Issues When Dealing With Commingled Funds In A Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsPrior to getting married, the property owned by you is regarded by the court as your “separate property”. This dignified that such a property is owned only by you and not by your spouse. For example, if you have $15,000 in your bank account and own a property while getting married, you are bringing your separate property in the marriage. Such a property remains your separate property if it is not “commingled” with your spouse’s separate property brought into your married life. For instance, in case you get married and both of you stay in the same house that is owned by you prior to the marriage. However, if the incomes of both you and your spouse are being contributed toward paying the mortgage, such a house is automatically counted as a marital property. In other words, it becomes a property your spouse may be interested in,provided both of you decide to divorce in the future.

The job of splitting property as well as other marital assets could be a tough one and full of conflicts especially for those couples where there has been a commingling of funds in the course of the marriage.

While negotiations continue for divorce settlement, determining which property should go to whom while depend on the degree of the occurrence of commingling of funds during that marriage as well as the complexity of transactions like home or automobile purchases, a big and crucial role is played by commingled funds during a divorce.

In case you fail to keep a thorough accounting of what is being done with your assets and properties during your marriage, it is not easy to prove that the purchase of that property was not done with commingled funds. The following are some of the tips for all those spouses who do not want to commingle during their marriage.

Enter into a prenuptial agreement

It makes sense to have your prenuptial agreement in place, which will clearly state, which properties will be counted as marital properties and which will be not in the event of a divorce.

Avoid paying off marital debt using your separate property

You should not use your separate property for paying off any marital debt. For instance, if you receive a hefty amount of money from your parents as a gift, the money should be used towards paying off a credit card debt or your home debt. You need to note that when funds benefit a marriage, they become marital property.

You should have separate bank accounts

Funds should only be deposited in a joint account when you want to count it as marital funds. When you deposit funds in your separate and individual bank account, it is regarded as your separate property.

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

Tips for Splitting Marital Property During a Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in orange countyBefore understanding how your marital pretty should be split during a divorce, it is important to recognize what a marital property means. Any property owned by you or your spouse during the course of your marriage is counted as a marital property. The properties you owned prior to getting married or any property that you inherit while being married is not considered as your marital property. Some spouses are under the impression that they can escape the process of splitting their marital assets; however, a divorce lawyer is a smart professional. Hunting for hidden assets is one of their top priorities when they fight cases for their clients. If you do not want to get penalized by the court for tucking your marital asset, later on, it is better to disclose such properties in the beginning. Check out the following tips for splitting your marital properties while your divorce proceeding is pending.

Take help of a mediator

It is a good decision that you hire a mediator who will help you by working on sticky issues, which may pop up while the marital properties are being split. While it is a requirement in some States to have mediation while the divorce process is on, other States do not have such a requirement. It is better to save your money and time by hiring a reputable mediator who will help you in this process prior to the involvement of the courts.

Stop fighting on small issues

When you let emotions rule over your good sense, your objectives may not be fulfilled. For instance, there could be a portrait in your bedroom, which you are emotionally attached to and want to take it with you by any means and you do not agree with your spouse that he or she should have it. In case you fail to arrive at an amicable settlement on such trivial issues, your judge may not care about your emotional attachment to certain objects. A court’s job is to find out the assets acquired by you during your marriage, As such, it will instruct the property to be split according to the laws of your state and not according to what you want. To put it simply, it is you and not the judge who has made an emotional and financial investment in your marital property. A judge cannot and is not in a position to order for the split of marital properties in a manner that will satisfy both the parties involved. If the couples can mutually sort out those issues, then only both of them can be satisfied. Any attempt made to hide marital assets is a legal offense, which means you are violating the law.

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

Posted on Monday, September 18th, 2017. Filed under California divorce, California Family Law, Division of Property, Division of retirement plans, Divorce, Divorce & Debts, Divorce & Division of Property, Divorce & Family Businesses, Divorce advice, Divorce court proceedings, Divorce Mediation, Family Law, Frequently asked questions, Orange County divorce, Orange County divorce mediation, Orange County divorce mediators.
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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

Health Insurance Considerations In Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce mediators; California divorce mediatorsYou need to consider several important points while your divorce proceeding is going on. Health insurance should definitely be high on your priority list. It is important to give proper health coverage particularly when you have kids from the marriage.

