Ways to Take Charge In Your Divorce Process

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsHave you wondered what your first step should be when your spouse tells you that he or she wants a divorce from you?

Managing your emotions should be the first and most important step to start your divorce process

The first thing you should do is to have a grip on your emotions. When you are furious, be cautious of not letting that anger create a scary and hostile environment for your children. Use your anger as a positive energy to channelize it toward taking constructive actions toward freedom. When you feel depressed about losing your spouse forever, fetch for the help or support you may require. If you feel anxious about your future, you should take meaningful steps to create a secure one.

Your next step should be to educate yourself. It is time for you to learn about your choices as it can help you to realize that you may have some sort of a control mechanism in place over what may happen. Several good divorce lawyers and professional mediators have plenty of free and relevant information put on their web portals.

A divorce can have an effect on various aspects of your life. Some of them include your legal responsibilities and rights with respect to your ex or spouse, your children, long-term as well as short-time financial security, your job, your relationships, your soul and your emotions. You need to take proper care of yourself since you are going through an emotional roller-coaster ride during your divorce or separation period. It makes sense to give some time to yourself and grieve about your tremendous loss. But start thinking about how to build your future too.

Gather your divorce team

Following is a list of all those people who you may like to have in your divorce team. Although it may look like a long list, you may need only some of them based on your unique situation.

  • A good divorce lawyer who can guide you about what your legal responsibilities and rights are. They can also represent you in the court if required
  • A reputable life coach specializing in the field of divorce
  • A therapist or a counselor when you are going through emotional turmoil and distress
  • A professional mediator who tries to help both your spouse and you to negotiate in an unbiased manner but effectively and constructively
  • A therapist for your children so that they can speak freely to someone outside their family
  • A dear friend who is always there beside you are is willing to listen to your worries and concerns
  • A certified financial advisor specializing in divorce matters so that you get professional help in understanding your various liabilities, income, assets as well as expenses
  • Real estate agent in case you are planning to purchase a different house or sell your present home

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

How Long Should You Wait To Get Remarried After A Default Judgment?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorney; California Divorce MediatorsA default judgment in a divorce case has its advantages. In fact, some people want a default judgment because it saves a lot of money for them. First, you won’t have to pay much as attorney fees or for appearing in the court. Second, you won’t have to disclose any financial information such as income and assets.

However, before you can get married, there are certain requirements that must be met. Every couple who go through a divorce must follow the requirements before their divorce forms can be accepted and a final judgment can be passed.

  1. The six-month waiting period

The six-month waiting period is mandatory for every couple going through a divorce. The period starts when one attorney representing a party serves the other party with divorce papers. In some cases, the resolution can extend more than six months but that it can’t happen any time before that.

Complex cases involve a lot of paperwork and this is the reason why the court grants individual parties up to six months to get everything in order. It’s best to consult an attorney when dealing with paperwork because they know which document is required and which is not. And, note that the end of six months does not mark the end of marriage.

  1. The court’s judgment of dissolution

After six months, the court goes through the documents and passes a judgment. The judgment of dissolution can also be passed before the six-month waiting period. There are many ways by which you can obtain a judgment of dissolution and some of them are trial, bifurcation or settlement. It’s best to consult an experienced attorney because different paths for dissolution of marriage are taken on different circumstances. A bifurcation is done when both parties don’t agree to the terms and conditions of the divorce as put down by the court.

Conclusion

A default judgment is a useful thing when disclosing finances are in question. However, there are certain conditions that must be met before the divorce can be finalized. One of them is the six-month wait period that every couple going through a divorce must go through. After the wait period, the California court passes a judgment of dissolution based on the paperwork provided. The judgment again depends on a variety of different factors which can be clearly explained by an experienced attorney.

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

How To File For Divorce When Not A California Resident For The Prior 6 Months

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators in California; California Divorce Mediators; California laws and rules regarding divorces are straightforward and do not require much insight. As is common in other states, California too has residency requirements for couples who want a divorce.

The residency requirements for a California dissolution of marriage are clearly stated on the first page of the Petition form. The most important requirement for petitioners and respondents is that they must have stayed for a minimum of six months in California before they can get divorced. However, since not everyone can meet the criteria there are ways to go around the six-month residency requirement.

At least one spouse must meet the requirement

A divorce can take place if either of the spouse meets the residency requirement of California. The form states that at least one spouse must meet the residency requirement for the divorce to take place.

When both spouses don’t meet the requirement

It becomes a bit complicated when neither of the spouse meets the six-month residency requirement. In California, the laws are clearly stated and avoiding or breaking them can result in severe punishment. One of the best options is to simply wait till the six-month residency requirement is fulfilled. Talk to your spouse and wait it out. It is useful for people who are nearing the requirement period and don’t want to wait too long for the divorce to take place.

