The 4 Different Ways of Getting a Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsAre you planning to get divorced but do not know how to initiate the process? There is a common misconception that a divorce process is always a lengthy and complicated one, which may not be necessarily true. Here are some of the ways to get a divorce.

DIY divorce

It is possible that both you and your husband/wife have sorted out all the parenting, tax and financial issues already. So, you have time at your disposal to go through those detailed guidelines, draft and file documents in the court. A majority of the bar associations or states sell handbooks that are handy for filing the paperwork or a do-it-yourself divorce. Alternatively, one can also browse through the website of a state on uncontested divorces to get a hang of the things. Usually, it takes about two weeks to complete the documentation and procures notarized signatures. However, you need to wait for the court’s final divorce decree that may take anywhere between a fortnight to about six months based on the time taken by your court.

Mediated divorce

It is highly possible that both you and your partner failed to resolve the parenting, financial and tax-related issues.  However, if both of you can still be together in one too then a mediator with a neutral approach can guide both of you on the issues that could eventually sort out your differences. The basic aim of a neutral mediation is to assist you and your spouse to arrive at a settlement without the court’s intervention. It is not necessary that a mediator has to be an attorney.  However, if the mediator is one, the person can get all the legal documents ready and then file them in the court on your behalf. While mediation is a voluntary act, it becomes binding after an agreement is signed. The speed of a mediated divorce is reasonably fast and can be usually arrived within three months.

On-line DIY divorce

It is quite similar to a DIY divorce but the difference is that you need not procure blank court papers. Rather, the online program will ask you certain questions and you need to key in your responses. Thus the software program does the paperwork on your behalf. You just need to take a printout of the final documents and notarize them before filing in the court. It takes less time than a DIY divorce as the paperwork is simplified due to the online program.

Litigated divorce

Both the parties hire their respective attorneys who will represent them while the divorce proceedings are on.  It can be a time-consuming and costly procedure.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and why mediation is the best of these options for divorce, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

How Should You Behave While Legally Separated?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsA legal separation is all about the end of one stage in a life and starting a new stage similar to a divorce. It also means creating a new space for you and to try to rejuvenate yourself emotionally and spiritually. Irrespective of your legal separation leasing to a divorce or not, your behavior during the period of separation should be such that you can get the most in whatever you could be doing. Like mentioned earlier, when you and your spouse live separately, you get the much-needed space to resolve your marital concerns, have a check on your emotions and feelings and perhaps start fresh, other alone or in the marriage once again. When you behave civilly towards your spouse during this crucial period, Your motives for separating are bound to be successful. Here are some of those behaviors that can definitely work for you while you live separately from your spouse.

Try to develop and keep a close bond with your kids

When you have kids from your marriage, have a proper parenting plan in place so that they get to spend ample time with both you and the other parent. Your kids’ lives should not get disrupted because of the break-up of your marriage. You should communicate with your children regularly, show your involvement in their daily activities and try to find out about their progress in school Follow a regular schedule for visiting them. After all, your kids should be your key priority always. Though you could be suffering emotionally due to the disharmony in your marriage, make sure to hide it while you interact with your kids.

You should be respectful and courteous to your spouse

Your lines of communication should be always open even though both of you are living separately.  Though you could be furious, handle your emotions in such a manner that you can be civil to your spouse. When both of you are respectful towards each other and communicate well, life will be less stressful for the kids, your spouse and of course for you.

Adhere to the responsibilities that have been outlined in your legal separation document

When certain promises were made by you and subsequently added in the agreement, you should have both moral as well as legal obligations to follow that agreement. When you fail to do that, you may end up being on the court and can even alienate your kids due to your rude behavior. Try to adhere to the support obligations made by you, visitation schedules and all other matters mentioned in the legal separation document. When you fail to do so, your position may become weak if you go to the divorce court later on.

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

Division of Pension Plans In A Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsPension plans are usually divided in one of only two ways: “cash out” or by Qualified Domestic Relations orders (QDROs).  The latter is the most common way through which pension plans get handled. Under this scheme, it is ordered by the court that at the time of retirement of the employed spouse, the other one will be the recipient of a percentage of every pension check. This percentage is arrived at by dividing years when the spouses spent together in their once home as wife and husband by total number of all years when the spouse who is employed had participated in pension plan. The result amount of that division is community property percentage of pension plan. To give an example, if a husband has put in 20 years of his monetary contributions to a pension plan, and 10 of the coinciding years he lived with the wife, the share of the pension plan will be about 50 percent. In such a case, the wife will have 25 percent of the pension checks of the husband. 

