What Are Your Divorce Rights as a Woman?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsEvery state in the country has a different set of laws when it comes to the matters of family law, especially divorce. However, there are certain aspects of a woman’s rights as a wife and a mother in a divorce lawsuit that stay fairly typical across all states. So if you have decided to divorce your husband, you must consult an attorney before filing your petition in the court. An experienced attorney can not only assist you with the proceedings of the litigation but also help you understand and preserve your rights as a woman.

Spousal support

In many cases, where the husband is the primary breadwinner of the family and the couple is no longer cohabiting, the wife has the right to demand temporary financial support even during the period of litigation before the final verdict is announced. The temporary spousal support is referred to as ‘pendente lite’ and stays in effect only until the final decree of divorce is announced by the judge. The pendent lite does not imply that the court will award you permanent alimony provision even after the case is dismissed. However, the temporary support can be extremely useful in making ends meet while the expensive litigation goes on. 

Restraining orders

If your husband tries to harm, threaten, harass or abuse you in any way, you can immediately seek the assistance of the law enforcement officials and request a restraining order against your spouse from the court of law. A restraining order specifies guidelines to restrict the communication from your husband and can even go to the extent of asking him to move out of the marital residence and live elsewhere. In addition to this, if your husband tries to move the children out of the state before the final verdict is announced, you have the right to inform the legal authorities and get him to stop. 

Household expenses

Regardless of whether your husband chooses to stay with you or moves out of your marital home, it is your right to demand his share in the mortgage or rental payments. The court of law makes it mandatory for both the spouses to make an equal contribution towards the payment installments of their marital home. However, such an order is mostly temporary in nature and is issued on ‘pendente lite’ basis as an alternative for spousal support until the final decree of divorce is ordered.

Although it is natural to feel emotionally vulnerable in a grave situation such as a broken marriage, it is advisable to stay put and deal with the situation in a logical way.

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

Understanding Family Law Emergency Restraining Orders

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Restraining orders Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsNot all family law cases can be mediated and resolved amicably, particularly where domestic violence or child abuse is involved where emergency restraining orders may be necessary to obtain.  Emergency restraining orders are granted only on certain instances such as a threat or an incidence of domestic violence or child abuse, child support and custody disputes, alimony requests and so on. The California Family Court, though, does not term everything under Family Law as an ‘emergency’.

Domestic Violence

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you should ask your lawyer to file a domestic violence restraining order petition on your behalf and request for a restraining order against your spouse immediately. You will be granted a temporary emergency order till the time of the hearing on the domestic violence case.

During the hearing, you and any other witness will have to testify. Your lawyer will provide the court with documentary evidences. The court will then give a verdict that will either revoke the temporary emergency restraining order or will make it a permanent one. Most attorneys ask for a restraining order of 3 years. If there have been multiple instances of domestic violence, the court can increase it to 5 years.

If you are contesting a restraining order for domestic violence, you need to respond within 24 hours or less of receiving the notification. You will be barred from contacting and communicating with your spouse and children. You may also have to pay a support amount. You need to provide the court with evidences and testimonies from witnesses that prove you have not carried out the alleged act of domestic violence. You should declare your innocence under oath before the hearing.

Child abuse

An emergency restraining order for child abuse will immediately withdraw all visitation rights of the accused parent. Allegations of child abuse include instances of physical, sexual and extreme emotional abuse. Cases of emotional abuse are difficult to prove. Any parent filing a restraining order for child abuse should enlist the help of the local police and the child protective services.

If you are contesting a restraining order for child abuse, you must respond immediately and with great caution. You must gather witnesses for testimony. You must ask the court to appoint a forensic psychological evaluator and ask the alleging parent to depose.

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