Obtain affordable health insurance coverage before your divorce is final

Contrary to what you may be feeling about divorce, it does change a lot of things in your life. However, one thing that will not change is that both the parties will have health related concerns for their kids as well as for them. One of the most important worries is definitely about the adequacy of health benefits. If you overlook or sidestep the issue of your health requirements during a divorce or a legal separation, you could be committing expensive mistakes that could even jeopardize your financial standing.

Hence when you are in the phase of a divorce or a legal separation, you should take out some time for your hectic schedule to look at life insurance, health policies etc, However, do not get over agitated earn you find something doubtful in those documents since laws are in place to safeguard the rights of your children and you. Rather, it is better to get your doubts clear from your legal counsel. Here are some of those options to obtain adequate health coverage for your kids and you while the marriage ends. It is irrespective of who will be .awarded the custody.

Try to get health coverage from your existing employer

In case you are employed and an affordable priced health insurance plan is offered by your current employer, then there is no harm in going through what the plan intends to offer with respect to various aspects including prescription, dental and vision. Enroll in it in the case it is within your budget and will meet the needs of your kids and you.

Times have definitely changed as getting health coverage under the policy of your former spouse or as a part of the policy offered by your employer are no longer cheap as they used to be many years ago.

You should ask your estranged spouse to include health coverage as part of your divorce settlement

While there is no certainty whether it will work or not, there is no harm in discussing the matter with your divorce attorney. It is particularly relevant when kids are also involved. The issue is a part of the section detailing about child support in the event of a divorce.

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

How To Get Your Kids Used To Co-Parenting

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen you give a priority to the needs of your kid over your own, you are taking the right starting step towards functioning as an efficient co-parent. Researches prove that kids who got almost equal time to spend with both their parents had fewer trust issues and a higher degree of self-esteem when they grow up. On the other hand, although the agreement for your parental time mentions an unequal division between the two houses, you should contemplate balancing it so that it works out to be for the psychological and emotional well-being for your kids in the long-term.

Additionally, your kid can also benefit when you guide them well. After all, they do not have the necessary clarity of making sound decisions, insight and the wisdom of spending their time with the parents. You need to inspire your kids that they should also spend quality time with the other parent. Your children can be extra sensitive to unkind words and negative body language. Hence you need to ensure that both your words and tone are neutral or positive while speaking about your former spouse while your kids are present.

Your children may develop loyalty conflicts if you and the other parent are not cautious

Although your kids may not be the cause of your divorce, they may feel responsible for the lack or of happiness in their parents’ lives. There could be scenarios when your kid might take the side of one parent and brain against the other parent. Proper understanding, empathy and a good communication channel can make you resolve loyalty conflicts that they could be filling as a result of your marriage break-up.

Assist your children in achieving a smooth transition between two houses

Your child may feel stressful while shifting between two homes. There could be occasions when your kid may feel apprehensive at the possibility of leaving one of the houses and spend some time with the other parent. But this does not signify that your kid cares for any less about the other parents or will not benefit when they depend more time in the other house. It is imperative to note that opposing the transition is not an unnatural response of your kid who is drastically looking stound for security.

When both parents work together to coordinate the social calendars, activities, and school matters along with other areas of your children’s lives, such co-parenting can be an enriching experience for your children.  It will generate a positive daily experience with the kids regardless of where they will be staying on a particular day.

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

Tips on Co-Parenting After a Stressful Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsDid you go through a divorce that was highly stressful and marred by conflict?  You may have also realized by now that your conflict with the ex may not end even after the final divorce decree. Moreover, if you and your partner have kids from the marriage there could be tensed moments while co-parenting after a bitter divorce. The furious parent could be least cooperative and hostile to work with you even for the sake of your kids.

Moreover, your hostile former spouse may be noncommittal and is not open for negotiation or communication. He or she could be least bothered about doctor’s appointments, scheduling visitations, school issues and health issues of the children. Your ideal response in such scenarios is to not show your reaction and have a low expectation. As a reasonable parent, you may feel like giving in at these times so that the conflict between your spouse and you can be minimal. A reasonable parent may also end up making excuses for the bad behavior of their former husband/wife and hope that things will change in the future.

However, it is likely that nothing will change so it is up to you for handling these tough situations in such a way so that your sanity is maintained and you are able to discharge your parental responsibilities well. Here are some of the ways of doing this.

Take help of a parenting coordinator

It may be possible for your family court in the locality to appoint someone ego will act as a parenting coordinator in situations of high conflict. While this could be a costly alternative, having a coordinator may help you to have a healthier relationship with your ex and discharge the co-parenting responsibilities effectively.

