How Is Alimony Calculated In California?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsIn California, the term alimony is referred to as “spousal support.” A court in California may order the higher earner between the couple irrespective of the gender to pay the other party so that the latter can maintain the same lifestyle for a specific time period when they want to end the marriage permanently. However, the law in the state of California also prescribe the a court needs to review several factors to determine and award permanent spousal support to the lower earning spouse. The court enjoys the final discretion to settle alimony matters. An Orange County divorce lawyer can play a crucial role to furnish evidence of all those factors that come under review.

Duration of alimony in California

How long a spouse will be awarded with a spousal support is frequently linked to the duration for which the parties were married. When a couple has been married for less than a decade (10 years), a judge will typically not award spousal support for more than 50 percent of the marriage length. On the other hand, when the parties have been married for a minimum of ten years or more, the court may not dictate a specific date of termination for spousal support when the couple gets married. However, both the parties have the liberty to request for changes time and again till the time they specifically give a nod to the date of termination or when the judge explicitly terminates the alimony at a hearing later on.

Spousal support calculation in California

According to the law of California. the aim of awarding spousal support temporarily is to maintain the financial status quo as much as possible, It is at the discretion of a court to direct temporary alimony after reviewing the requirements of the party requesting the same as well as the ability of the other spouse to pay.

If there are dependent kids in a marriage, the parents can get an estimate of what the amount for temporary alimony may look like apart from the payments for child support. These are done according to stringent guidelines and by using the child support calculator available at the state’s department of child support.

The key aim of spousal support after the divorce gets finalized is to offer help to the supported spouse so that they can maintain a living standard almost same as the one they had while being married. A court in California will assess the degree to which the earning capacity of each spouse is adequate to continue the same marital living standard. While doing so, the court may consider the following factors:

  1. The degree to which the future or present earning ability of the supported spouse has got impaired due to their domestic responsibilities
  2. Any expenses or time needed by the supported spouse to get training or education to get a job or improve the chance of employability
  3. The kind of marketable skills needed by the supported spouse
  4. Potential job marketability for such skills

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

What Most People Don’t Know About Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediationAlthough there is a positive reputation attached to a divorce mediation as a sensible alternative to a litigation, there are very few people who are well familiar with the process. Contrary to popular belief, divorce mediation is quite a different process. It is meant for those reasonable couples who are unable to sort out their conflicts and misunderstandings by themselves.

There are many such couples who believe that there is no need for a divorce mediator. Rather, they should seek out a good family-law lawyer for getting their settlement through a court. Further, their situation does not qualify to undergo mediation since mediation is a process to sort out disputes and there is no dispute between them. These people feel that they have everything what mediation can offer to them. They also opine that their best option is to get the settlement done through an approval of a judge, in order to save their precious money and time.

What is divorce mediation all about?

It is a technique of dispute resolution between an estranged couple outside the court, which helps them to sort out their differences in an amicable manner. There is minimal involvement or intervention of the legal system of the state.

Mediation facilitates a structured process for reducing the friction and differences, which can be typically found while spouses converse during their negotiations or settlements. The process accomplishes it by fostering a non-controversial ambiance, encouraging both the parties to be amicable while sharing their concerns and thoughts to their estranged partners.

Orange County divorce mediators use an impartial and neutral third party approach so that the disputes between estranged couples can reach a logical and peaceful compromise, which is acceptable to both.

Role of a divorce mediator

Do not be under an impression that a divorce mediator is an arbitrator, judge or a referee. Plus, they are not the people to take the final call on which party will win or lose. The only job of a mediator is to guide both the parties while negotiations are going on.

A spouse should be at their best behavior if they hope to convince the other party to be okay with an agreement outside the court. It can be quite tough to accomplish it since a divorce may not put the parties in their most charming behavior, It is precisely where a mediator comes in the picture. They can direct the dialogue and interaction between the two parties so that the potential hazards during the negotiation process can be minimized.

In order to ensure that the mediation process is fruitful, both the parties should be reasonable in their thinking for negotiating a final settlement.

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

Tips for Mothers Going Through Legal Separation or Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Once the initial shock settles down and the divorce becomes a reality, you start realizing that your life will change in many ways when you become a single woman once again. A realization like this can be actually scary for many. However, like many others, you will also get used to these new changes gradually. So do not lose your cool and be patient.

