the fact their parents are soon getting divorced, some kids are known to isolate themselves completely from their parents, friends or other family members. Such isolation may aggravate matters further as it will give these kids time to ponder upon their parents’ divorce in certain ways, which may not be correct. In fact, they can even blame themselves since they will not like to share their thoughts with anyone rose, eventually leading to depression.

Behave rebelliously

Kids may get upset with what is happening to their parents. Their fury may have a ripple effect while attending school and have a negative impact on their camaraderie with the friends and other classmates. While many parents pay regard this issue as a passing phase, things can take a bad turn if not checked on time.

Bad peer group

There could be situations when some children may start feeling that they are not getting proper care and attention at their homes. So, they will try to get that from elsewhere, like bad peer groups who may have a negative influence on them. Moreover, since parents are busy sorting out their own problems, they may forget to console their little ones.

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

How Is Legal Separation Different From A Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorney Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsLegal separation is the formal process of confirming an actual separation of the parties, as opposed to filing for divorce.  Parties that chose legal separation do so for religious reasons, do not believe in divorce, or have concerns about medical insurance coverage, among other reasons.  If the parties proceed all the way to a final judgment in a legal separation case, they can obtain the same orders that they would have in a divorce case.  The biggest difference is that in the end, the parties are technically still married after a legal separation case and cannot get legally remarried.

Agreement for separation

An agreement on separation includes terms that are quite similar to those if the concerned couple was getting a divorce. This means there will be a distribution of their marital property, agreement on child visitation and custody if applicable. Not only this, the couple opting for a legal separation will also have to come to a decision on dividing any debts that were incurred by them after they got married.

Ideally, the above-mentioned terms should be binding in case the couple wants to get divorced. Moreover, both parties should hire their individual attorneys for negotiating all the details of the agreement on their legal separation. In case the spouses eventually make up their mind to go one step ahead and file for a divorce, it has been observed that the judge usually keeps the same terms as both the parties agreed to them earlier.

Differences between a legal separation and a divorce

Check out some of the following key differences between a divorce and a legal separation.

Name

While the spouse continues with the legal married name in the case of a separation, a wife may revert back to her maiden name after the divorce comes throughout the divorce be.

Child support

The conditions related to child support are ascertained when the legal separation takes place. When a couple decides to go for a divorce after being legally separated, ideally, the same terms are followed that were mentioned in the document for legal separation.

Marital status

A couple is still married even though there is a legal separation going on. But when the divorce is finalized, the marriage ends.

Child visits

Visitation rights of the child are decided when the legal separation takes place. If a divorce comes through after the legal separation, most of the times, the same terms are followed as mentioned in the document of their legal separation.

Alimony

The terms for alimony are ascertained during the legal separation. The conditions are typically kept same if the divorce gets finalized in the future.

Split of marital property

The couple agrees to the terms while going for a legal separation. When they do decide to finally divorce, the sane conditions that are mentioned in the document for legal separation are followed.

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

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

Child Custody In Paternity Cases: What You Need to Know

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsAs a Californian, you’re probably aware of the fact that our state is quite progressive. As a result, progressive policies are bound to affect every area of a Californian’s life and that includes family law.  In this blog, we are dealing with a very specific topic under family law – parentage.

California uses the term “parentage” interchangeably with terms such as “parental relationship” and “paternity”. Typically, paternity is established by the child’s parents or the courts. What that means is if a child is born in a marriage, the mother’s husband is automatically presumed to be the father under the law.

If a couple have had a child together but are not married, the law does not automatically assume that the father is the biological parent of the child, which may require a genetic DNA test to establish as well as a Declaration of Paternity signed by the father to establish parentage and then custody.

Establishing paternity 

To establish parentage or paternity, a court order must be obtained or a Declaration of Paternity must be signed to legally indicate who the child’s parents are. For instance, if a child is born out of wedlock, he/she is considered to not have a father unless parentage is legally established. This applies even when the father has evidence to show that he is the biological father.

The establishing of parentage is extremely important as it has a major impact on matters such as child support, visitation rights, and custody during divorce procedures.

If an individual refuses to establish paternity, the court will order them to undergo genetic testing.

Once parentage is established, the concerned man/woman will have to take up the role of a parent. He/she will have to pay child support, 50% of child care costs, and uninsured health care expenses. The same goes for individuals who are legally established as parents.

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