4 Divorce Myths That Should Be Ignored

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorneys in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsMany people go for a divorce with certain preconceived ideas about how their experience would be. Check out some of those common myths that are often associated with the process of divorce. It helps you to keep your mind open about what may happen while your divorce proceeding is going on.

The divorcing couples must go to divorce court

It is quite likely that you would not have to spend a day in the court, especially if you are little fortunate. In a majority of States, a couple can arrive at an agreement with a divorce lawyer or a mediator, a judge may put his or her signature on the divorce decree and the parties involved need not appear in the divorce court. It is easy to stay out of a divorce court even the couple can sort out their conflicts amicably while the negotiation for divorce settlement goes on.

A divorce lawyer is mandatorily needed for seeking a divorce

On the contrary, it is not compulsory to hire a divorce lawyer. You can choose from certain options that can alleviate the requirement of hiring a lawyer. These options can prevent

Divorce courts can be biased as they often favor the moms

It is true that in the majority of cases, mothers are given the custody of the kids. However, that is not because the judge is biased. It has more to do either many fathers agreeing to hand over the custody to their estranged wives. Mostly, fathers have heard that they should not even try to get custody that they do not even make an attempt to get the custody. In reality, a father does not have to prove that the mother is not capable f caring for or mentally unstable to provide or care for the kids. Who will gain custody while the parents are getting divorced will be ascertained by the concerned judge. In case a father can give evidence to a judge that he is a more suitable parent, custody can be awarded to him.

A child can spend equal time with both the parents in case of a fifty-fifty custody. This is perhaps the most ideal scenario for the children. Both of you should make the best possible efforts to provide the best for your children. But a father has the same legal rights as the mother in the case of child custody.

Divorce will damage the kids 

This is not true because children do not get damaged due to divorce. But parents who do not give a priority to their children’s interests during and after the divorce process damage their kids.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how Orange County divorce 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:

Private

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.

Voluntary

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.

Confidential

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

All about “Conscious Uncoupling” from your spouse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorney Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsFor many of you, “conscious uncoupling” may sound like like a made-up and new-age term that is often used to make it sound as if the couples today can be much more mature than they used to be previously. But the concept of conscious uncoupling has been around for some time now.

Conscious uncoupling is a methodology to come out of a relationship, which concentrates on assuming responsibility and self-reflection instead of fury and blame game. It is a process to grow and learn instead of being destructive and hurtful. Though both the parties can follow this process, even a single person can do it in case the other party is not cooperative.

It was way back in 1986, when sociologist and renowned author Diane Vaughn disclosed the term “uncoupling” in her book titled “Uncoupling: Turning Points in Intimate Relationships.” Thereafter, thus term was further popularized by Katherine Woodrow Thomas, therapist, and author in 2011. She referred to this term in her work called “Calling in The One.” She followed the concept of “conscious uncoupling” with seminars and training.

Defining conscious uncoupling

Coming out of a close relationship can be really miserable. For many, the pain can be unbearable as well as overwhelming. Many people take a long time to heal properly after the break-ups. Conscious uncoupling aims to lower the trauma and ago y for all the parties involved; your children, your partner and of course you.

Thomas feels that couples usually commit three fundamental relationship mistakes that are mentioned below:

  • Begin hating and despising the person they once loved and adored.
  • Fails to accept responsibility and accountability for the failure of a relationship
  • Thinking that time can heal all sounds without giving any kind of efforts.

When these relationship mistakes are committed by the couples, they become the cause of the trauma and misery during as well as after break-up. She has also designed her online course to help the couples not to commit the above-mentioned mistakes or try to fix them if they have been already committed.

Outcomes of conscious uncoupling

  • Figure out the different ways you have given your power in relationships and taking it back.
  • Learn to emotionally support yourself by discarding emotions such as self-blame and shame.
  • Heal your hurts and sense of betrayal through past experiences like the relationship you had with parents or relationships you had in the past.