It is indeed a gutsy role to be a single mother once your divorce gets finalized. Such a role will also be a challenging one as you transform into a stronger individual with each day. Do not feel scared and prepare yourself for the rainy day. You should start doing everything on your own so that your life becomes less stressful and easier. You may consider the following divorce tips that are helpful for single moms so that you can prepare yourself and plan accordingly.

Spend time in reviewing your financial position 

Do not indulge into self-pity or worry unnecessarily about your inability to provide for your kids. It will not serve any purpose and will end up giving you headaches. Thus, it is advisable to put aside your worries about how to get enough money to purchase a bicycle or doll for your little one. There are various ways of giving toys to your kids without going to the market to purchase them. You can make those toys at home. Let your kids help you out as they are going to love such activities. When you spend your time together and create these toys, it will be a memory they are going to cherish for a long time to come.

Self-education is extremely important 

Self-improvement initiatives and education are important things to work on at this crucial juncture of life as you need to be self-equipped and self-dependent in your new life. You can go online and research for some free courses on the net, find out easy tips to earn money and check available resources as a part of your action plan.

Be well-informed about issues like insurance plans, savings, credit, and taxes as they will come quite handy after your divorce. You can do so by either researching about them online or by hiring a professional consultant. Try to find out whether there are any government sponsored programs along with the benefits they offer to single mothers. The bottom line is you should have all relevant information at your disposal so that looking after your household and finances after your divorce become simpler.

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

4 Different Ways of Getting an Orange County Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsAre you planning to get divorced but do not know how to initiate the process? There is a common misconception that a divorce process is always a lengthy and complicated one, which may not be necessarily true. Here are some of the ways to get a divorce in Orange County, California.

DIY divorce

It is possible that both you and your husband/wife have sorted out all the parenting, tax and financial issues already. So, you have time at your disposal to go through those detailed guidelines, draft and file documents in the court. A majority of the bar associations or states sell handbooks that are handy for filing the paperwork or a do-it-yourself divorce. Alternatively, one can also browse through the website of a state on uncontested divorces to get a hang of the things. Usually, it takes about two weeks to complete the documentation and procures notarized signatures. However, you need to wait for the court’s final divorce decree that may take anywhere between a fortnight to about six months based on the time taken by your court.

Mediated divorce

It is highly possible that both you and your partner failed to resolve the parenting, financial and tax-related issues.  However, if both of you can still be together in one too then a mediator with a neutral approach can guide both of you on the issues that could eventually sort out your differences. The basic aim of a neutral mediation is to assist you and your spouse to arrive at a settlement without the court’s intervention. It is not necessary that a mediator has to be an attorney.  However, if the mediator is one, the person can get all the legal documents ready and then file them in the court on your behalf. While mediation is a voluntary act, it becomes binding after an agreement is signed. The speed of a mediated divorce is reasonably fast and can be usually arrived within three months.

On-line DIY divorce

It is quite similar to a DIY divorce but the difference is that you need not procure blank court papers. Rather, the online program will ask you certain questions and you need to key in your responses. Thus the software program does the paperwork on your behalf. You just need to take a printout of the final documents and notarize them before filing in the court. It takes less time than a DIY divorce as the paperwork is simplified due to the online program.

Litigated divorce

Both the parties should hire their respective attorneys who will represent them while the divorce proceedings are on.  It can be a time-consuming procedure.

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

Is Divorce Mediation Right For You?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediationThese days, couples can get divorced through various ways. Some of these ways are litigation, collaborative or mediation. But how do you conclude what is the right method for you? Divorce mediation is a method of procuring a divorce when a neutral and unbiased third party, selected by both the spouses can facilitate discussions to address and resolve various issues related to a divorce. But mediation is not binding unless it is mutually agreed by both the parties.

Check out some of the common principles through which divorce mediation can be conducted to resolve issues:


A mediation process engages only those stakeholders whose presence is needed to reach an agreement. The stakeholders typically include the spouses, a financial neutral or a coach if required and the mediator, agreed by both sides. The records or notes exchanged in the mediation process can never be used in future court proceedings if the mediation does not work out for whatever reasons since they are public records. In a majority of cases, mediators tend to destroy the mediation notes and records after the process is completed for this particular reason.


It could be made mandatory for both the parties to attend an initial meeting if a judge orders so. However, follow up participation is voluntary in nature. The court cannot impose a resolution on either spouse. Plus, all resolutions that are arrived at should be voluntary and mutually agreed upon.


