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

Does Your Divorce Affect Your Vehicle Insurance?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation lawyers; California Divorce MediatorsAny couple that files for their divorce has to also deal with the proper distribution of their marital assets. But, there is something that many people do not consider. They often overlook the impact of the divorce on their car insurance. Divorce can affect various aspects of the couples’ car insurance including changes in rates to buy a new insurance policy.

Relationship between premium and marital status

The premium for your car insurance policy is the amount that should be paid by you to insure your car against damages including caused due to accidents. However, it is important to note that the premium rate is not same for everybody. In other words, there could be different rates for different people, state to state and even city to city. Insurers will take into account various factors to determine the premiums for the policyholders. But, it is true that your marital status may affect the rate of premiums directly as well as indirectly.

Single versus married

As per a study made by the Insurance Quotes, married people usually need to pay lower premiums as compared to their single counterparts. For instance, a married man who is thirty-five years old may have to pay as much as 3 percent less in some States for their auto insurance as compared to a single man, who is of the same age. On the other hand, a 35-year-old single woman has to pay 2.75 percent more than her married counterpart of the same age. The reason for this is it is statistically proved that married people’s involvement in auto accidents are fewer than in married people.

Indirect effects of divorce on car insurance

The car insurance premiums can be indirectly affected by a divorce too. For instance, in many States, men have to pay higher rates of premiums as compared to women. So when a woman is single once again after her divorce, her premium may lower after the divorce comes through.

The place where you start living after your divorce got finalized may also alter your premium. Premium rates for car insurance are more for all those people who live in urban areas as compared to the suburbs. Moreover, premium rates may not be same for two different suburbs.

There could be also an increase in premium rates since the multi-driver discounts or discounts for purchasing more than one policies will no longer be available to you after your divorce. Such policies include both homeowners’ policies and car insurance policies.

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

Tips On How To Let People Know You Are Filing For Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsIt can be very painful to break the news of your divorce to your family and friends. However, you need to tell them at some point or the other. So faster you do the work, it is better for you. The toughest challenge for you will be sharing this news with your kids.

Share the news of your divorce with your family members

After you have informed your kids, you need to next confide with the remaining family members that you are planning to divorce your spouse. You should share this news with your parents first. Subsequently, you can disclose it to your siblings and other family members. Do not be in a hurry to break the news to your distant family members immediately if you do not interact with them frequently. You can always let them know later on provided your other family members have already not told them about it.

Your parents

You may go through lots of emotional turmoil while breaking the divorce news to both your parents as well as to the parents of your spouse. But you should be calm and not lose your cool. Moreover, do not share all the details and avoid blaming anyone else for your current predicament.

Rest of the family members

It could be easier for you to deal with the remaining family members since their investment and contribution to your marriage is lesser and even though they could like your spouse a lot.

Confiding in your friends

Informing your friends could be as tough as informing your family members. This is particularly true when they share a great rapport with your spouse too. So, make an attempt to be at your diplomatic best so that they do not feel they should choose a side. But, you need to be more candid with your close friends as compared to your casual friends who you are not that close to.

However, you may need to share this news with your casual friends too so that they do not ask you accidentally how your husband or wife is. After all, you do not want to begin any type of awkward situation to explain your present situation.

Informing employers and colleagues

It is always recommended not to divulge or share too many personal details at your workplace. Being discreet about your personal life is always a good idea. So, just share the minimal details about your divorce at your workplace to avoid gossips or speculations, which can harm your career.

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

Understanding Divorce & Innocent Joint Tax Filer Relief

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsBoth you and your registered domestic partner or spouse assume tax paying responsibility when you file California joint tax return. Responsibility is also assumed for applicable interest and penalties. If you meet a few specific legal requirements, you could qualify for relief from payment of part or all of tax liability.

Traditional Innocent Joint Filer Relief

It is possible to qualify for relief from the assessed additional tax, interest and penalties when you satisfy the following conditions like filing joint tax return. You can enjoy additional relief also when your RDP or spouse’s error is caused by additional tax. Tax breaks can also be had if at the time of signing joint tax return, information was not available to you or you were unaware of those items which resulted in an additional tax. Money can be saved also if all circumstances and facts are taken into account and it would be not fair to hold you totally liable for tax liability. Other conditions of tax breaks include that you have submitted a completed “Request for Innocent Joint Filer Relief” or FTB 705, to the government earlier than two years post date of starting involuntary collection activities from you.