Money plan 

As per reservation of jurisdiction, the spouse considered a non-employee could elect to receive her or his share of the pension benefits of the employee spouse at earliest time when the employed spouse will retire. It means that in the case of the employed spouse electing not to retire at earliest opportunity, that spouse must pay the non-employed spouse what the latter would have got in case the employed spouse would have retired. To give an example, if the husband becomes eligible to retire at 55, but elects not to retire in that age, his ex-wife could demand that he provides her the amount of money she would have received if he retired during that age. It is to be mentioned that in case the wife selects this option, she will not receive any increases due to higher cost of living after that date.

QDRO

The 1984 made Federal Retirement Equity Act created “Qualified Domestic Relations Order”. In this system, the court gives orders regarding the retirement plan of the spouse. The Federal law states that the employer must comply with the order terms.  The QDRO preparation is complicated and time consuming. It is also expensive. However, the QDRO is an essential step in dissolution process. A number of companies have been created for the sole aim of making them.

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

Can A Person Date While A Divorce Is Going On?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsMany couples often wonder whether they can date someone else while their divorce proceeding is still going on or not. This is quite an interesting question. As per the law, there is no reason why a person should not be able to start dating prior to the finalization of their divorce. Moreover, the person who is being dated should not feel worried that his/her name will feature in the divorce proceeding and the matter is not regarded as an adultery.

Divorce can take an emotional toll

There are many such instances when a person who just ended his or her marriage felt like going out for dates, perhaps to prove their appeal and attractiveness even after the breakup of their marriages. However, it is a good idea to get involved with someone else only after taking some breathing space. Until the time the divorced or separated person can feel unhappy about the end of their marriage, irrespective of being responsible for ending the same if not, they should sort out the unresolved matters before entering into a new relationship.

It is easier for an estranged couple to accept the fact that their marriage has ended when they come to terms with appreciating the roles played by each of them that resulted in their breakup. After all, it is an easier way out to blame the partner for the divorce. Only when the affected persons are able to put their anger, hurt and disappointment behind them, can they start their lives fresh with a new relationship with a relaxed state of mind. It is quite likely that they will continue nurturing their negative emotions from their past marriage to their new relationship.

There could be problems in reaching a divorce settlement when a person starts dating before the divorce comes through.

When one of the spouses begins dating prior to the divorce coming through, reaching a satisfactory divorce settlement could be a tough proposition. When the other spouse gets the information that his/her partner has already started seeing someone else may start following them closely and can become less amicable while reaching a divorce settlement.

There are several couples who negotiate matters related to child custody, marital properties and other pertinent issues with the assistance of their lawyers while they are going through a divorce.

The final takeaway is what you eventually plan to do will depend on your specific situation and mental condition. However, it may be a good decision to be involved with another person until the time your divorce comes through.

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

A Calm Mindset Is The Best Way To Get Divorced

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

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

Stop being resentful

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

Focus on a smooth split

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

Do not neglect your health

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

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

Is Separation Good For Your Marriage?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorney Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsAre you and your spouse continuously at loggerheads with one another? If that is the case, you might have started wondering whether it will be good to separate from one another or not. However, the solution is not as simple as it first appears. It will depend on various factors in your married life and the present situation both of you is dealing with.

Is it the right time to separate from your spouse?

When both you and your spouse discover that staying in each other’s company continuously is causing friction and heated arguments, separation could be a good idea  to see if you can save your marriage. In all relationships, many people tend to be extra dependent on one another and marriage is not an exception. Some people who do not have their own identity may start resenting their partners that could create major fractions in their relationships. Spending time apart from one another may help people to build up their individual identities. So, when they do decide to reunite their mind and spirit can renew the relationship.

Another scenario when separation could be good in a marriage is when one of the spouses has committed adultery while being married. Spending some time away from each other can help the spouse who was betrayed to think clearly and decide the future course of action. Moreover, staying close up the unfaithful husband or wife can cause more heartbreaks and agonies to the betrayed partner, which is not good to repair that marriage.

You find couples who are in a long distance relationship claim that such an arrangement has a rekindling effect on their relationship. Moreover, many of these couples say that it adds a new fuel to their otherwise mundane relationships. However, that does not necessarily mean you need to always move away from your spouse to generate the same kind of feelings. But, it is not a bad idea at all to separate at times briefly to bring in some passion.

