Why Divorce Mediation Is Better Than Litigation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in Orange CountyThe decision on whether one should settle your divorce case through mediation or litigation will depend on individual circumstances of every case. There are many cases when the two parties can sit together and negotiate their settlement details through mediation.  However, there are other cases where mediation becomes a futile exercise and the two parties fail to. You can else enter into a deal with the come to any amicable settlement.

Mediation is a cost-effective technique to resolve the differences in a divorce in some circumstances. But there are other circumstances when one of the parties or both of them need to approach a court to get the desired outcomes.

Merits of settling a divorce case

Settlement offers a host of benefits as compared to a divorce lawsuit or a legal dispute. Here are some of them.

Stress

It is possible to reduce stressful situations to some extent by opting for a settlement as compared to going for a trial or litigation.  The latter may have unexpected outcomes and both parties may not like to stand on a witness stand in the court and share their private stories with the judge in front of many people. Additionally, they may not like the prospect of being cross-examined by the lawyer for the other party.

Less expensive

When the parties opt for a trial, the process involves experts, attorneys, time, travel, witnesses among others. In case a case can be settled prior to going on a trial, several such expenses are drastically reduced or removed altogether.

More predictable as compared to trial

Any good divorce lawyer will mention that the decision of a jury is not quite predictable. In comparison, you can declare your terms for the divorce settlement agreements. You can also enter into a deal either the other party, which is acceptable to both of you.

Privacy

If you opt for settling your case, many of its details are not included in the court documents. They are not treated as public records; clause god confidentiality is included in several court documents.

Sense of finality prevails

If a couple opts for litigation, the party that lists the case has a right to appeal against the judgment made by a court. Thus, the divorce process may drag on for several months. On the other hand, a settlement is not usually appealed.

When is it better to opt for litigation?

When either both the parties or one of them do not agree to settle or refuses to come to a negotiating table then a lawsuit can become imperative at other times when a plaintiff needs to settle his or her sense of what is wrong and what is right, they may opt for a legal proceeding.

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

These Are The Emotional Phases of Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation lawyers; California Divorce MediatorsNo two people react the same way to their divorce. However, there are certain emotional phases everyone goes through while experiencing their divorce.

There are certain phases that could be as painful as the feeling when a dear one passes away. When you know what to expect, it becomes easier for you to sail through these phases. However, the negative feelings may still be within you. You will also find that done phases are easier to move through as compared to the others.

  1. Refusing to believe

You may find it extremely difficult to come to terms with the fact that the divorce is happening to you. In fact, you are not ready to accept the end of your relationship and frantically struggle to find out answers to your marital problems. And you still spend your time convinced that when you do or say the right thing, there is a possibility of the return of your spouse. You are convinced that your divorce cannot be a solution for the marital problems both of you are going through.

  1. Surprise and shock

Emotions like numbness, fury, panic or feeling that you are becoming crazy are normal in this phase. There is a swing between a hope that your marriage can still be restored and sadness that all is over in your marriage. You will feel it impossible to handle these feelings. Moreover, there are certain fears you start experiencing while thinking about the future all alone. Questions like whether you will find love again or not and how to survive after your divorce will start haunting you.

  1. It will be a roller coaster ride of emotions

It feels difficult for you to settle your thoughts and emotions. At one moment you see a gleam of hope in your life but the next moment you feel agony and despair. This is a phase where you also try to introspection what exactly happened. When you can understand and appreciate that, your pain will ebb and everything will start making sense once again.

  1. Negotiating

In this phase, you may still cling to the hope that a restoration of your marriage is not entirely impossible. You are willing and flexible to alter things in yourself or do anything if it will make your spouse return home.

  1. Letting go

This is a phase where you eventually realize that your marriage has ended. You cannot say nor do anything to alter that.

  1. Accepting facts

Your obsessive thoughts have stopped bothering you in this phase. You no longer feel the urge to restore your marriage and start feeling that you can have a fulfilling and new life before you.

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

How Long Should Single Mothers Wait Before They Start Dating Again?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediator attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsGetting back on track after a divorce is no easy task. After going through emotional upheavals, restoring back the spark which you once had during your marriage or before it can take time. One of the things that must have crossed your mind after a divorce is “should I date again?”. Well you should if you feel like it but like everything else there is a proper time. But it really depends upon you.

As a single mother, your correct time to date also depends a lot upon your child. That is one of the challenges of being a single mother when you want to start a fresh relationship.

Finding the right time

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been divorced for one month or one year. It’s your choice when you want to date. It’s very hard to tell when you’ll become ready to go out on a date again. As a single mother, most of your free time might be spent in looking after your children.

One of the things that you can try to do is make time for yourself by going out with your friends. Initially leaving your kids behind while you’re out partying might make you feel guilty but slowly you’ll realize that it’s not a bad thing really. When you’ve become habituated to going out without your kids, you can try and meet new men.

Tell your kids about it

Honestly, your waiting period is directly linked to your children coping up with your new way of life. When kids are involved, you need to think from their perspective. Kids show a variety of emotions and sometimes it’s very hard to gauge what might be feeling. And since their mom is concerned, the feelings might be more intense.

Consider legal problems

It’s a good idea to consider any legal difficulties that might be present when you start dating someone. In California, divorces usually don’t last for more than six months but in some cases, it might last up to two years. Now you definitely don’t want to wait for two years before you start dating. But then again, you don’t want to get caught up in legal problems either. The best thing would be to maintain an amicable relationship with your husband and let him know that you are considering going into a new relationship.