Relief through Separate Allocation of Liability

It is determined, under this kind of relief, which RDP or spouse is going to be liable for assessed additional interest, penalties and tax. In case you meet all the requirements, we assign the liability for the additional tax to liable RDP/spouse. This is treated as if taxpayers had filed two separate tax returns. This kind of relief can be had if the couple files joint tax return. It is important that both the spouses must meet all conditions. These include the case if you divorced and also legally separated from your RDP or spouse or terminated the registered domestic partnership. This is also applicable if the couple lived apart from each other for a period of 12 months before making the relief request.

Relief can also be had when additional tax assessed can be attributed in full or part to the RDP or spouse. It can also be enjoyed if the couple has no information of items which created this tax liability at the time you signed the joint tax return. Other causes include submitting the competed “Request for Innocent Joint Filer Relief” to the authorities earlier than two years post date of starting involuntary collection activities from you.

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

Top Mistakes Parents Tend to Make After Their Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen a marriage ends, things can be pretty bad for the children. Some kids are asked to make peace between bickering exes while they are still lamenting over or missing a parent who moved out all of a sudden. There are other children who have to cope up with parents who are suddenly at a loss to handle daily chores such as helping them with a home task or making meals.

There are some parents who feel that once their divorce is through, most of the issues will be sorted out and they can look ahead in their lives. But, even after the divorce, the responsibilities related to parenting are a new experience every day. How successful you are as a parent will depend on how you react to situations, your empathy for the children and the decisions you need to make. Avoid making some of these top mistakes that most parents tend to make after their divorce.

Avoid treating your kid as a messenger

A majority of the parents try to communicate with their former spouses via their kids. Such a behavior can cause excessive emotional stress or trauma on them. It may also compel the children to create a situation that you will not be able to tangle as their parents. It is better to communicate with the other parent via emails, which is a great communication tool these days. Moreover, it will enable you to only focus on practical aspects of bringing up your child and not digress into negative discussions or open old wounds.

Do not grill your kids too much

Parents should regard their kid’s days away with the other parent in the same manner as if they are staying with an uncle or aunt. If you tell your children nothing at all, they can feel stressed and get a feeling of compartmentalization.  On the flip side, when you grill or bully them too much, they feel they are in the middle of both of you and become emotionally distressed. Rather, ask your child only general and fun questions so that they feel relaxed.

Try to understand your child

Your children should feel loved, appreciated, and well-understood. As it is, after they see their parents getting divorced, they could be going through an emotional turmoil. So, as a compassionate parent, you should listen to them properly and avoid instructing them to think. Although it may appear tough, avoid criticizing your former spouse. After all, you could then be indirectly criticizing your own kid who is a part of both of you.

Get help from a professional therapist

You should never commit the mistake of venting out your emotions or sharing divorce details with your little ones. Such discussion could make them more anxious rather than appreciating your mental condition. Instead, seek professional advice from a therapist.

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

Helping Children Adjust to Two Homes After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsWhile children are the most affected party in any divorced family, a major challenge for them is to adjust residing in two different homes after their parents go separate ways, Although, a kid may be visiting one of the parents only for some hours on a weekly basis, he or she should feel comfortable in their non-custodial house. A cordial arrangement will help in bridging the relationship with the other parent who does not have custody rights and will also help the kid to realize that though their parents got divorced from one another, they are still loved the same way.

When children of divorced parents feel like they belong at the homes of both their parents, it creates a healthy and smooth transition for them. Irrespective of their age-group, issues like abandonment and rejection matter to the kids a lot though many of them cannot express them properly through words. There are several kids who love to stay in both their homes since their parents shower them with attention and love.

The following are some of those ways that can help kids to adjust to living in two different homes.