The other option is to file for a legal separation than a dissolution of marriage. That way you won’t have to stay with your spouse and once one of you reach the residency requirements, you can get a divorce. After you meet the six-month requirement, you can file for an amended petition and request the court to convert it into a divorce petition. By doing so, you immediately get access to the Family Law Court.

Conclusion

California has strict residency requirements and couples who want a divorce are expected to stay for at least six months before a divorce can take place. But many couples don’t meet the requirement but they still want a divorce to take place. The most common way to do it is to wait for the six-month period to get over. Additionally, couples can opt for legal separation and then get it converted into a divorce. However, it is best to consult an experienced divorce lawyer before going through a divorce proceeding.

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

How to Cope Up With a Legal Separation from Your Spouse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen a marriage is on the verge of a collapse, both the parties may say things they do not mean out of anger and frustration. If you cool down a bit and take a rationalistic view, you will realize that although both you and your spouse have entered into the marriage with complete consent, you are not giving the efforts of late that you had been giving in the beginning of your relationship. Some of them include:

  • Both of you have stopped complimenting one another
  • You are not willing to help each other anymore
  • You have stopped speaking about your feelings
  • Both of you have stopped complementing one another

It is possible that if you give some space to one another, both of you will realize the important aspects of your marriage that seem to have fallen apart. Do you feel that is the case between both of you? If that is so, separating legally from your spouse can be the most suitable alternative for you. While making a decision on whether to opt for a trial separation or a permanent one, you may go through a lot of emotional upheavals. Though separating from your spouse may appear to be the best thing to do, chances are that it may not be the most suitable action for you.

How you decide to spend the time of your separation is very crucial when you and your spouse take a call to separate. You should use the time to get some useful perspective and retrospect on the pros and cons of your marriage. While such a phase in your life can be shocking, you can utilize it well by following the tips mentioned below:

Do not spend all your free time alone 

It is the perfect time to meet up your family and friends who can help you to cope up in this transitional phase in your life. You should use the time to spend some time with your nephew or visit your parents or grandparents. It is crucial to contact your social circle especially since an important chunk of your social circle could have walked out the door.

You should also make an effort to enjoy your “me” time 

Irrespective of how unhealthy or happy your marriage was, there is likelihood that you both you and your partner spent a lot of time in each other’s company. Although, it may not have been quality time, yet it was time nevertheless. So, now that you are separated, utilize your time to enjoy moments of solitude and peace. It is also the right time for you to follow your hobbies or passion. Try reigniting a hobby, which you might not have followed for a while. You can also listen to some lively music to recharge and revitalize you. However, do not spend this time to indulge in self-pity. Sulking and sitting alone think about the past cannot heal your pain.

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

Tips for Splitting Marital Property During a Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in orange countyBefore understanding how your marital pretty should be split during a divorce, it is important to recognize what a marital property means. Any property owned by you or your spouse during the course of your marriage is counted as a marital property. The properties you owned prior to getting married or any property that you inherit while being married is not considered as your marital property. Some spouses are under the impression that they can escape the process of splitting their marital assets; however, a divorce lawyer is a smart professional. Hunting for hidden assets is one of their top priorities when they fight cases for their clients. If you do not want to get penalized by the court for tucking your marital asset, later on, it is better to disclose such properties in the beginning. Check out the following tips for splitting your marital properties while your divorce proceeding is pending.

Take help of a mediator

It is a good decision that you hire a mediator who will help you by working on sticky issues, which may pop up while the marital properties are being split. While it is a requirement in some States to have mediation while the divorce process is on, other States do not have such a requirement. It is better to save your money and time by hiring a reputable mediator who will help you in this process prior to the involvement of the courts.

Stop fighting on small issues

When you let emotions rule over your good sense, your objectives may not be fulfilled. For instance, there could be a portrait in your bedroom, which you are emotionally attached to and want to take it with you by any means and you do not agree with your spouse that he or she should have it. In case you fail to arrive at an amicable settlement on such trivial issues, your judge may not care about your emotional attachment to certain objects. A court’s job is to find out the assets acquired by you during your marriage, As such, it will instruct the property to be split according to the laws of your state and not according to what you want. To put it simply, it is you and not the judge who has made an emotional and financial investment in your marital property. A judge cannot and is not in a position to order for the split of marital properties in a manner that will satisfy both the parties involved. If the couples can mutually sort out those issues, then only both of them can be satisfied. Any attempt made to hide marital assets is a legal offense, which means you are violating the law.

