The 3 Other Alternatives to a Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsAre you uncertain of whether you want to divorce your spouse or not? If it is so, you can relax since there are various other alternatives to a divorce, which you may consider. These are counseling, annulment, and separation.

Legal separation

If you opt for a legal separation from your spouse, your marriage does not end. However, it does make life easier to live away from your spouse when the situation is not right. You can also get a legal on ways of coping up with concerns such as child custody and finances while in a separation. There are a number of reasons why you and your spouse may want to opt for a legal separation. They include:

  • Not in favor divorce due to religious reasons
  • An effort to stay separately prior to going ahead with a return to your married life or a divorce.
  • Opting to separate till the time you satisfy the state’s requirements for divorce.

You need to understand that going for a legal separation does not mean your marriage has ended.

Moreover, such a state does not permit you to get married to another person. Legal separation is just a way for managing your child custody, finances as well as other relevant issues.

Counseling

When a married couple gets in touch with a mental health professional, clergy member or a counselor to get their concerns addressed, the process is called counseling. There are some widely-known reasons of divorces like communication gaps, financial differences and lack of physical intimacy that can be effectively sorted out with the help of a therapist sometimes. This is a good alternative when you want to remain with your spouse in the marriage.

Unlike a divorce, the couple remains married while the counseling process is on. Moreover, the said couple’s legal situations, childcare and financial situation also remain the same.

Annulment

It is a process that proves that the marriage did not exist from the very beginning.  You can annul your marriage for certain issues, which existed prior to your marriage. Such issues are now making your marriage invalid in the eyes of the law. Some of the potential causes for annulment could be polygamy, underage marriage, duress, and fraud.

Annulments can be distinguished from divorces as you may not be able to make claims for community property rights or spousal support, unless the other person qualifies as a “putative spouse” in California that could entitle that person to obtain such rights as if they were a legal spouse.

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

Ways To Be Happy Even During Divorce Proceedings

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsA divorce can be a catastrophic experience, so being happy while the divorce proceeding is going on may seem a paradox. After all, isn’t a divorce associated with heartbreak, anguish, fear, anger, and confusion? But, it is in your hand to control your negative emotions during this critical juncture of your life and nurture positive emotions within you.

Even when a divorce can be an intensely emotional process, it will do you good to go through a different set of emotions. It will give you the much-needed relief from sadness when you experience a loss of any kind in your life. A sure-shot technique to come out of your grief is to keep your body in motion. You can try out any kind of physical activity including riding in a swing in your nearby park. In fact, you can get the much-needed relief while taking a break from certain emotions in a conscious manner.

Ways of being happy even during stressful time 

  • Spend some time on a trail hiking

Give yourself time to take a long walk in the midst of nature or enjoy hiking with your friends. When you are in close contact with the earth, it empowers you with several qualities such as beauty, time, and certainty. All these qualities can be a big support for you when you are experiencing a deep sense of loss, particularly during your divorce. It is also important to keep an eye on your footing as well as observe the nature and scenic beauty around you. Such an act will definitely succeed in distracting your mind. It will lead to the reduction of stress and lift up your spirits.

  • Indulge yourself with some strength exercises regularly

If you brood too much during your divorce and be sad every day, it is difficult for your body to retain the ability to engage and contract muscles and strength. So, it is essential for you to take out some time and do some weight lifting, push-ups, and squats; in fact, any kind of physical activity to experience your outer and inner strength.

  • Be playful and happy go lucky

If you make it a habit to move in playful and natural ways, your heart can open up and your spirit will be lifted too. If you do not wish to use a swing in the nearby park, find out what activity can make you feel playful and relaxed. Once you find it, just do it. On certain occasions, you may go on a hiking expedition and yet the sadness is still within you. When you are playful though your heart is heavy, it can open the floodgate for a variety of emotions.

With passing time, you will realize that your sadness will also decrease. Precious moments such as being on a swing or in the midst of nature will be helpful in ebbing your sad energy.

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

Understanding The 3 Stages of Divorce Grief

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation lawyers; California Divorce MediatorsIrrespective of how you look at divorce, it is definitely a catastrophic event in one’s life. The emotion a spouse may go through is quite similar to the loss of a loved one or a severe illness. But despite that, it is imperative to learn ways of coping up with divorce grief and move on with life and have new goals and milestones for future instead of brooding on the past. Check out the following stages of divorce grief and how to handle them in your own way. Incidentally, these steps are similar to the ones a person should take to come out of the pain of losing a loved one.

Stage 1: Denial

The first thought that might have come to your mind when you hear your spouse wants a divorce is that how could he or she do it to you or this cannot be happening to you both. It is a phase in your life where the situation appears so grim and intense. As such, it becomes difficult for many to accept the news to be real. Such a mechanism of emotional survival may prevent one to get too overwhelmed while they are still unprepared to handle the current situation. But slowly, a spouse starts relaxing and accepting the bitter reality. He or she comes out of the fog of being in a denial mode and is capable to visualize situations in a realistic manner.

