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

Why Material Disclosure of Assets is Significant in Divorce Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDivorcing parties have a natural tendency to conceal their material assets from their spouse and understate their income. Lawyers across California have faced this problem for many years now. However, disclosure of material assets, facts, income and information in a divorce case has great significance in financial settlements between the divorcing parties. The divorce law in California makes it mandatory for both parties.

The mandate to disclose financial and material information is based on the state’s policy, which aims to achieve the following:

  1. To preserve and protect the community assets and liabilities that are existing at the date of separation to avoid squandering of the assets before actual distribution.
  2. To ensure that sufficient and fair spousal and child support is provided.
  3. To achieve a proper division of community assets and liabilities on the legal separation of parties.

In order to achieve the aforementioned objectives, the family code under California divorce law requires accurate and full disclosure of all assets and liabilities in which the separating parties have interest, regardless of the property being characterized as either separate or community. The separating parties are also required to make a full disclosure of all income and expenses.

The divorcing parties also have a persisting duty to update and augment the disclosures. The purpose of this is to ensure that each party will make the final settlement with sufficient and full knowledge of all relevant facts underlying the divorce case. The separating parties make the disclosure by serving each other with a preliminary declaration and final declaration of disclosure.

The preliminary declaration should be served within 60 days of serving the divorce or separation petition. The declaration is not filed with the court but served only to each other. The declaration lays down the identity of all assets and liabilities, the share of the declaring person(s) in the asset or liability and the characterization of such assets and liabilities.

The final declaration of disclosure should be served at least 45 days before the first trial date. The final declaration includes all material facts and information regarding the characterization, valuation, amount, income and expenses of each party entering into the divorce case. Failure to comply with the disclosure requirements would be considered a breach of fiduciary obligation of the party. The court may sanction the party committing the breach by awarding sanctions and attorney’s fees to the other spouse as observed by section 271 under the California Family Code.

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

Top 5 Reasons for Couples Getting Divorced

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsMarriage is not an easy relationship. There are several cases when couples started their married life with the best intentions but ended up getting divorced. There could be various reasons for which couples get divorced. Here are some of the most common reasons for couples ending up being in divorce court.

Extra-marital affairs or adultery

According to a report published by AARP, even today, adultery plays a big role in people filing for divorce. But, reports also claim that there are several reasons that lead to a spouse getting into an extra-marital affair such as unequal sexual urges, getting distant, having different interests, resentment and fury.

Gain in weight or obesity

Though it may appear as a surprising reason, unusual weight gain by one of the spouses is also known to be a major reason why couples get divorced. A survey conducted by Men’s Health magazine reported that when one of the spouses gains a lot of weight, it can come in the way of their marital bliss. If your spouse does not attract or get turned on to your body, there could be problems like resentment and rejection, which can be marriage-threatening issues.

Monetary issues

According to a report published by the American Journal of Sociology, when a husband is unemployed, it can be a major criterion for divorce. In other words, lack of or insufficient money can cause big problems in a marriage, often leading to a divorce. If a married couple faces financial on strainers, there could be a lot of stress. This can further lead to a lack of proper communication and constant arguing. There are many couples who have different views on the others’ spending habits. Relationships may undergo lots of stress where one controls or has the finances, which often end up in a divorce.

Lack of proper communication

Often you will hear people saying that proper communication is the key to a successful marriage. Many relationship coaches opine that negative communication or lack of communication may diminish feelings of romance and love between couples. When a couple stops having effective communication, marital troubles leading to a divorce are not unusual.

Abuse

Abuse can be either a spouse being physically or emotionally abused by the other spouse. These are a common reason why many couples get divorced. Verbal or physical fighting that happens frequently between couples may make their relationship volatile and eventually end up in a divorce.

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

Handling Defaulting on Debts During a Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediator; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce can become a complicated subject, especially when debt becomes a part of it. If you are a married person, then you know what that means. There have been cases where one person walked away without paying a single cent while the other went bankrupt. It could be a nightmare for the one paying the debts.

How you handle debts after your split can have a major impact on your credit.

Debt on property

In states like California, both you and your spouse are liable for the debts incurred after you got married. It does not matter in whose name the account is. Both of you are responsible for the property purchased and the debt as to be shared. In other states, the debt is paid off by one person only. It might not sound fair but that is the law in those states.

Debt on credit accounts

The same goes for credit accounts as well. Since the credit was shared by you and your spouse, the debt too must be shared. Even if the divorce rules say that your spouse is responsible for paying the debt, you will still be a part of it. You miss the payments, and you become a defaulter. If you become a defaulter, then your credit score drops, making it harder to get credit in the future.

Handling joint debts

After you get divorced, make sure you close all joint accounts that are in your and your spouse’s name. Remove your spouse’s name from the authorized user list. Try getting the account converted into individual accounts if you can.

Try paying off as many debts as possible before the actual divorce. It will keep you prepared for any extra charges that might incur during your divorce proceedings.

Minimizing damage

When you close accounts, make sure that the credit accounts are in your name. Doing so will give you control over your money and you would not have to worry about any unknown debts.

It’s common among couples that one person borrows while the other spends. If you are one of them and you are on the spending side, then talk with your partner and work out a common ground. Understand that if your credit score is low, future lenders would not lend you money. Before you get divorced, try clearing as much debt as you can together.

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