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

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

Modifying Spousal Support Orders

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County spousal support; California Divorce MediatorsThere can be a number of reasons why both the domestic partners and spouses may require changing order post judgment.  In case this situation arises, you must show that there have been a change in the circumstances after the partner or spousal support was delivered. It means that something of significance have changed from the time the partner or spousal support order was delivered.

There could be a number of reasons as to why a support order should be changed. It can be that the partner or spouse which was getting the support no longer requires it. It could be also that the person paying the support has suffered considerable drop in his or her income and cannot support the quantum of money required for support. It may be that the partner or spouse who gets the support does not make the effort to be self-supporting- and the partner or spouse can request the court to end support order dependent on this premise. There could also be the cause of the partner or spouse remarrying and thus the support should be ended.

In case the domestic partners or spouses can reach the agreement for new amount of partner or spousal support, it can be possible to write this up as a kind of stipulation or agreement. The document can then be given to judge for the requisite signature and make it the new court order. If both the domestic partners and spouses cannot reach an agreement on this change, the partner or spouse who wants the change should file motion with court requesting a modification of the partner or spousal’s support amount.

Good reasons to ask for new court orders as soon as possible

In case there is a considerable change in factors which the judge regards as important when considering partner or spousal support, you must act quickly so that the partner or spousal support order can mirror the changes. Many people frequently wait when it comes to change this supporting order as they believe that the income drop or job loss is temporary. Other causes include stress and worry and their spousal support worries take a backseat. It may also occur that they are in a situation like prison where it can be extremely hard to file the court papers. It may also be that they believe it will be easy for them to change court orders later when they are less stressed or have plenty of time.

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

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

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

Can The Husband Sell The Marital House?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsThe answer to whether a divorcing guy can sell his house or not is not quite an easy one. This is because the reply depends on factors like what decisions were made by the judge in a particular case and the conditions of a divorce agreement.

Divorce and marital home

At the time of divorce, the concerned couple has to take a call on the entire marital property and that includes the house the spouses shared.  Though it will be simpler if the house is sold outright prior to finalizing the divorce and splitting the sales proceeds, the solution may not be feasible in all cases.

There are some scenarios when a spouse purchases the interests of the other party. Alternatively, a spouse may transfer some other asset to her or him as a part of settling the property issue. There are other ways of dealing with the marital house too. If children are there in a marriage, both sides may agree that the parent who got the kids’ custody can stay at their house for a specific time period. The contract could also specify that the marital home will be sold whenever the younger kid will turn eighteen and the sales proceeds will be distributed between the ex-couples at that time.

The ex-spouses may have you also agree to an arrangement to ensure that the house is in a good condition during that time period. Moreover, the non-custodial parent could be directed to provide for the maintenance of the house so that both the former spouses can get the highest amount of money when the marital house gets sold.

Chances of a divorced man selling his house

When a man is already divorced and has outright ownership of a house, he does not have any kind of obligation towards his ex-spouse and can sell it while keeping the money from the sales for himself. The guy can also purchase another pretty if he desires to or invests the funds. He can also use the money for any purpose as per his discretion.

In case both the spouses were the joint owners of the house during their marriage, the man has to distribute the sales proceeds with his ex-wife according to the court’s orders or as per any other agreement.

In case the former spouses are ordered to keep the house as it is for a reasonable time prior to its selling, he needs to get in touch with an attorney and find out if he needs to send an application to the court to permit him to sell the home by reversing the original order. In such cases, the court will consider the man’s explanations for the need to sell the house and eventually determine whether he can do so or not.

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