The Effect of Divorce on Immigration Status

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Riverside divorce lawyers; California Divorce MediatorsSo, you are not from the U.S. but getting divorced? It could be a big problem because it could affect your immigration status unless you are already an U.S. citizen.

There are many questions which people ask during a divorce. One important question is the question of green card and immigration status. If you are in the process of getting your green card but are also getting divorced, what then? Will your application be rejected?

Divorce effect on conditional permanent residence

You receive a conditional permanent residence when, the time of admission, you have been married for not more than two years. If you want to attain permanent residency, then you have to apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before the second year of your immigration admission. If, at the time of application, you are still married then you will become a permanent resident. But if your marriage fails then you can be liable for deportation.

Immigration applications after a divorce

There are strong laws that govern the status of an immigrant during a divorce proceeding. If you or your spouse are both immigrants, then you need to first get permanent residential status before you can get married on U.S. soil. If one of you is a U.S. citizen, then it becomes easier for the other to become a permanent resident.  In the case of a divorce, if you are still an immigrant when you filed for your divorce, chances are your residency status will be terminated and you will be sent back to your home country. But if you are separated and not yet divorced then the situation is not that grim. Because you are still legally married to one another, the court will strongly consider this fact.

Staying in the U.S. after a divorce

In case you choose not to withdraw your immigration application, you can be granted conditional residency. But it all depends on which state you are in and what the state laws say. The conditional residency is possible through a waiver.

If your marriage was based on good faith, you might not get that green card you applied for but you might get a conditional residency. For getting a green you must have stayed in the U.S. for a certain amount of time or have married an U.S. citizen. Situations are not always bad. It depends partly on your luck and partly on state laws.

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

How To Make Joint Custody Work

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediation Orange County; California Divorce MediationIf you are recently divorced and have joint custody of your children with your former spouse, then things could get a bit tricky. However, there is no reason that you cannot have a good, equitable co-parenting relationship with your former spouse for the benefit of your children. By taking decisions together, presenting a united front, and managing schedules well, you and your ex-partner can actually make joint custody work amazingly well. Here are a few things that can help when you share custody of your child.

  1. Remember that your child comes first, always

After a recent divorce, it can be hard to put animosity aside, but it is necessary that you do so if you have joint custody of your child with your former spouse. Remember, a bad spouse does not make a bad parent, and making your child the central feature of all your discussions with your former spouse can help you keep animosity at bay and really concentrate on what matters. Make sure you communicate openly with both your child and your former spouse, and never undermine your former spouse’s parenting skills in front of your child. That said, you should actively expect the same consideration from your former spouse.

  1. Make the schedule work

When setting up a schedule, there are important things both you and your former spouse need to disclose. You need to take all of your commitments into consideration before coming up with a schedule. Discuss and share holidays, school breaks, weekends, birthdays, and more beforehand to avoid unpleasantness down the road. If your child is old enough, involve them in the process. Always make sure that both of you schedule around your child’s schedule. The less disruption there is to your child’s established schedule, the better.

  1. Leave room for change, and review the agreement periodically

This can be difficult to do when coming up with a custody agreement, but it is very important. Leaving room for flexibility can greatly benefit you and your child in the long run. Discuss what happens if either parent has to leave town due to an emergency or difficult career changes cause issues. Be open to changing the agreement when required to ensure that your child gets adequate attention from both parents.

Reviewing the agreement periodically not only lets you form a stronger co-parenting bond with your former spouse but also lets you look realistically at obligations and commitments that both of you have. Age-related adjustments are frequently required, as a custody agreement that benefits your child at age 4 might not necessarily do so at age 10. Make these adjustments as and when needed with your lawyers or mediators.

Remember, having joint custody is an arrangement that can work out well for your child. It can make them feel loved, and secure in their relationships with both parents. Therefore, it behooves both you and your former spouse to make the agreement as beneficial as possible for your child. With a little bit of work, joint custody can be good for everyone involved.

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

Legal Protection for Single Parents in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediation Orange County; California Divorce MediationThe most common cases in the Orange County family law courts tend to involve married couples, i.e. husband and wives. There are, however, times when a case is a little different and is likely to involve single parents. The way the law in Orange County operates with respect to single parents can be a bit different from the way it works when dealing with married couples. In most states, the rights of the single parents, especially of the father, are a bare minimum unless they decide to ask for them.

The basis of California law in terms of single parents is that a single parent, i.e. the father, needs to prove that he is the father, as opposed to the vice versa assumption in the couple’s cases. This article will highlight the key aspects of the California law with respect to single parents, thus highlighting the legal path they can adopt to seek legal protection and rights.