Strict confidentiality should be maintained for all mediation sessions and are restricted to only those professionals that are approved by both the spouses as mentioned above. In case a party requests for any kind of access to mediation information, both the parties should put their signatures allowing so. Both sides should also be willing to the fact that secrecy should be maintained due to some compelling reasons or it is beneficial to do so.

Decision-making should be done in an informed way

Both the parties should have the essential information required to make informed decisions with respect to the resolution of their conflicts.

Whether divorce mediation will work for you or not depends on your unique situation. It may work out for those couples who want to divorce by embracing a cost-effective procedure and need to maintain a harmonious relationship even after their divorce is finalized so that they can co-parent their kids successfully. But there could be a scenario when one of the spouses may disagree to mediate. In such scenarios, opting for litigated or collaborative divorce can be a better alternative.

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

4 Tips for Protecting Your Money during Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsOne of the most important things to focus on during your divorce should be how you can protect your money. Money is one such issue that one should start preparing and protecting long before filing a divorce. Do you suspect that your spouse could be hiding money? When you feel that your divorce will be full of conflicts and not a harmonious one, it makes sense to take certain precautionary measures with respect to your financial matters prior to filing for your divorce.

If you are a stay-at-home mother, whatever money your partner earns to run the family is “your money”. So, even if you end up getting divorced, you should not feel that just because you do not give your own income it means that you do not have any bucks to protect. After all, your kids and you should feel financially secure until the time you can start working. Now, this also means that you do not have any issues with respect to protecting the portion of your husband’s income that is required for you to be financially stable after your divorce is finalized. Check out some of these easy tips for protecting your money during your divorce.

Immediately close all such joint credit accounts that you hold with your spouse

You need to put an end to all the joint credit accounts that are held by your spouse and you together r pay them off. For instance, a home mortgage will come under this category and should either be paid off quickly if possible. Alternatively, it should be put only in the name of your spouse. In case you are unable to settle the payment of such credit accounts, get in touch with your creditors and try to figure out the steps that should be taken so that your name gets removed from these accounts.

Open a new personal account in your name

It is possible that you did not have a bank account in your individual name before. Now is the time for you to open a new savings as well as a checking account. Once you open it, do keep your spouse informed about it and let them know the amount of money that you plan to deposit in your account. Your spouse should know about these accounts so that there would be no allegations of trying to hide funds. When you separate from your spouse and file for the divorce, you will require money to meet the fees of your attorney, court fees as well as a new house to live.

Do not incur fresh debts

Your priority should be to save the maximum amount of money prior to filing for a divorce. When you run charges on your credit card, you are not saving money but accumulating new debts.

Protect your precious items

When your spouse has been abusing you for some time now, or you have a gut feeling that he or she will hide or destroy expensive possessions, you should hide them. However, you should note that if there is any valuable that were bought with the marital funds, it needs to be valued and then divided during your divorce process.

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

What NOT To Do During Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsIt makes a great deal of sense to do the right things while your divorce is going on. But what about those things that you are not supposed to do during your divorce? There are many divorce lawyers who claim that they have come across divorcing clients who tend to concentrate more on what should be done and overlook all such things that they should not do, which are equally important.

Stop behaving badly

Just because you are undergoing a divorce does not mean that you have to be rude and behave badly with your estranged spouse. Do not indulge in any such acts prior to, during the divorce and after your divorce comes through, which will have a bad reflection on you.

You should not dismiss the needs of your ex

While you may not want to stay married to your wife or husband anymore, it does not necessarily signify that you should overlook their requirements. After all, you are not the only party in your divorce. The basic legal idea beyond any divorce is to get a marriage dissolved and not making your husband/wife destitute. So when you consider their needs and be fair, it will have a positive impact on your divorce process so that it does not turn into a bitter war.

Try not to be rigid

When you negotiate your divorce settlement or determine crucial issues such as child custody, you should not be unwilling to compromise. People opt for a divorce knowing full well that they require. But everyone cannot get all they had desired for. When you are inflexible while negotiations are going on, there is a possibility that you end up getting much less than what could have been otherwise negotiated. For instance, though the guidelines lay down by the state determines matters related to child support, it does not necessarily signify that a judge will raise an objection to an agreement signed by both you and former spouse. The way your settlement gets handled will be ascertained by the degree of flexibility shown by you and your former partner and the issues applicable in your specific case.