Sometimes it may not be good to opt for separation in a marriage 

In any relationship, effective communication plays a key role. When you have certain concerns that you have stopped communicating with your spouse, the issues may never get resolved and your relationship can become worse. So, before you make a decision to go for a separation, you need to ensure that both you and your spouse have discussed all your issues and concerns. Take some time and speak freely about the issues that are bothering you and try to find out solutions for them. If both of you show a willingness to work towards resolving these issues, you have actually taken a positive step to save your marriage.

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

Financial Tips for Divorced Women

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsAre you a divorced woman and are a bit overwhelmed by the amount if bills appear to simply pile up? If that is so, you definitely need some kind of financial guidance. After your divorce, your standard of living changes. So, finding a proper financial assistance, paying bills and organizing are some of the prime tasks you need to embark upon.

Why divorced women need financial help

According to an estimate, about 40 percent of the divorced women have a new standard of living after their divorce comes through. Though in many cases the alimony provided by an ex-spouse could pay for living expenses, that still may not be adequate to provide all the expenses and lifestyle that they were used to while being married. The alimony they get after the divorce may not be adequate to take care of all the bills.

Moreover, the condition is even worse for some divorced women who do not even know how to pay their bills since they did not do these tasks while married. So, they are at a loss where and how to start from as far as the question of paying the bills and organizing their financial things pop up. In such scenarios, these women require some handy tips for paying their bills so that they are on a right track.

Tips for divorced women to pay their bills

  • Collect all the bills that you have received in one place for each month.
  • Now separate these bills on the basis of their due dates or depending on the frequency of their payment, For instance, if you have to pay twice a month for some bills, you can make two different piles. One pile to be paid at the month’s beginning and the second pile to be paid at the end of the month.
  • Creating a monthly budget is very important so that you know how much monthly income is left with you after making the bill payments. This will also help you to make timely payment for your credit cards. So, paying the bills should be the first priority. You can then use the remaining money for the rest of the expenses.
  • Put all the checks for your bills in separate bill payments to be prepared for the month. In case you make your bill payments through banks, set up your payment in advance to avoid last moment tension.
  • After you get paid, mail your first lot of bill envelopes that are due for the month’s first half. You can repeat the same procedure when you receive your second paycheck.

Are you facing difficulty with writing checks? Do not worry as you can get online instructions to fill them. In case you are interested in making online bill payments, you should get in touch with your bank and find out whether they provide such services or not. If they are offering the service, their representative would definitely help you with the entire process. There are some companies that accept payments on their corporate websites or over the phones. You can get to know the details from the bills sent to you or by calling the payment center of the company.

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

What Should You Do When You Realize Your Marriage is Over?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsOne of the life’s most heartbreaking situations is when one of the spouses in a marriage has decided to end the marriage and file for a divorce while the other still wants the marriage to work out. It may be possible that you are going through such a scenario in your life right now. It is normal to feel a blend of conflicting emotions. Moreover, you are perhaps not certain about your next course of action. It is possible that a painful phase of your life like this is a challenge, which appears extremely difficult to endure. However, do not lose hope since you will definitely get through this.

However, you must remember that situations can vary from case to case, so it is not necessary that all the actions that are mentioned below will apply to all the marriages. However, some of them will help you to overcome this storm in your life or perhaps protect your marriage too.

  1. Be wary who you approach for seeking solace and comfort

When you feel confused or hurt, it is natural that you would like to reach out for comfort and peace of mind. However, the issue is that many people do not make the correct choices when they are confused or emotionally injured. Avoid resorting to destructive behavior to reduce your pain. Rather, you need to be in the company of people who love you as well as your spouse.

  1. Continue caring for your spouse

Do not unnecessarily give ultimatums or pick up fights. Try to love them unconditionally and pray for them. Be an honest wife or husband as long as you are in the marriage. You should make attempts to reduce the tension by loving them. Hate often brings in more hate, so try to be loving.

  1. If you have kids, try protecting them from the discomfort and turbulence in their lives.

When you have kids from your marriage, the constant fights between you and your spouse can be a bigger ordeal for them. Hence, you must do everything to ensure that they are adequately shielded from the tensions and troubles in your marriage, though it is easier said than done. When you say hurtful things to your spouse while fighting with him or her in the presence of your kids, they are sure to get emotionally affected and get disturbed. Such feelings may affect their studies and personality.

You and your spouse have now tried out every trick in the book. Both of you have even attended counseling sessions together for a few times. In fact, it has been you who have been insisting on those sessions to save your marriage. However, despite all the steps taken, you are still unable to get along with your spouse. When such feelings get repetitively familiar to you, perhaps it is time to call it quits and seek the advice of a good divorce lawyer to start your divorce proceedings.

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