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

Understanding the Annulment of a Marriage

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation lawyers; California Divorce MediatorsThere are some people who feel that annulling their marriage is a good alternative of divorcing their spouse. While a civil annulment is regarded as legal, an annulment done through a Catholic church is religious in nature and not recognized by civil courts.

What is marriage annulment?

It is process wherein a marriage is declared to be null and void from the start. A marriage annulment is typically granted for any one of the reasons mentioned below:

  • Both spouses or any one of them was given a threatening to go through the process of getting married.
  • The partners are related by blood, which should have prohibited the marriage in the very beginning.
  • A spouse is not legally eligible for marriage since he or she was already married or was underage in a state where their marriage took place.
  • Mental capacity of one of the spouse diminished due to consumption of certain toxins like alcohol or drug abuse, or illness.
  • Concealment of crucial information or undisclosed details i.e. fraud was committed by either one or both the spouses while agreeing to get married.

These above conditions may vary based on the state where the spouses reside. There could be some states that have laid down time limits to file for an annulment.  You can get in touch with a good lawyer in your locality to learn about the exact legalities involved in the process.

Annulment through a Catholic Church

A Catholic Church may annul the marriage if it learns the said marriage was not conducted with proper intentions. The Catholic Church opines that there are two key points, which should be upheld when the marriage vows were exchanged:

  • There is an intention to be faithful to the spouse all through the marriage.
  • Physical ability and the necessary willingness to procreate.

Other scenarios like psychological condition, mental illness, or extreme immaturity can also be taken into account while the church makes a decision on if the marriage is valid or not. The concerned couple must express their desire of getting their marriage annulled to the priest.

Annulment just deals with the intention on the marriage day when the couple exchanges their vows. Its purpose is not to end a marriage and rather signifying that the marriage did not exist at all from the very beginning. This is the fundamental difference between a divorce and an annulment. The former acknowledges that a marriage did take place and ends it subsequently.

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

Can Social Media Be A Reason for Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediator lawyers Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsFacebook has changed the way we interact with people. We often get so involved in our gadgets that we have better relationships over social media and hamper relationships in reality. The increased use of social networking sites germinates interest in lives of people we know and find interesting, most commonly ex-girlfriends/boyfriends, classmates and friends. Spending increased time on social media websites also strains real-life relationships by keeping one distracted, leaving the significant other lonely. Today, our social media relationships are thriving over our real relationships with our spouses often leading to break ups and divorces.

Giving more time to your gadgets

Walk onto a public transport and look around. You’ll find almost everyone sitting on their phones. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re cheating, but it’s very likely that they are on some form of social media.

The uses of smartphones and social applications have proven to tempt people into cheating with their spouses. 30% of Tinder users in California are married or engaged. With websites like AshleyMadison.com that have over 130 million members, married people are encouraged to tempted to indulge in extramarital affairs.

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers claims that over 80% of the U.S. divorce attorneys in California alone has seen an increased number of divorces linked to social networking. A study published in the journal – Computers in Human Behavior found that the use of social networking sites “is negatively correlated with marriage quality and happiness, and positively correlated with experiencing a troubled relationship and thinking about divorce.”

How do you stay safe?

Snooping around and checking your partner’s phone to be aware of their doings isn’t always the best idea. The first thing you must do is have a discussion with your partner. Ensure your partner is on the same page as you. If you tend to have suspicions, discuss your concerns with your spouse.

It’s also important to keep an eye on your partner’s social media page. In a lot of divorce cases, lawyers have used the partner’s social media posts to justify infidelity or inebriation.

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

Speak to an Orange County divorce mediation attorney. Having handled many cases involving infidelity with social media, an attorney will also be able to advise you as to how you can be aware of your partner’s affairs.

It’s not always a bad thing!

When you think about it, it works both ways. A divorce is sometimes necessary when you know you’re not with the right person. You could find the love of your life through social media. With apps and websites, it isn’t hard to find the one.

Don’t get paranoid and overthink when your partner is spending increased time on their phone. They’re probably just busy with work or planning a surprise for you!