Stage 2: Fury

When your spouse confesses that he or she wants to split, you may go mad with fury. How could your spouse throw your marriage like this? And why should it be happening only to you? These are some of the questions that keep haunting you when anger overcomes all your other emotions. You start feeling the intense pain that now appears to be so real for you. If you have invested a lot in your marriage emotionally and have been extremely attached to your spouse until now, the pain and the hurt you are going through will be even deeper. Your fury may get diverted toward anyone who reminds you of the pain knowingly or unknowingly. While your ex may be at the receiving end of your fury, anyone else near you may also bead your wrath. You may even start snapping at your close friends and well-wishers.

Stage 3: Reflection 

It is a stage where you start introspecting and retrospection about your married life. You may feel that the divorce could have been averted had you been more affectionate and caring towards your spouse. You may even wish that you could make things right if you get one more chance. It is not unusual to find yourself blaming for certain things which you did.

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

8 Signs You Should Skip Mediation and Retain A Divorce Lawyer

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediationThere are many couples who want to legally separate or divorce from one another via mediation instead of opting for a litigation. These couples do not want to have animosity with their partners post the divorce. In such scenarios, experienced Orange County divorce mediators may be the people to contact. However, all couples may not be ideal for going through the mediation process. Check out those 8 signs that indicate that perhaps your marriage is not appropriate for divorce mediation.

1. Even if you do not win everything you would love to see your partner lose
In case your partner is hell bent in making your life worse by insisting that you cannot go on a holiday with the children while it is convenient, or disagrees to every suggestion you come up with just because they want to spoil your well-intended plans, the other party is not a good candidate to go for a mediation.

2. There is no intention to settle issues through mediation
Mediation can be a lengthy process that may work against a spouse. After all, a mediator cannot force both the parties to do something. There are a few unscrupulous folks who often use the process to avoid paying support. If your ex is such a person, it is better to approach the court first and then try out mediation at a later stage.

3. When a person is in a hurry
As mentioned above, mediation may not be a speedy process. So, if a couple is in a hurry to resolve matters quickly, then mediation is not recommended.

4. When the estranged couple has had a violent and stressed relationship

When the couple had an abusive relationship during their married life, they are not eligible candidates for mediation. In such cases, both parties may never see eye to eye on most matters, making things even worse.

5. Spouses are unable to advocate for them self
There are cases where one spouse appears as the dominating and aggressive while the other party is meek and submissive. Thus, the latter may not be in able to advocate for himself or herself even though there are many issues that should be discussed in the best interests of their kids.

6. A party may not wish to be good with the other party even though the latter feels otherwise
The success of a mediation process depends on both the parties wishing one another well even if they are not on the best of terms with one another. They need to compromise at times and understand the perspective of each other. If they are not willing to listen to one another, mediation may not work out.

7. One party is not ready to see the other’s viewpoint
Although a spouse may be open-minded about several things, they may still feel that their version is the only real version. It is particularly true at this crucial juncture of their life. When both the parties are not ready to accept both their versions can co-exist, mediation may not be an ideal process for them.

8. One party is affluent and just want to dwindle their money
There are some people who joke that having too much money is not an ideal state to be in while undergoing a divorce. A lawyer can give false hopes that if they approach a court, the judge may take their side.

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

Factors Considered In Granting Grandparent Custody & Visitation Rights

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Grandparent Rights California; California Divorce MediatorsThe laws for visitation rights of the grandparents may vary from state to state. Over the years, decisions taken by the courts have undergone a lot of changes. Thus, each state has a different set of laws and rules.

Grandparents are only awarded visitation rights when specific conditions laid down by the court are adhered to. Conditions to get custody rights for the grandparents may vary from that of visitation rights. As grandparents, you should be aware of the conditions applicable for visitation or custody prior to deciding if you should file your petition to request for the same.

Court will keep the interests of the kid in mind

A court has to consider what is best for the child while awarding visitation or custody rights to the grandparents. There are many states where the law mentions all those factors a court should assess while deciding the best interests of the child or children in question. Even in States where such factors are not listed, courts try to identify the factors in visitation and custody cases by interpreting the available state laws. Here are some of the factors, which ascertain what should be done in the best interests of a kid based on case laws and applicable state laws.

  • The ability of the grandparents and/or parents to satisfy the requirements of the kid
  • Need of the kid such as the emotional and physical health, safety of the kid in question and their welfare
  • The desires of the grandparent(s) and the parent(s)
  • The desires of the kid in question in case he or she can take that decision
  • How close the bond is between the grandchild and grandparent(s)
  • Evidence of neglect or abuse by the grandparent(s) or parent(s)
  • Duration of relationship between the grandchild and the grandparent(s)
  • Evidence of substance abuse by the grandparent(s) or the parent(s)
  • Ability of the child to adapt to the community, school or home
  • Distance between the location of the grandparent(s) or the parent(s) and that of the kid
  • Ability of the grandparent(s) or the patent(s) to shower the kid with affection and love

Is the biological parent abusive?