You can ask a family member or a close friend to mediate

In case you are unable to pay for the services of a parenting coordinator, you can ask one of the family members or a friend to act as the go-between for both of you. There could be someone in the family or among your friends who is close to your ex as well as you. He or she may succeed in smoothing out the issues like visitation pickups and drop-offs. The person may write emails and try to act as a mediator to resolve conflicts that may come up.

Do not contact

When your attempts at communicating with your former have been futile and you faced abusive and demeaning languages, you may refuse communication. Try to avoid responding to any such communication, which is humiliating for you and is not respectful. While it may not result in good co-parenting, you will at least have a peace of mind.

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

5 Tips On How To Tell Your Kids That You Are Getting Divorced

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediation Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsIt is not an easy task to tell your kids that your spouse and you are getting divorced. However, you can still make things to a certain extent when you abide by a simple plan formed on the basis of emotional comfort and truth. Check out some of the tips mentioned below to tell your children that you are divorcing their other parent.

Your children are not responsible for this situation and they should know this

The best way you can alleviate the pain of your kids is by telling them the reason why you are separating. However, explain them in such a manner that is easy for them to digest. Whatever is the truth and what you disclose to the children need not necessarily match. After all, it is not your kids’ fault and they need to be told this fact so that they do not feel guilty or unsure.

Maintain civility with your estranged or ex-spouse in front of the children

When you establish mutually agreed upon and clear expectations as well as boundaries about your divorce, your children will be less apprehensive and anxious. There should be proper clarity in the messages that are sent about your separation or divorce and the possible transitions thereafter. Your child may get baffled when he or she hears conflicting words from the people they trust the most in their lives. You may not have similar kind of parenting styles or not agree upon on day-to-day operations, when there is a unified front; your children are going to benefit from it.

Do not share information that is not apt for your kids

Avoid discussing adult details with them. There is a possibility that they will not even understand what you are trying to tell them and may even start resenting you for various reasons. It could be because you are using nasty words against the other parents offering them a concealed request for judging the prevailing situation and maybe even try to overburden them with your grief and predicament. Simply share with them what they must know and the communication should take place in a sincere and honest manner. After all, your focus should be on the children instead of on the grown-ups.

Stop playing the blame game

It is definite that you are aware of the cause of your separation. But your children need not know the actual reason. When you blame your soon-to-be former spouse for the impending divorce, there is a possibility that you are trying to poke your child to take sides. You need to remember that it is unhealthy for your kid to feel that that the other parent should be blamed for the divorce or the separation.

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

Issues Related To Retirement Benefits and Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsThe entire divorce process is quite a complicated one as there are various issues to be handled and sorted out such as distributing marital assets, parenting plans, custody issues along with the emotional trauma a spouse may go through during this period. Moreover, there could be a million other things hovering around in your mind. One of the most crucial issues to be sorted out at this juncture is how to treat the retirement assets since distributing them could be a time-taking process. In case you have recently filed your divorce petition and contemplating about the retirement benefit solution that you should get, you need to keep the following factors in your mind so that the process operates in a smooth manner.

Equal distribution of marital assets

Since all divorces are not sane, a single solution cannot fit all of them. There are many couples who are in agreement regarding maintaining their individual personal retirement benefits. They also decide to take leverage of the other assets so that the distribution of the property can be balanced out. Ideally, each asset is not split in a divorce. Rather piles are made on both sides so that there is a more or less equal distribution of assets at the end. But the real issue is that all couples do not have sufficient retirement plans with them. There are many cases where one of the parties has been relying on the other spouse for the retirement benefits. Where sorting out of retirement benefits is concerned during a divorce, when one spouse does do not have any kind of a retirement plan or the plan is not sufficient, there are several ways to make sure that the person gets something to depend on after his or her retirement. But there could be scenarios where each party getting their assets and individual retirement plan equitably distributed fails to work there could be other options like social security benefits discussed below.

Treatment of social security benefits

This is another kind of retirement financing. But, it is distinct from an arrangement like QDRO. According to the Federal Law, these benefits cannot be distributed among the two parties. There are certain cases where one party is legible for the social security benefits, which is based on the employment of their ex-spouse. In case, it is so, the said spouse may agree to that benefit provided it is more than what they would have got in accordance with their individual work history.

Moreover, in some cases, one of the two parties can instruct the payment of the spousal support for the other party from his or her individual social security. However, regulations vary on the basis of circumstances and regions.

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