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

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

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

Helping Children Adjust to Two Homes After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

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

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

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

A primary home should be designated for the children

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

Allocate a separate room for your child

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

Freedom of carrying things

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

Allow your kids to personalize their space

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

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

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

All You Need to Know About California Child Custody Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsThe Orange County Family Law local rules as well as the broader California laws require a mandatory child custody mediation to be set before a court hearing at which a court order or modification to an earlier court order pertaining to child custody and visitation take place.

Moreover, if a parent fails to turn up for a child custody mediation session without having valid reasons for his or her absence once or repeatedly, he or she may be prevented from being heard further on the issues of child custody and visitation. If it goes to the hearing stage, it may become extremely difficult for the absentee parent to explain their stand.

Custody issues are often the hardest to settle and can’t be settled under premarital agreement settlements since the right of a child belongs exclusively to the child themselves and their best interests would be held paramount by all courts.

Although a mediator can’t be decisions like a judge or an arbitrator, they can definitely propel the discussion between the two parties forward and create a peaceful environment under which discussions can be held, even for such spouses who have come out of an acrimonious relationship and don’t see eye to eye. A mediator plays a vital role and his intervention is often the only reason why a discussion goes forward.

How to prepare for child custody mediation 

In order to prepare for child custody mediation, try to gather as much evidence or relevant information about your child that would help you while presenting your side of the argument or making your proposals.

One important step is to understand your custody rights and obligations from an experienced and licensed attorney. You can also prepare and present a list of daily schedules for yourself and your child that would convey how emotionally and personally invested you are in the growth and welfare of your child.  You should also present your child custody and visitation proposal during the mediation process after taking advice from your attorney.

You will also need to come to an agreement with the other parent for deciding the scheduled visits and where to drop and pick up the child from and also special occasions or moments in the child’s life when they would expect both their parents to gather.

You may also do well to get an understanding of some commonly used legal phraseology or jargon that may be thrown around during the mediation discussions. Consult your attorney and prepare yourself accordingly.

In order to prepare for the child custody meetings, be honest and think, if you are really capable of taking care of your child. At all points, their interests will be to be kept in mind. Be compassionate towards the other party and you may be able to reach a mediation agreement regarding to your child easily.

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 About Kids and Finances After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsThere are many people who go all numb when their divorce proceeding is underway. The reason for such an emotional state is because it could be too much to go through all sorts of chaos and painful feelings as the harsh reality is there for them.  However, things can be even more complicated where kids are involved in a divorce. Firstly, there is this emotional trauma. Above that, there is the important concern of money.

Breaking up is quite simple and straightforward for all those divorcing couples do not have kids from their marriages. If you fall into that category, simply divide your and your spouse’s assets and start life afresh after your divorce comes through. On the other hand, divorcing couples with children face a more complicated problem and if they are younger, things could be even trickier. In a nutshell, child support could be quite a complicated area.

Costs of child support

The cost of child support may be paid to either the mother or father. It actually depends on who is taking care if the kids. A parent who pays the maintenance cost can often be the “non-custodial parent.” In a majority of these cases, it is the father or the ex-husband, who plays this role or pays the maintenance costs.

The family house

One of the most important priorities for the divorcing couple is to ensure that the kids should continue having a proper home for them even after the finalization of the divorce. There are several such occasions where it has been observed that the ex-husbands have a tendency to sell if the house and go away with 50 percent of its value but it does not have to be so necessarily.  When too many assets are not there to split, assuming the wife is the primary career and the kids are usually permitted to continue staying in the same home. In case either of the partners behind a new relationship; matters could be even more complicated. When the mother gets married again or brings in a new partner, there are no alterations in the obligations of the father as he has to keep beating the maintenance costs as he was doing previously. However, he is no longer obliged to pay for the maintenance of his former wife any longer in case she cohabits in some cases or remarries.

However, if the father starts cohabiting with a new partner and the latter has kids from an earlier relationship but now live with them, he could be paying less money for child maintenance to his own biological children.

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

How To Increase Visitation in Custody Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County child custody attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsDivorces can be hard for some parents especially when kids are involved. It becomes even more hard when the affected parent is the non-custodial parent. Staying away from the children can be mentally and physically daunting. Every parent wants to spend as much time as he/she can with their children. The custodial plan is made to ensure that the non-custodial parent gets to spend quality time with the kids.

One of the important parts of custodial plans is the parenting schedule. Sometimes, the time is so short, it really becomes difficult for the non-custodial parent to have quality time with his/her child. There are ways to change the custodial plan and increase parenting time.

Court Order

Courts can order a change in the visitation hours if it finds that the non-custodial parent deserves to spend more time with his/her children. A court will decide whether spending more time with the non-custodial parent is in the child’s best interests.

