Tips to Keep Your Kids Out of Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorney; California Divorce MediatorsThere are many such instances when kids may find themselves trapped while their parents are getting divorced.  In majority cases, conflict precedes a divorce. When a couple is childless, they would simply divorce one another and may avoid seeing them again. However, things are different when they have children from their marriage.  In such a scenario, you may have to keep meeting your former spouse repeatedly as the spouses need to co-parent. The responsibility lies with both the parents to ensure that their co-parenting relationship does not create a stress in the kids’ lives. After all, they should not feel entangled in the midst of the conflict of their parents. The following tips will ensure that children are kept away from stressful and emotional situations.

Do not articulate your negative thoughts about the other parent in front of your kids

This is not a difficult task to accomplish. Whenever your children are with you, you should concentrate on them. Avoid being vocal about your negative thoughts on the spouse while interacting with your children. All that toxic stuff need to be compartmentalized. Simply keep them sealed and do not share them with your kids.

You should not expect your kids will not share secrets with their other parent

You should always give your ex-spouse the same kind of respect that he/she had before you divorced. While this may take some effort and acting, but you should always be courteous to the other parent for the welfare of your kids. This will, in turn, ensure that your offspring will also be respectful towards you.

Avoid discussing financial matters with your kids before or even after your divorce.

In case your divorce lawsuit seems to be an expensive affair, your kids need not know the details of it.  Moreover, if you are going through financial constraints after your divorce, you should not use your little ones to vent out your worries and apprehensions.  In case you are having financial issues while still being married, avoid discussing the matter with the kids. Do not say or discuss anything that will make your kids become concerned over your financial crisis.

You should not expect that your kids should take your side in the divorce

Do not treat your divorce as just a game where a scoreboard is being maintained and there are two teams. It is not a job of your children to act as your cheerleaders during the divorce.

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

How To Provide Consistency in Parenting Styles After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsWhen there are too many contradictions in the households of the divorced parents, the children may get baffled, feel insure and even get emotionally scarred for the rest of their lives. As it is, your divorce has led to a feeling of insecurity and void in your children’s lives. What they now need is some sort of predictability, consistency, order and lots of love from both their parents. They need complete peace of mind but if their parents are constantly changing the rules in their respective houses to simply spite one another, it is the kids who are going to be affected in the long run.

The following are a few important suggestions on ways of providing consistency from one parental household to the other for the best interests of the kids.

  • Sit down and discuss together

An ideal scenario will be when both the parents meet and discuss all the rules they will follow in their individual households going forward. While the parents may not feel comfortable to meet one another after their divorce, they should have this face-to-face meeting in person for their children’s sake. They can include their kids too in this meeting if the latter is above six-year-old. The two most crucial essentials for the minor kids of divorce are continuity and structure. A crucial thing to keep in mind is that it is not only about you two but primarily about your kids. These rules can be about anything and everything that concerns your child starting from whether they should be permitted to eat junk food, if yes, then how much, how many hours should they be allowed to play video games, bedtime, wake up time and so on.

  • Take part in parenting classes

Perhaps both the parents or either of them does not know how to compromise on certain issues for better co-parenting. In such scenarios they can always get themselves enrolled in some wonderful classes, typically conducted by the family law courts. It can be a good idea to request your therapist or an Orange County divorce attorney to give your a referral to attend such workshops. These parenting classes demonstrate how parents can bring up their kids without bias. Many of them also highlight some of the universal guidelines for rearing the children. Some of these courses also teach the divorced parents on ways of compromising and where they should do it. Others may point out the sad repercussions on the kids when they face conflicting rules on two households.

  • Consult a professional mediator

Consulting with an Orange County divorce mediator can prove to be beneficial for both the parents, in order to work out a parenting schedule and guidelines or rules for each parent to follow in creating consistency in each household on all parenting issues, including discipline.

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

Dealing With Divorce Involving A Special Needs Child

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediation Orange County; California Divorce MediationWhen you have a kid with special needs, there could be special issues in your divorce. Hence, when you visit your divorce lawyer, you should describe the facts to him or her clearly and accurately as it will be a different divorce altogether.

Implication of divorces involving special needs children 

If it is a divorce pertaining to special-needs then your lawyer may require specialized understanding, specialized details, external experts and a distinct discovery process. When you do not furnish all the requirements to the lawyer or not procure all the information that will be needed for your divorce since you are unaware of the requirements, there can be severe repercussions for your child or your entire family.