Conclusion

As far as dating is concerned, single mothers can find it difficult to decide when to start dating again. As a mother, you should give more priority to your child and then to yourself. When both things work out fine, you’ll know the right time to date.

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

How To Create An Amicable Relationship With Your Ex After A Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsIt is no hidden fact that divorces happen because the relationship that was once pure and strong between two individuals becomes bad. And it’s also true that individuals who get divorced don’t like keeping in touch with their ex unless a child or business is involved. But it’s also true that some people maintain an amicable relationship with their ex-spouse. So how do they do it? Here are some ways how.

Embrace the change and start afresh

Most individuals don’t take divorces well and show signs of psychological problems. But there are some who see it as a change. They take their divorces positively and start afresh. For them, it’s a new beginning and a part of their change is keeping good relations with their ex. If you’re trying to be one such individual, then remember to accept your feelings and embrace the change that life has to offer you. When you were married, you had responsibilities and certain things were expected from you but since you’ve got divorced, you don’t have any inhibitions. You have the freedom of living the way you want to. A new lifestyle will help you reflect on the problems you faced during your marriage and it will, in turn, help you build a better relationship with your ex.

Establish boundaries which you couldn’t do during marriage

After a divorce, it becomes easy to set up physical and emotional boundaries which wasn’t possible during a marriage. Having boundaries allows you to determine the type of communication you want to keep with your ex. You also have the freedom of avoiding discussions which might upset the either of you. Boundaries help build respect and your ex. will notice it too.

Create a new routine

Now you have the time to re-structure your life and create a routine that suits you. Creating a routine will help you avoid anger and frustration. It will also make your ex. realize that you have moved on with your life. This again creates respect and it becomes easy to maintain a good relationship.

Conclusion

Most individuals find post-divorce relationships hard to maintain but there are ways in which you can make it better. Accept your divorce as a new change and embrace it. Create a routine for yourself and follow it. Also, establish certain boundaries and let your ex. know about it. Your ex. will develop a sense of respect for you and your relationship will become more amicable.

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

Lawyer Or Mediator? Which One Should You Opt For During Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsDivorces can be complicated matters and getting caught in the middle of legal problems is common. some people try avoiding divorce cases by going through a mediation first.  A divorce mediator helps couples either negotiate divorce settlements or resolve issues that leads to the dissolution of marriage.

However, divorce mediation is not appropriate in all situations.  For certain cases where domestic abuse or some kind of crime is involved, courts often start divorce proceedings without a mediation. But it can be confusing for people who are stuck in between and don’t know whether to hire a lawyer or a mediator.

When does mediation work?

California courts always favor divorce mediations and alternatives to divorce because it saves them for going into complicated cases. They can instead focus on more pressing matters. It is the reason why courts ask couples to go through a mediation process before the divorce is finalized.

Mediation processes are successful when the idea of a divorce is mutual and both parties understand what it means for them. Divorce mediations are useful when the couples are open to comprise without any emotional attachment.

Mediation is a powerful process and many marriages have worked out after couples went through a mediation process.

When does going to a lawyer work?

Divorce mediations are absolutely necessary but in some cases, they are not required. In cases where clear signs of domestic abuse or child abuse is involved, mediation is unnecessary. In other cases, where the court feels that a mediation is waste of time, divorce proceedings are directly handled by lawyers. Sometimes, mediators and lawyers are the same person and the roles are intertwined. For such lawyers, it becomes easy to do both without the client or the courts interference.

Conclusion

Since divorces can become ugly, mediation processes that can potentially save the marriage is often used to pacify issues between the couple. Mediation processes work best when both parties are ready to reach a common ground where they can work out things. Often, it helps save their marriage. Divorce mediations also help couples who aren’t too emotional or touchy about the dissolution of their marriage.

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

Why Permanent Alimony is Favored by Many People

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Spousal support Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsAlthough alimony, which is also referred to as spousal support, is regarded by some as a dirty word, there are still many people who favor it. But there are several states that have rewritten their divorce laws so that permanent alimony can be scrapped.

For several decades in the past, it was usual that after a man and a woman got married, the wife stayed at home and took care of the family to help promote the career of her husband. It was a common practice for women to support their husbands, and when children were born, perform most of the activities related to their rearing. So, if there was a divorce, it is natural to understand why she was awarded permanent alimony. After all, all these years during the marriage, she never had an opportunity or time to develop her professional career.

To cut it short, even today, most of the couples make the emotional choice of having one of them to stay back at home with the kids. While doing so, one of them becomes financially dependent on the other spouse who is the breadwinner of the family. When a mom or a dad give up their professional career and decides to stay back at home to bring up their kids for 18 years, the ability or the opportunity to make a re-entry to the workforce becomes less. Moreover, they will not be able to earn the same kind of salary their spouses are earning.

Many think that these are some of the cases when a spouse should be awarded permanent alimony:

When a spouse unilaterally decides to end a long-term marriage

If the spouse who’s the breadwinner of the family decides to divorce unilaterally from a marriage that lasted for 15 years or more, permanent alimony should be awarded to the dependent spouse.

When the dependent spouse has to look after the kids

In case a dependent spouse has to take care of the kids all alone but fails to get employment and stands at a risk of a drastic change in the lifestyle, he or she should be awarded a permanent alimony.

When a spouse is at a risk of facing financial poverty

If the situation is such that a spouse is exposed to the threat of suffering from acute poverty as he or she lacks necessary working skills post-divorce, permanent alimony should be awarded to that spouse.

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

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

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