Do not be extravagant

Your divorce can be a costly affair. So you need to have a proper financial plan and begin saving for your future. The money you tend to spend unnecessarily every month should be put away in your bank account. In case your divorce turns out to be a long legal process, this money can then be used to meet the expenses. Once you have filed for the divorced, avoid going out on costly shopping sprees and spend your marital assets. When you start spending recklessly, the orders of the judge could make you return those assets.

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

Symptoms Your Kids Are Being Affected By Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

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

When you notice the following symptoms of distress with your child, you need to take appropriate action such as taking them to a therapist so that they can overcome their emotional problems related to the divorce.

Drastic change in academic performance

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

Refuses to spend time with his/her parent

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

Increase in certain type of physical complaints

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

Prolonged and significant change in the behavior

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

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

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

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

What To Consider When Deciding Between Separation And Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsWhen you are considering whether to end your marriage or not, you may be in a dilemma. You are uncertain about whether to legally separate from your spouse or whether you want to file for a divorce. Here are some of the things to consider while contemplating between divorce and separation.

Separation does not terminate a marriage but divorce does

You should consider your marriage as a partnership where both the partners share their liabilities as well as assets while the marriage continues. In many states, the general thumb rule is that the marriage is intact even when the parties get separated. Additionally, the financial benefits will also continue. For instance, even if the spouses are legally separated for many years, they continue to share their investment growth, 401Ks, IRAs and other assets if any.

Legal separation can be accomplished through a separation agreement

The agreement may be used for setting the grounds for a settlement in the event of a separation getting culminated into a divorce. The agreement can constitute of issues such as property split, arrangements of child support and other pertinent matter although the parties remain legally married. However, you should be cautious about the legal enforceability of such an agreement since the laws may not be same in all the states. To know the exact details, you can consult a local lawyer to get the exact knowledge on this matter.

Are you trying to cement your relationship during your separation and not given up hopes yet?

You may be dating a new person while you are legally separated. However, you need to realize that it is really tough to proceed in a fresh relationship since you are married even while you are separated from your husband or wife.

Most separations are known to end in divorces

Statistics reveal that in most scenarios a legal separation often ends up in getting divorced. When there are conflicts in a marriage, it is always advisable to go for marriage counseling or see a therapist so that the spouses can work towards keeping their marriages intact and resolve their conflicts. But going for a legal separation may make such task a difficult one.

Duration of your legal separation

How long are you and your spouse planning to be legally separated? So, even a trial separation can drag for several years. As a result, none of the parties feel an urge to cement the marriage or finalize their divorce.

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

How Can International Citizens Protect from Marriage Fraud?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsIf you’re planning to get a green card through a marriage, then it is advisable for you to not do so because then you can easily be charged with marriage fraud. Although it is true that a marriage is based on love and trust, it is also true that some people may take advantage of that. Often, international citizens enter the US soil with the intention of becoming a permanent citizen. However, the wait and the legal procedure can be depressing. So, they opt for something easier – marriage.

Marriage frauds are common and take place in almost every country with a strong GDP. It is often misunderstood that the victims of marriage frauds are American citizens. International citizens are also victims and for them, the punishment can be worse.

Conditional permanent residence

After marriage, an international citizen receives the status of a conditional permanent residence. The couple must be together for at least two years before immigration officials can review the documents and give permanent residence status. If you are planning to get one, then it is suggested that you do it legally. Also, if you genuinely want to settle down with an American partner, then you should know the rules the regulations for getting a green card through marriage. Legal problems for immigrants are strict and the only punishment is deportation.

Property and assets

Often, the marriage takes place in the other way. American citizens marry an international citizen to get a share of the property. To save yourself from financial damage, either make a prenuptial agreement and have your partner agree to it or claim your property as separate property before the marriage. When finances are concerned, divorces can be complicated even for American citizens. For foreign nationals, it can become uglier.

Marriage fraud is a big problem in America and it can happen to anyone – foreign or American. Marriage can be a means to extract money from rich people. Or it can be used by international citizens to quickly get hold of a green card without waiting too much. Before they can get a green card, they must stay in the marriage for at least two years under the status of conditional permanent residence. Only after the immigration department has reviewed the documents can they be given a permanent residence status. Foreign nationals need to understand the rules and regulations that govern marriages in the US.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please click on the following link for our free ebook, What is Divorce Mediation