Questions your lawyer may ask you

How can the needs of a special child affect the co-parenting and custodial arrangements that are being contemplated? After all, a standard parenting plan can be quite inadequate. How much amount the other parent should pay for the support of such a child? Do the parents know how long the support should be paid since the child may not be self-supporting ever? Does the spouse need to purchase additional life insurance in such circumstances? If so, then how much and for what duration? How does your lawyer ascertain whether there are special requirements in reality or not when one of the parties say there are while the other parent goes on claiming that the kid is just doing fine.

Your divorce lawyer may conduct a fact-finding exercise while conducting the first interview for you. In fact, it can be a different exercise altogether as compared to the way they deal with their other divorce clients.

Some of the questions they may ask you are as follows:

  • Has there been a formal diagnosis?
  • Do both the parties agree with that diagnosis?
  • Who made such a diagnosis?
  • What kind of testing has been done and by whom?
  • Does your kid have an IEP?
  • Do any special financial requirements exist?
  • Is your child’s condition treatable, curable or is it a terminal one?
  • Does the state or a private insurance company reimburse additional and special expenses?
  • Are these expenses non-recurring, recurring or ongoing?
  • What is the daily schedule of your child?
  • Do you think any such expenses will occur in future that is not being incurred now?
  • Are there expenses related to the child’s medications?
  • Does your kid have problems with transitioning between two different environments?
  • Are there any special dietary requirements?
  • Does one of the parents need to undergo excess time commitment or any kind of special training as compared to the other parent?
  • Is your kid with special needs affecting the other kids in the family who do not have special needs?

Depending on the severity of the child’s special needs, there may be a need for adult child support beyond them reaching the age of majority (age 18), so it is important to address this issue in the divorce judgment that may include having the child formally assessed as to abilities to work and live on their own before the child turns 18.

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

Why Do Some Parents Not Want To Pay For Child Support?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce mediators; California divorce mediatorsA major aim of a professional mediator is to guide and assist the parents to keep the best interests of their kids in mind. A significant decision, which affects the kinds involved in the divorce, is the amount of money to be paid as child support to the parent who gets their custody from the court. How this amount gets calculated may vary from state to state and depend on the total number of kids of the marriage.

Goal of a mediator

The key goal of a mediator is to make sure that the final child custody amount to be paid is agreed upon by both the parents. The trick to arrive at this agreement is to ensure that the parent held accountable for the child support payment gets a proper buy-in in the course of the decision-making process.

Reasons for not paying for child support

A common reason why many people do not pay the stipulated child support money is that they are not convinced that the amount they should be paying will help in supporting their kids. Another key reason for refusing to pay is many people find it difficult to digest when a lawyer or the judge tells them to pay for child support and determine the amount and frequency.

Many are under the misconception that disputes related to child support are only restricted to divorces with high conflict. However, in reality, that is incorrect. Even while the two parties are having an amicable divorce, issues related to child support can be a big headache. A parent may feel it highly frustrating to hand over their hard earned money to the former spouse and yet enjoy no authority over the exact allocation of that money. When there is uncertainty about how the funds will be exactly spent, it will be difficult to feel inspired enough to pay the amount for child support and also paying it regularly.

The key issue mostly originates when a spouse does not have an adequate say in the exact amount of child support. If lawyers, judges or other stakeholders go about making such decisions, the said spouse may not be fully convinced always. On the other hand, if the person concerned is given some say to shape up the decision, they would definitely be more willing to adhere to such a plan of child support. When a payer gets privileges related the kind of child support payment they need to pay and how the money will be used, they are motivated and try to pay the agreed upon payment for child support. Thus, it is crucial for the couple to set up an initial agreement and make sure that it works out successfully.

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

Understanding The Types of Child Custody in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsIn the State of California, couples who are on the path of divorce are advised to read up about all the rights that apply to them so they do not get the short end of the stick. Even unmarried parents have legal rights that cannot be stripped away from them.

Joint legal custody

According to California’s Family Code, parents that have joint legal custody of their children need to ‘share’ the responsibilities of ensuring the well being of the children. Share is the critical term here. You don’t need to share details about everything, but you will need to share details of critical parts of the child’s life such as medical, dental, and education records unless specified otherwise by a court.

