Post-Judgment Modifications for California Divorced Couples

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce cases can be complex and sometimes a divorce case may not be over after the final judgment is filed. Things like child custody, child support, alimony can be subject to change anytime and can have major effects on the lives of both individuals.

Child custody and visitation are easily modified after the final custody judgment and the parent seeking modification can do so after providing a substantial amount of proof to the court. The proof must indicate a significant amount of change since the final order was passed.

What kind of judgments can be modified?

The judgment of dissolution of marriage covers important factors like alimony, child custody, visitation, child support and property division. All these factors are prone to modification but some can more easily be done than others. For example, a parent who wants to change the visitation arrangements can easily do so without showing substantial evidence. However, for issues like child custody, the court is likely to ask for more proof.

Child support modification

Child support depends on a parent’s income and income can change anytime regardless of what situation an individual might be in. Now, a change in income might not necessarily require a change in child support. In cases where one parent has lost a job and is completely broke, the court might pass an order that allows the other parent to cover child support expenses for a certain period. California courts usually don’t like modifications in child support but if the case is serious, changes can be made.

Alimony modification

Many expect that alimony, once settled upon, cannot be modified. However, it can be. In fact, most alimony awards can be modified. However, alimony modifications are not easy or straightforward because the application that sets alimony does not calculate post-judgment alimony modifications. The court needs to look into section 4320 of the Family Code and the 13 factors present in it before alimony modifications can be made.

Modification of property and asset division

Property divisions are uncommon since couples that decide to divide property do so after agreeing to the split. However, certain circumstances can make individuals change their mind and they can opt for modification in property division judgment. Property divisions can be complex and should be dealt by experienced family lawyers.

Many factors that were included in the final judgment can be changed depending on the circumstances faced by divorced couples. Some of the post-judgment modifications are easy while others are not and require a substantial amount of proof.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, click this link to 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

How Can Kids Get Affected By Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorney; California Divorce MediatorsAre kids really affected after their parents’ divorce? It is a difficult question to answer for sure. Different children may react or behave differently to their parents’ divorce. On many occasions, how the parents conduct themselves before their kids and how the children handle the situation.

As the rate of divorce continues to grow all over the world, there are quite a few parents who wonder how their kids get affected by the divorce. Though children may come across some of their friends whose parents are also divorcing, they still have problems in coming to terms with the same thing happening in their own family many of these kids lament about the lists of their old family life that they were used to living. This just goes on to prove how affected they could be by their parents’ divorce.

How children may get negatively affected by a divorce

When kids do not get the support that they require while their parents get divorced, there may be some of the negative effects explained below:

Disappointing academic results

Kids may have trouble in focusing and concentrating while they are studying when he or she goes through deep anxiety. They may be depressed and become callous about studying unlike before when they led a normal family life.

Feel isolated

In order to come to terms with the fact their parents are soon getting divorced, some kids are known to isolate themselves completely from their parents, friends or other family members. Such isolation may aggravate matters further as it will give these kids time to ponder upon their parents’ divorce in certain ways, which may not be correct. In fact, they can even blame themselves since they will not like to share their thoughts with anyone rose, eventually leading to depression.

Behave rebelliously

Kids may get upset with what is happening to their parents. Their fury may have a ripple effect while attending school and have a negative impact on their camaraderie with the friends and other classmates. While many parents pay regard this issue as a passing phase, things can take a bad turn if not checked on time.

Bad peer group

There could be situations when some children may start feeling that they are not getting proper care and attention at their homes. So, they will try to get that from elsewhere, like bad peer groups who may have a negative influence on them. Moreover, since parents are busy sorting out their own problems, they may forget to console their little ones.

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

Grounds On Which Child Custody Orders Can Be Modified

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsOne of the most important things that parents have trouble dealing with during a divorce is child custody. Custody plans are made based on the current situation of the parent. It includes things like visitation time and agreements based on the child’s preference.

However, situations can change any time and then it becomes difficult for parents to stick to the original custody plan. At times like these the custody plan is subject to modification provided the court allows it.

Below is a list of the grounds based on which child custody plans can be modified.

Relocation

Relocation can happen for either of the parent at any point of time. Relocation is one of the major grounds on which custody plans can change. But that depends on the state. In California, there are travel restrictions for parents but if the relocation is unavoidable, the court allows the parent to change the custodial plan.

Relocation does not mean that the custody of the child will get transferred from one parent to the other. The court makes sure that the child stays in touch with both parents.

Unhealthy environment

A change in custody pans is often requested when one parent feels that the other is not providing a good environment for the children. However, the parent making the claims must provide proof and substantial evidence that the environment provided by the other parent is indeed bad.

An unhealthy environment means a parent who moves frequently, does not hold a steady job, has too many relationship and is misbehaves with the children.

Child’s preferences

California courts always take the child’s preference into consideration before passing a judgment. In fact, it is the single most important factor that determines a custody battle and custodial plan. When a custodial plan is changed, the court looks at the situation of the child and determines if changing the situation will have any effect or not.

Conclusion

Creating and maintaining a child custody plan is an important job for divorced parents as their children are at the center of it. A child custody plan can be changed anytime depending upon the situation of the parents and the children. A California court always takes the child’s preference into account and decides whether the situation will be beneficial for the child or not. A parent’s relocation and an unhealthy environment are the top reasons for the change in child custody plans.

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