A primary home should be designated for the children

Though kids of divorced parents may spend time in both parents’ homes, they should recognize only one of the houses as their “primary home”. There could be a lot of confusion if this is not done.  After all, when there is a designated primary home, all mails and other important communications will get delivered to that place only. It will be also helpful for the kids to feel secure and anchored. Though your house is treated as a secondary home for the children, you should not feel that the time they spend with you is less important. After all, do you not feel as happy and content at your holiday home as your main home?

Allocate a separate room for your child

It is imperative for your child to have their own personal room. In case that is not possible due to space constraints, they should be given space to keep their possessions like a toy bin, shelf space or an own drawer for dresses. They should also be permitted to store their things in the allocated space. Let them arrange the things according to their wish.

Freedom of carrying things

Your children should be permitted to carry their items between both the homes without any conflict or tension between the parents. The transition can be much smoother if this is followed.

Allow your kids to personalize their space

Permit your children to decorate their space the way they want to do. In fact, even you can help them out in this endeavor. Let them pick their own sheets and allow them to hang their favorite posters on the wall. Children love to personalize their space.

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

Why You Need to Pause and Heal Instead of Dating Right After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsThe first few months of separation can be tremendously lonely and overwhelming for most divorced individuals. And while you pass every minute of every hour every day trying to pick up the pieces of your shattered life, something as simple and harmless as your spouse’s pillow or your little one’s teddy bear can lead you to uncontrollable fits of crying.

While you might be tempted to find a shoulder to cry on and a new somebody to support you in your weak moments, the period right after a divorce is not really a suitable time to start dating again. Here is a list of a few basic reasons why you need to take a break from relationships and heal yourself after a divorce.

To determine your identity outside of others

When was the last time you actually put your needs and desires ahead of your partner and kids? A marriage often dissolves one’s personal identity and molds the couple into one, where their sole motive is to have a happy and peaceful life together. However, now that you are divorced, it is the right time to take some time off and breathe as a liberated woman/man instead of hinging your values on your role in someone else’s life.

To follow the natural course of grief

You cannot expect to lay the foundation of a new relationship on the tremendous emotional baggage that you are schlepping on your back. Just having recovered from a grave emotional trauma, you need to grieve your loss and get it out of your system. Instead of being ashamed of your feelings, you must cry your heart out in order to move forward to another relationship.

To determine the kind of qualities you need in your future partner

You know that your previous relationship did not work out and you do not want to repeat the same mistakes all over again. When you stay single for an adequate amount of time after a divorce, you get the opportunity to reflect on the past and analyze the red flags in your previous partner’s personality that pushed you into this. Instead of attaching yourself to the first man/woman you meet, try to have casual meetings and explore their company to determine whether they have exactly the qualities that you are looking for in a potential partner.

To minimize the burden of your sorrow on your future partner

You obviously wouldn’t want to crush your new potential partner with the ugly details of your divorce. After all, it is not his/her fault that you are no longer with your spouse. It is always better to give yourself a little time to introspect and deal with your unresolved emotional issues all by yourself.

You must understand that healing takes time. And only when you have overcome your grief will you be able to truly find peace and contentment in a new relationship.

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

Take These Steps to Succeed As A Divorced Dad

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsFinding yourself as a divorced father all of a sudden can be a real big challenge. It could be a shattering experience to find that you are all alone in the hours and the kids are no longer living under the same roof with you. If you want to be a successful father after your divorce, you should maintain a bonded relationship with your children though you are now divorced from your spouse.

Though divorce situations can be unique, when a father is well-aware about what to expect, he can respond in a better manner. When fathers can manage situations more effectively, they are more successful in handling issues after the divorce. Here are a few steps that you can take as a divorced father.

Be closer to the house after divorce

When you stay close to where your kids live, you can spend more quality time with them after your divorce. There are times when certain circumstances or demands of your job may make it tough to stay close to your children. However, when you make sacrifices to stay near your kids, it can lead to a deeper bond and stability, which the kids need.

After a painful divorce, fathers may not realize or see the effect of that on his children

Children may feel devastated after their parents’ divorce and find one fine day that their family has turned upside down. Consult experts on what you should expect while your kids are trying hard to adjust to this strange and new reality of their life.