Under joint legal custody, a parent cannot do things such as infringing on other’s custodial time, taking the child and moving away, or seeking therapy for the child without the knowledge and consent of the other parent. If a parent violates joint legal custody, then a court could strip some of the parent’s rights away depending on the nature of the violation.

Sole physical custody

The parent whop does not have sole physical or legal custody of a child still possesses the right to access records about the child in question. The parent will also have ‘reasonable visitation’ rights. Sole custody does not deprive noncustodial parents of all their rights, and they have the right to ask courts to strictly define visitation times and schedules. However, the sole custodian will have the exclusive legal authority to make decisions about a child’s education, welfare, and health. The noncustodial parent has the right to challenge these decisions in court and have it overturned if a court determines that it is against a child’s best interests.

What about child preference?

After the California Family Code 3042 was implemented in January 2012, child preference is now more important than ever before. A child’s preference will be taken into account by a court as will factors such as maturity, parental influence, social conditioning, financial health, and other factors that affect a child’s well-being. If a child is sufficiently mature and meets all the relevant criterion, a court will be obliged to respect the wishes of the child. Children who are or above the age of 14 are allowed to attend and address the court regarding their preferences.

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

Can A Couple Go For A Trial Separation While Living Together?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsThere are many marriages that go through the process of trial separations. Contrary to common perception, a trial separation does not necessarily mean that your relationship has ended. Rather, it means that both the parties have made up their minds to take a temporary break in the relationship. Plus, they want to utilize the separation period to take a call on if they want to give another chance to their relationship or not. The period of solitude can help the spouses to assess their problems in an objective manner and find out how life will be while living alone and enjoying a period of freedom.

From the name itself, it is obvious that trial separation typically means that the spouses will be living in separate houses. So, is it possible that both of you will be living in the same house and yet go through a trial separation?

Although there are several couples who undergo emotional separation during this time period, it is not mandatory that they need to separate physically. It is a commonplace to find trial separations occurring while staying in the same home. The same is typically true when there are young kids from the marriage. Following are some of the guidelines to ensure the success of your trial separation while living under the same roof together.

Enter into a truce with your partner and explain each other

If you and your spouse keep arguing all the time, there is no point to opt for a trial separation and staying in the same house. It is better to agree on the time frame of your separation by calling a truce and stop bickering with your spouse. You should also express the reasons for which you desire to separate.

Establish certain ground rules

Will you see or meet other people while you are separated? Can you still text or call each other while you are separated? Have you decided how to look after your finances and shared vehicle? Do you have plans to reunite when the separation period comes to an end? Are you just waiting for the other spouse to save some money and then leave?

You need to consider the kids

If both of you have kids together, it is crucial to have a proper structure in place. It is better to set aside some time and discuss whether you will make decisions unanimously or as separated parents. If you want to take united decisions for the sake of your kids, it makes sense to maintain a proper routine so that your kids feel secure and safe. The routine may constitute of details like who will cook dinner, how should you spend the weekend nights together and so on. In case there is a routine that you have been following for eating dinner or breakfast together, it is better to continue with that.

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

Symptoms That Your Kids Are Getting Stressed From Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody attorneys in Orange CountyDivorce triggers both kids as well as adults to make several adjustments and face tough challenges. However, there is a difference in how each child responds to their parent’s divorce. While a majority of them will handle these challenges with maturity and sensibility and grow up into well-adjusted adults, there are some kids who go through behavioral and emotional difficulties when their parents go through a divorce. And though there are differences in the long-term reaction in a child to the divorce of their parents, many kids may go through emotional distress and emotions like conflicts, confusion, guilt, fury, anxiety, and sadness in the short-term. Such emotions pop up when there is a question of loyalty towards their parents and a strong desire to spend more time with their absent parent.

When you notice the following symptoms of distress within your kid, you need to take appropriate action such as taking them to a therapist so that they can overcome their emotional problems when your divorce comes through.

Drastic change in academic performance

Do you find your kid is showing dismal performance in the tests? Is he losing interest in his school activities? This could be a telltale sign that he is emotionally disturbed.