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

Are you responsible for your spouse’s credit card debts after divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediator; California Divorce MediatorsYou have divorced your partner but you may still have to take certain additional steps to ensure your financial stability. If you and your former spouse held joint credit cards before your divorce, ditching debts can be a difficult proposition. It should be understood that a credit card company is not bound by any kind of divorce decrees. Hence, they can be after you for debts that are jointly incurred in case you ex spouse fails to pay. That is precisely the reason why any Orange County divorce lawyer, credit counselor or financial planner may suggest you to end your marriage without any kind of joint debt. Now, this can be done by opting to pay off your joint cards together. Alternatively, the debt in incurred on your joint credit card can be split and then transferred to the card in the name of each partner. The aim for this step is to ensure that all your liabilities are removed for the debts incurred by your partner. Make sure to inventory the wallet you hold and ensure the cancellation of all the joint credit cards during your divorce process.

It can be extremely painful to go through the consequences of stepping into your new life with previous jointly held debts. If your former spouse refuses to pay whatever he or she was supposed to pay or files for bankruptcy, the creditors may be after you to realize the entire debt amount along with penalties and interests. As a precautionary step in this direction, you may include additional provisions into your divorce agreement so that your former spouse has to pay up. However, knocking the doors of the court can be both time-consuming and costly.

Here are the basics

Typically, any debt that is incurred during a marriage is the combined responsibility of both the parties provided they have been co-signers on those credit cards. On the other hand, in case the credit card is in the name of only one spouse and the other partner has been named as an additional cardholder, the latter cannot be held responsible. After the partners have got legally separated, any debt that has been incurred on a credit card is the sole liability of that spouse who made their purchases using the card,

What are the options before you?

You have various kinds of options to handle debts on a joint credit card. The one that you will employ depends on the nature of relationship you share with your ex spouse. A sure shot way to make sure that you don’t have to pay for those joint debts is to cancel all your joint cards. A second option for you could be to pay off all jointly incurred liabilities using your joint savings or joint assets such as a jointly owned property. In case you are not doing well financially, you can consult a good Orange County divorce attorney to assist you in figuring out the various options.

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

What To Know About Uncontested Divorces

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsToday, many couples prefer to go through an uncontested divorce due to features like ease and promptness. Unlike contested divorce that may go through a longer process of several hearings in the court before the divorce can be granted.

Why uncontested divorce may get rejected sometimes?

However, though uncontested divorce is mostly preferred as compared to long and bitter legal battles, it will be surprising for you to note that a large number of applications made for uncontested divorces get rejected every year. The key reason for the rejection is the fact that a majority of such applications do not satisfy the concerned authorities that the couple has agreed on all the important issues.

The key point of the legal process is to ensure that all the issues are amicably resolved as per the state’s law and both the partners get a just share of the assets as well as the liabilities.

It is natural that the spouses will have thorough knowledge about their domestic and financial arrangements. That is the reason for the family law experts to stress on the point that both the spouses should meet and resolve all the issues amicably. However, if there is lack of agreement on any of the crucial issues, it is impossible for the uncontested divorce to succeed. The judge will then issue a date for the case of contested divorce of the same couple.

Merits of uncontested divorce

A big benefit associated with an uncontested marriage is that it can save both time as well as money. There are many such scenarios when an uncontested divorce is faster and costs less than all other forms. The key savings that the petitioner enjoys is the legal fees that are a major cause of expenses in the case as there is no reason to hinder or delay the proceedings, the entire process can be completed with two to three months.

Another main benefit in the case of an uncontested marriage is related to the relationship shared by the spouses after their divorce. There are many such divorced couples who hold grudges against one another and are bitter against their ex. Many a times, such hard feelings may trigger other cases in the court even after the divorce comes through  for what they feel are injustices made against them with respect to the divorce settlements. However, in the case of an uncontested divorce, the couples part in an amicable manner according to agreed agreements on child custody, division of properties among others. So, there are fewer chances of such legal battles after the divorce.

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