Even while at a long distance, try to stay connected with your children

You may have to stay far away due to a special employment or military assignment. Distance could cause a gap in your relationship with your little ones. There could be misunderstandings and your kids can feel neglected since they do not meet you that often.  So, you need to pick up tips for maintaining the bond even when you are far away.

Try to ensure that joint custody operates in a smooth manner

In case you are lucky because the court awarded joint custody of the children to your wife and you, you should be familiar about how to manage this crucial relationship. Although in several cases the parents had been civil to each other after their divorce, the terms of the joint custody can create problems and conflicts. Hence, you should learn how fathers like you handled the situation of joint custody in an amicable manner to make it work.

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

How to Save Money After Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation orange county; California Divorce MediatorsWhile you are still trying to come out of the ramifications of your divorce, having a proper strategy for saving and budgeting may not be a top priority for you. However, the truth is that henceforth you alone will be responsible for protecting your future as far as the financial matters are concerned. Additionally, when you have some savings, you can enjoy a safety net for any type of unexpected expenses, which may come up frequently.

Start saving money once you are single again

The way marriage brings a big transformation in your life, there is a similar impact after your marriage is dissolved as well. It will take some time and adjustments on your part to start staying alone after living together as a couple for many years. The way you start managing your savings and finances after your divorce will have a big role in the coming months resulting in either financial security or days of struggle and poverty. If you act sensibly, you will not be short of funds, else you may experience a shortage of funds in the future years. Check out these easy tips that can help you to get started.

You should pay yourself at the earliest

While it is not as easy as it appears, it is crucial to develop a saving habit as soon as possible. It is tough to save when one has limited resources but not an impossible thing to do. Try to put aside a fixed sum of money in your savings account every time you receive your payment. It can create a safety cushion, which you can use in times of emergency.

Think and execute a saving strategy

It is not mandatory for you to be a financial expert in order to develop your saving strategy so that you can build up a nest egg for yourself.  However, you need to understand and know the fundamentals. Check with your human resource department what kind of retirement plans are provided by your company to make sure that you do not miss out on a great chance to save for your retirement.

Self-education is of prime importance

It has been often observed that in a majority of households, cutting across geographical boundaries, one spouse has got a greater sense of managing finances for the family like bill paying and budgeting. Were you that person who was taking care of the finance part while being married? In case the answer is affirmative, you may already have a strong grip over how to run the household. But, in case, you were not that person, you need to now focus on how to develop as well as follow the budget.

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

Is it Necessary to Sell Your Wedding Ring During Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorney; California Divorce MediatorsYour marriage has finally ended and your former spouse is no longer staying with you. Is this the time for you to dispose of your wedding ring by selling it off? Or do you want to postpone the selling process for some more time? In case your divorce is yet to be finalized, you may give some serious thoughts over considering selling your wedding ring either now or later. This is because re-purposing or selling the wedding ring may free you from your unpleasant and negative memories.

You may sell the ring due to financial reasons

Divorce can be quite an expensive process. Very few people will deny the fact that it can be a big financial burden due to costs related to the distribution of assets, legal fees, tax consequences and much more. When you are going through a great mental agony, handing such financial strains can be quite overwhelming. It is crucial to find fresh sources of income so that such a pressure can be alleviated.

In this context, it is important to note that at this juncture of your life, a precious yet least important possession will be your wedding ring as well as the engagement ring set. Since your relationship has ended, selling these rings to gather funds for meeting your divorce expenses could be a financially smart move on your part. Not only will such a step be helpful to financially improve your future, it will also enable you to sever your past ties. Selling your wedding ring need not essentially be a drawn out or tough process.

Emotional advantages of selling a wedding ring

It is not an easy job to bounce back from your broken marriage at any age. This is true for both men as well as women. After all, both the parties have to deal with varying emotions.  One may start missing his or her former spouse and wonder if the decision to split was the right one to do or not. Alternatively, you may be still full of anger and disillusionment and accuse your ex of whatever happened. Such powerful emotions related to the past can have an adverse effect on your peace of mind and health.

In order to start your life fresh after the divorce, you have to control your emotions and give yourself another opportunity to experience new and positive emotions. One way to get hold of your emotions is to dispose of your wedding ring.

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