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

Posted on Monday, September 18th, 2017. Filed under California divorce, California Family Law, Division of Property, Division of retirement plans, Divorce, Divorce & Debts, Divorce & Division of Property, Divorce & Family Businesses, Divorce advice, Divorce court proceedings, Divorce Mediation, Family Law, Frequently asked questions, Orange County divorce, Orange County divorce mediation, Orange County divorce mediators.
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Child Custody When One Parent is a Non-U.S. Citizen

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsIt is common knowledge that nearly thousands of foreign citizens migrate to the US every year in search of a better livelihood. Even though the process helps in uplifting the social, political and economic status of these immigrants, problems can arise when complicated issues of domestic violence, divorce and child custody come into play.

Dealing with International Clients

It is common for foreign clients of American lawyers to be faced with numerous strange predicaments. However, the common ones may include dilemmas such as the parent wanting to shift base to a foreign country and taking the child along either at the time of separation or after divorce. Alternatively, the parent may have already taken the child with him/her and the spouse is demanding for the child to be sent back. Sometimes, one parent is unwilling to trust the law and order of the foreign country with regards to custody cases.  So it is important to first know whether the country that the other parent is from recognizes the “Hague Convention” with respect to the international law for child abductions.

What is the essence of child abduction law and custody jurisdiction in such cases? A parent is barred from gaining any practical or legal advantage by moving the child’s base to a new country or state. It is imperative for the couple seeking separation or divorce to register the case in the court located in the habitual residence of the child prior to moving.

General Principe for Child Custody

In case where a US citizen marries an immigrant, child custody cases can get quite complicated. But the general principle with regards to child custody as spelt out by the U.S. Supreme Court in one of its notable cases is this:

The interest of the parent in the kid’s upbringing is of highest importance. Therefore, a person’s immigration status is never the only factor which is taken into account when deciding whether or not he/she cane get child custody.

The custody of the child is determined by the overall best interests of the child. This typically includes his/her medical, educational and financial situation.

Consider a hypothetical case wherein a couple is fighting for child custody and the father is originally from Russia whereas the mother is US citizen. The father, despite being a Russian citizen has every right to try and obtain the custody of his child. He may do so by proving to the court that he is capable of providing the child with education, financial support as well as good health. He can find a way to show to the court that is he would be able to make a certain amount of money once back in his own country and also highlight the resources that would be made available to ensure the child’s overall well being in Russia.

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

The One Day Divorce Program In California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsProtracted divorce proceedings may soon be another footnote in legal history. James Mize, a Judge in Sacramento has created a program which makes it easy and swift to divorce in a day. The newly launched program is made to cater to individuals who are unable to afford a proper divorce lawyer. According to Mize, the program pulls in folks who languish at the bottom and who have no help and does not have any kind of representative assistance.

Needed services for such an initiative are catered by 80 attorneys, miscellaneous staff and a number of law students. They will volunteer the needed services to assist couples discuss all terms related to divorce agreements. They will also prepare the necessary paperwork needed to obtain final judgment. When all the steps are completed, the relevant parties will approach the judge in the same day. The once couples will subsequently exit the courthouse carrying a final judgment of marriage dissolution.

Participation

This One Day Divorce Program is best for litigants who want to represent themselves. They should have filed a divorce or dissolution of marriage case within Sacramento County, California. They also must show themselves ready for judgment. To figure out whether the case is ready for judgment, the answer must be positive for questions like whether the Respondent were served summons and also petition. There should a Proof of Service of Summons. Alternatively, a response should have been filed with Court.  The final question is whether the individual and spouse would have completed an agreement on all the orders which will be included in the judgment, like property division, spousal support and debts. In case the couple has children, child support and a parenting plan should have been included as well.

Do note that any action leading to dissolution in Sacramento County is possible only if one spouse or both have lived in the county for the last three months. They should be California residents for a minimum of six months. Other than the residency requirements, a few extra rules must also be considered in case one spouse lives outside California State. To be more specific, a spouse who resides in any other state or even in another country could make an objection to a California court jurisdiction. If this happens, a California Court could be stopped from taking important orders.

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

What Happens If You Fail To Disclose All Your Assets In A Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation lawyers; California Divorce MediatorsWhile you might find it tempting to conceal a certain part of your assets from your divorcing spouse, it is not really a good idea when it comes to legal implications of the same. Similarly, if in case you suspect that your partner is not providing complete disclosure of his or her assets for the purpose of distribution in a divorce, you must understand that the state laws of California stipulate stringent legal actions against such an act. When it comes to rectifying the omission of an asset disclosure, there are typically two aspects that are taken into consideration: the time of discovery and whether the omission was intentional or a mistake.

Asset omission through a mistake and discovered after the final court order

In case a spouse has inadvertently failed to make a complete disclosure of his/her assets, and it is discovered after the final judgment has been announced, the court has the right to alter the order and divide the asset as per the stipulates of the Californian State laws.