The Automatic Custody of the Child is with the Mother, Pending Establishment of Paternity

There is seldom a doubt regarding the identity of the child’s mother. This is because the mother is the one who gives birth and the hospital records etc. make it impossible to doubt that. In family law, a single parent mother will have what amounts to de facto physical and legal custody of the child from the day of the birth of the child, until the paternity is determined, i.e. that the father of the child is in fact the biological father, which is generally determined by genetic DNA testing.  What is important to understand is that when married couples have a child, there is a legal presumption that the husband and wife are the biological parents of the child.  When couples have a child but are not married, there is no legal presumption that the father is in fact the biological father of the child, and that can only be established by either genetic DNA testing or by stipulation of both parties that the father is in fact the biological father of the child.

The Father Must Prove He is the Father

Again, any child that is born out of wedlock means that the mother is the custodial parent, and the father has to take two major legal steps to have some degree of authority or control over his child’s life. The first step is that he needs to prove that he is the rightful father in terms of biology. The second aspect is to go to the court or an Orange County mediator to get custody or visitation of their child. Paternity can be proved by the father signing the acknowledgment form and the mother signing it too or by petitioning in the court and asking for a paternity test to settle the issue.

A Proven Father Generally Must Support The Child

Once the paternity is proven or acknowledged, the father now will have the same rights as a married father would have, but that also means that the father could be expected to pay child support depending on the income of the parties and percentage of custodial time that each party has as determined by the court.  These funds are going to be given to the mother and the amount can be decided mutually through Orange County divorce mediation or by Orange County family law proceedings.

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

How Child Custody Law Works In California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen couples decide to get divorced, the possession of the child (or children) is one of the most important and hotly contested matters. This is testament to the importance of children in one’s family.

The intention at the core of California child custody law has always been and continues to be the safeguarding of the best interest of the child. As mentioned in the introduction, the importance of a child cannot be forgotten, and that is exactly why the laws with regards to child custody set out to protect them and safeguard their rights. This aim to protect the child is once again at the core of the decision making by the judge in such cases. Primarily, the decision of the judge depends on the thing that is best for the child principle.

What Do the Courts Consider When Deciding Orange County Child Custody Cases?

  • The preference of the child considering they are of the age 14 or above
  • The gender, the stage of development the child is currently at, and the age of the child.
  • The needs of the child in terms of the educational, emotional and social aspects.
  • The traits of the parents, especially with regards to drug, sexual, child, emotional or alcohol abuse.
  • The psychological state of each parent and their ability for parenting
  • The cooperation and communication levels that exist between the parents.
  • The type of the relationship that exists between the parent and the child
  • Cultural considerations

How will the Temporary Orders be Decided?

There are three primary ways that an Orange County family law Judge can adopt to reach their temporary orders.

1.      Simply Agreeing On The Agreement Reached By The Parents

This is the most used way of deciding temporary orders. Both the child’s parents may have already come to an agreement before the court proceeding and drawn up an agreement. In such a case, the judge is likely to only endorse the agreement and make it legal.  Resolving child custody in divorce mediation or child custody mediation is often the best method compared to the cost, stress, and uncertainty of litigation.

2.      By Investigation

In some rare cases where the court wants to have further investigation done in matters related to the case, they are likely to ask the minor’s counsel and a private child custody evaluator, often referred to as a “730 Evaluation” to obtain up more information before the Judge makes the decision.

3.      By Formal Hearing

This is the common court route. The court is likely to hear out both the spouses and their counsel. It will also take into consideration each and every detail and evidence that they provide and it deemed relevant for the case before making a decision.

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

Is Mandated and Private Divorce Mediation Different?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce is not a decision couples take in the best of their times. Any decision of divorce involves loads of bitterness and hurt behind it. Divorce is one of the most important decisions in a person’s life and in addition to the importance of the decision, the way the couple separates is also an important consideration. Contrary to popular belief, the decision to separate leaves the couples with a host of options to choose their mode of a divorce other than simply retaining attorneys and fighting it out in court.  The parties can seek private divorce mediation, but the California family courts mandate child custody mediation prior to most custody court proceedings.

Mandated Child Custody Mediation

It is often misunderstood that when couples go through the family law courts, there is little or no chance of mediation. This, however, is far from the truth. In reality, when couples start to go through child custody court proceedings, irrespective of their legal positions, the first thing that courts require them to do is go through mandated custody mediation.

In mandated mediation, the couples are presented in front of a court assigned mediator who reviews the custody case, its facts, and questions the couple on their positions. The job of this mandated mediator is to allow the couples a chance to sort their custody issues.

Private Divorce Mediation

This form of mediation is the most-commonly used mediation. The key to this type of mediation is that it is flexible in terms of time, place, and the format of mediation. The lack of time bar on this type of mediation allows the couple to have a greater amount of time to effectively discuss their issues in depth and in detail to allow the issues to be ironed out.

The key to Orange County divorce mediation is the role of the mediator in this type of mediation. Unlike the role of the mediator in mandated mediation, an Orange County divorce mediator only facilitates the couples to try and sort their issues out and doesn’t really take part in questions and answers with the clients. One of the most important things that make this type of mediation more potent than mandated mediation is the legally binding authority it has. Divorce mediation agreements can be enforced through the use of courts.

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