Refuses to spend time with his/her parent

When there is no issue of child abuse in a family and yet a kid shows an unwillingness to spend their time with the parent, it can be a symptom that the kid feels the requirement of taking sides. A child should not feel that they are forcefully put in a situation where they have to select one parent over their other.

Increase in certain type of physical complaints

When you find them complaining about their physical conditions such as stomach aches or headaches quite often, it may mean that they are going through a tough time to come up with the divorce of their parents.  Allergy, stomachaches, and headaches are some of the most common symptoms that your kid is going through an emotional distress.

Prolonged and significant change in the behavior

You have always known that your child to be extremely polite bit you may find them being inconsiderate all of a sudden when your divorce case is going on. Your outgoing, gregarious and talkative kid can express less interest in social activities and friends.

Does not show keenness to engage in family, school, athletic or social activities

This is another important symptom that your children are clinically depressed as a result of your divorce from your spouse.

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

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

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

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

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

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

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

Stop asking your children to select between father and mother

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

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

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

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

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

How to Make Co-Parenting a Great Success

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsCo-parenting is particularly important to do for all those parents, including those who have had high-conflict divorces. The idea is to mainly concentrate on bringing up their kids without engaging in stressful communication with one another after the divorce.

Here are some easy tips to ensure that co-parenting is a great success.

Use an organizer

You can use a parenting notebook or an organizer website to communicate effectively. Note down all the relevant and vital communications pertinent to the visit of your child like homework, meals, behavior strategies deployed by you to calm your child, bedtime and so on.  Your notebook should have a mention of the different events including both behavioral as well as emotional that the other parent can refer to.

Work closely with an unbiased third party

For any contentious issues, changes and disagreements with the other parent that needs a great deal of discussion, it is better to work with an independent third party. This person should be neutral like a therapist or an experienced mediator. The meetings conducted in the presence of the third party should be time bound and scheduled. All your key concerns can be taken up during these meetings.

Emails for non-urgent matters

Both of you can use emails for discussing matters that are not that urgent. You need to also make sure that these emails should not exceed more than two times in a month. Try to restrict them to a single topic. When you use emails to communicate with the other parent, you get a chance to reread what you wrote so that you are certain that it is not disrespectful. Plus, it also enables your ex-spouse to get a breathing space for responding. Avoid giving parenting advice on these emails.

Once the divorce is finalized, it is crucial for both the parents to be involved in taking care of the kids despite their conflicts and not so cordial relationship.  Co-parenting enables both the parents to remain involved in the lives of their kids while not fighting with one another.

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

Tips for a Positive Back to School Experience for Divorced Kids

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsIt may so happen that when the parent’s divorce or separate, the school of their kids may be closed. But the transition from holiday fun to homework and routines will soon start. Beginning a fresh school year or a new academic session can be stressful for the children as well as their parents. However, if the separation or the divorce got finalized during a summer, it could be baffling for all concerned. After all, there are several new details to be handled. So, it is best to have a strong co-parenting plan in place for the best interests of the child to ensure that everyone is in sync prior to the re opening of the school. Check out some tips that will come handy for the divorced parents so that the new school year is organized and positive for the children.

School authorities should be updated about the divorce

Parents should take out some time before the school starts its new session. They should get in touch with the concerned school authorities and explain them about the new family situation. However, they need not furnish specific details. Teachers will be benefited when they learn the new dynamics and home schedule when there is a joint custody. They can then keep a close tab on if the concerned child is demonstrating any kind of emotional impact as aftereffects. The school authorities should include both the child’s parents on their mailing lists for field trips, fund raisers, updates, and newsletters. There are several teachers who make efforts to arrange for separate parent teacher meetings in case such a request is made. Both parents should try to put aside their personal issues and differences for the best interests of the meeting and their kids. However, I’d it is not possible to do so; there could be two separate meetings with each of the parents so that the child is not stressed.

Create a shared calendar online

An academic year in the school has different kinds of activities all through the year. It could be tough for the entire family to remember or keep track of all of them. When the divorced parents have a shared time schedule, they can be in the loop and know those activities and transportation or supplies required for these activities. Parents can also have a proper tab on exams, conferences, report cards, permission slips needed apart from all other important information that they should know.

Both parents should distribute the supply list

Each parent need not begin to purchase supplies. Else, their child may have an excess of the same supplies or may miss out others. Rather, both the parents should divide the list so that their kid can find specific items with each parent.

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