Intentional omission discovered before the final court order

Speaking of the obvious, an intentional concealment of an asset by a divorcing party is treated quite differently as in the case where the omission was an honest mistake. According to the Californian law, both the divorcing parties have the ‘fiduciary duty’ of serving a declaration of disclosure that contains all the information about their assets and debts to each other, failing which the guilty party will be faced with stringent corrective actions from the court of law. In some cases, an incomplete disclosure of an asset may also lead to the court ordering 100% ownership of the said asset to the other party involved.

Intentional omission discovered after the final court order

In the event that you discover an intentional un-disclosure of your spouse’s assets after the court has announced the judgment, the Californian law offers you the right to set aside the court order as ‘based on fraud’. In addition to this, you also have the right to file a tort action or the infringement of your rights, against your guilty partner.

The bottom line is that it is prudent to follow the laws of your state and provide proper disclosures of your assets and liabilities, in order to facilitate smooth and trouble free divorce proceedings. It is always advisable to be as transparent as possible in your case.

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

How To Withdraw Divorce Filings And Cancel Your Case

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsIt is not uncommon for parties to a divorce or termination of domestic partnership to subsequently reconcile before their case is done.  In that event, you would need to file a “Request for Dismissal” with the court (California Judicial Council Form CIV-110). This will dismiss the case, if the legal separation or divorce is not finalized.  Remember that if you later wish to proceed down this path of reconciliation and then later you change your mind (you want to be divorced), you must begin from the start. You have to pay the court filing fee again and also qualify for any fee waiver.

In case you are not the spouse who have initiated the divorce case, it will not be possible to stop the process by your own. There is a need for the other spouse to file Request for Dismissa if they filed a Response in the case.  This is required to dismiss the case.

In case both the spouses or the domestic partners have filed for joint summary dissolution, and judgment has not reached the final stage, any one of the spouses can terminate the case by the filing of “Notice of Revocation of Petition for Summary Dissolution” (Judicial Counsel Form FL-830.) The other form is “Revocation of Termination of Domestic Partnership”. Both of them can be done with Secretary of State (domestic partners).

Registrations for domestic partnerships are different from the marriage licenses. The office of California Secretary of State continues to process the Declarations of Domestic Partnership and Notices of Termination of Domestic Partnership  along with other related filings which are permissible by the state laws. Marriage licenses are processed by County governments.

Provisions which govern the domestic partnerships can be located in California Family Code. It begins with section 297.  There is an establishment of domestic partnership when persons who satisfy criteria stated by section 297 of California Family Code file either Confidential Declaration of Domestic Partnership or Declaration of Domestic Partnership with California Secretary of State. The copy of declaration and Certificate of Registration of Domestic Partnership can be returned to partners post filing the declaration.

Two individuals who have lived together in a state that can be regarded as domestic partners and if those two meet criteria as laid out by the section 297 of California Family Code could file Confidential Declaration of Domestic Partnership with California Secretary of State.

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

All You Need to Know About California Child Custody Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsThe Orange County Family Law local rules as well as the broader California laws require a mandatory child custody mediation to be set before a court hearing at which a court order or modification to an earlier court order pertaining to child custody and visitation take place.

Moreover, if a parent fails to turn up for a child custody mediation session without having valid reasons for his or her absence once or repeatedly, he or she may be prevented from being heard further on the issues of child custody and visitation. If it goes to the hearing stage, it may become extremely difficult for the absentee parent to explain their stand.

Custody issues are often the hardest to settle and can’t be settled under premarital agreement settlements since the right of a child belongs exclusively to the child themselves and their best interests would be held paramount by all courts.

Although a mediator can’t be decisions like a judge or an arbitrator, they can definitely propel the discussion between the two parties forward and create a peaceful environment under which discussions can be held, even for such spouses who have come out of an acrimonious relationship and don’t see eye to eye. A mediator plays a vital role and his intervention is often the only reason why a discussion goes forward.

How to prepare for child custody mediation 

In order to prepare for child custody mediation, try to gather as much evidence or relevant information about your child that would help you while presenting your side of the argument or making your proposals.

One important step is to understand your custody rights and obligations from an experienced and licensed attorney. You can also prepare and present a list of daily schedules for yourself and your child that would convey how emotionally and personally invested you are in the growth and welfare of your child.  You should also present your child custody and visitation proposal during the mediation process after taking advice from your attorney.

You will also need to come to an agreement with the other parent for deciding the scheduled visits and where to drop and pick up the child from and also special occasions or moments in the child’s life when they would expect both their parents to gather.

You may also do well to get an understanding of some commonly used legal phraseology or jargon that may be thrown around during the mediation discussions. Consult your attorney and prepare yourself accordingly.

In order to prepare for the child custody meetings, be honest and think, if you are really capable of taking care of your child. At all points, their interests will be to be kept in mind. Be compassionate towards the other party and you may be able to reach a mediation agreement regarding to your child easily.

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