Violation of parental plan

If the custodial parent is deliberately trying to limit your visitation time or preventing you from seeing your children, you can use the evidence to increase your visitation hours. In some rare cases, it even leads to a change in custody.

Both of you are equally responsible for paying child care and if the case arises where you are paying more than you should, then naturally your visitation hours should also increase. You can build a case claiming that since you are paying the entire child support by yourself, you are eligible to be the custodial parent. But it may not work every time since there are many reasons why the custodial parent pays less than he/she should.

The custodial parent is the primary caretaker of the child and should provide basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. If in case, the custodial parent is unable to provide any of the basic needs, the custody of the child can be changed. Or the non-custodial parent can be granted more time that he/she can spend with the child.

Conclusion

Visiting hours helps non-custodial parents spend quality time with their children. However, the time can be increased if there is evidence that the given time is not enough for the non-custodial parent.

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

How to Help Your Kid through Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsAs thousands of couples decide to end their marriages every year, their kids are also affected in the process. But their reactions will depend to a large extent on their personality, the circumstances under which the parents decided to separate and their age. Kids often get affected when their parent’s divorce. Often, the first reaction these children go through is that of sorry, anger, frustration, sadness, and shock. However, these children can deal these feelings in a better way as they know how to cope up with stress. As an end result, many of them are more tolerant and flexible when they become young adults. At such trying times, the most crucial things both the parents can do are to help their children steer through it by taking the following steps:

Important steps

  • Try to minimize disruptions in the daily routines of their children.
  • Make sure that legal talks, heated arguments, and visible conflicts happen away from the kids.
  • Do not be negative in front of them. Conversation with close friends and private therapy sessions should not take place inside the house.
  • Both the parents should be involved in the lives of their kids. Indifference will hurt them more.

People going through divorce or separation require lots of emotional support from their families, clergy, professionals and friends. However, these adults should never seek support and help from their children though they may appear ready to do so.

Break the news gently

The moment you are completely sure of your divorce plans, you should speak to your children about the decision to separate. Yes, it will be not an easy task to break this news. In case it is possible, it is better if both the parents are present while the news is shared. Make sure that you adopt a neutral and unbiased tone and do not express your emotions of guilt, anger or disillusionment while telling them about your separation. Of possible rehearse how you are going to break the news from beforehand so that you go not lose your temper or become upset during the discussion.

You should discuss the matter in accordance with the temperament, maturity, and age of your kids. But one statement should be common. Whatever took place between both of you; your kids are not responsible for that. This is because a majority of the children feel that they should be blamed when things did not work out between their parents. So, it is extremely crucial that the parents reassure their kids about this.

Rather tell your children that at times the adults do not agree on things or their love for one another change and so they decide to live separately. But also tell them that children will tie the parents forever no matter what happens.

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

A Calm Mindset Is The Best Way To Get Divorced

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsThere are many emotions brought by a divorce. This is especially true when the couple has had a bad time in their marriage. It is normal to go through feelings such ad fear, fury, sadness, and anxiety. However, you need to remember that the degree of emotions will slowly subside with the passage of time. So, when you are undergoing a divorce process it is better to be calm. So do not get agitated as this would only spoil your health. Studies have shown that people who are composed during such times are better equipped to manage the difficulties that accompany a divorce process. Do not continue a blame game with your partner as nothing would come out of it eventually.

Stop being resentful

Divorce should not be looked upon as a means of settling scores or a way to take revenge against your spouse. If you regard the resolution of your marriage as a battle, there is a high possibility that the divorce process will be more expensive and time-consuming. It is recommended to go for divorce mediation so that you can avoid the long and tiring courtroom proceedings and end up hating one another even more. Studies have also proved that it can help to support the needs of the kids as well as getting emotional satisfaction.

Focus on a smooth split

In many cases, it is not unusual that you do not want to talk to your spouse from whom you intend to part soon. However, despite the ill-feelings, aim for a smooth split. Cooperation, as well as proper communication, will help in making the process healthier and less stressful for both the parties, Moreover when you seek the help of a psychologist and a divorce mediator, you and our estranged partner can avoid conflicts and bitterness.

Do not neglect your health

This is a phase when you must take good care of your health. Speak to your family and friends for comfort and support. Alternatively, the idea of joining a formal support group also makes sense as they help you to cope up with your pent up emotions. There are many people who begin a fresh chapter after their divorce by taking up new hobbies or indulging in activities they had not attempted before. Even you can start doing the same. Make sure to eat well and be physically fit. When the divorce gets nasty, your spouse and you start despising one another even more. Now, that is not good as you still have joint responsibilities as parents. So, try to be amicable while parting since it is good for your sanity, purse, and kids.

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