In case a grandparent can furnish necessary proof that the child’s parent is in poor condition, abusive or is incapable, a court can give permissive or even permanent custody rights to the child’s grandparents.

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

Understanding The California Domestic Partnership Law

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Gay marriage and domestic partnership attorneys in Los Angeles Orange County California; California Divorce AttorneysThe California Domestic Partnership Law was cemented by Assembly Bill 2015. The bill states that registered domestic partners will have equal rights, benefits and protections like spouses. They will also be subjected to same responsibilities, duties and obligations under the California state law, independent of these deriving from statutes, court rules and administrative positions or other law sources or provisions. Such protections will be applied from the date the couple registers themselves as domestic partners within the State of  California. These advantages cannot be enjoyed if they move out of California.

Eligibility

The couple must meet a few criteria to get registered in a domestic partnership. First and foremost is that they should live in the same residence. No person in the couple could be married to a third person or be engaged in a domestic partnership with another person. The couple should not be blood related in a manner which will prevent their marriage. Both members of the couple must attain a minimum age of 18 years. The two must be capable of providing consent to domestic partnership. Eligibility conditions specify either both persons be of same sex or one of them or both must be aged 62 years or above.

Domestic partnership registration

Couples must download the domestic partnership declaration form from the California Secretary of State website. Alternatively, the form can be had at the office of any country registrar. It is available at any of the many offices of California Secretary of State. It is required that both parties should sign form in presence of notary. The form must be notarized. It should then be mailed to the Secretary of State office with the needed fee. When you sign the form, you must inform your mailing address. You should also attest to meeting all requirements of having a domestic partner. You also consent to have the case dealing with yourself in any California court in case you will go to the court for partnership dissolution or separation. This is applicable even if both members of the couple do not reside in California.

Any couple who have registered as a domestic partner before January 1,2005 with State of California will automatically gain new responsibilities and rights as offered by the bill. In short, if the couple have not terminated relationship before January 1, 2005, they will now be subjected to the same responsibilities and rights offered by the bill.

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

3 Tips on Effective Co-Parenting After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County Divorce Mediators; California Divorce MediatorsIt is not easy to be a co-parent, especially after you have split from your spouse and your relationship with your former partner is strained. You may have apprehensions about the parenting abilities of your ex-spouse, worried about your child support or stressed about some issues. You could also be tired of the ongoing conflict and feel that all that animosity between you and ex-partner will never disappear.

However, when you co-parent in an amicable manner with your former spouse, you can provide security, the close relationship with your kids with both their parents and stability that they require. It is for the well-being of your children that there will be a possibility to overcome the challenges associated with co-parenting and build up a cordial and working association with your ex-spouse. These tips will help you to resolve conflicts on contentious issues, be consistent and remain calm so that the custody and parenting schedule with your ex-spouse works well and your children feel secure and happy.

Tip 1: Keep your anger and animosity aside

If you want to enjoy a fruitful co-parenting experience, you need to have a check on your emotions. This means that you should keep your hurt, resentment, and anger at bay for fulfilling the needs of your kids. It is true that keeping such emotions at a distance could be the toughest part to work towards a good working relationship with your former husband but nevertheless, it is an extremely important one. Being successful as co-parents are opposed how you or your ex-spouse may feel about one another. Rather it is all about the future well-being, stability, and happiness of your kid. Avoid putting your kids in between. It is highly possible that you may not lose all the bitterness or anger about your divorce ever. However, the best technique will be to compartmentalize your emotions and keep telling yourself that these are your concerns but not your kid’s; you should ensure that the issues you have with your ex-are kept away from the kids.

Tip 2: Try To improve your communication with your ex

Meaningful, consistent and peaceful communication with your former partner is a must for making your co-parenting click, although they may not appear to be possible. However, everything starts with your mindset. You need to remind yourself that the peaceful communication between both of you can be highly needed for the well-being of your child. Prior to getting in touch with your ex, introspect how your discussion could affect your kid and make a resolution to conduct yourself in a dignified manner. The key point of every talk that you have with your ex should revolve around your kid. You need to also note in this context that meeting your former spouse physically may not be essential always. You can speak to him or her over the phone, exchange messages, emails or texts on a majority of the occasions.

Tip 3: You need to co-parent as a single team

Being a good parent also involves having frequent decisions with your ex-irrespective of what you feel about one another. When you communicate and cooperate with one another without bickering or hurting one another, making decisions become much easier and simpler on everyone. When both of you work together as a team, decision-making with respect to your child becomes quite easy.

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

Dealing With Divorce Involving A Special Needs Child

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediation Orange County; California Divorce MediationWhen you have a kid with special needs, there could be special issues in your divorce. Hence, when you visit your divorce lawyer, you should describe the facts to him or her clearly and accurately as it will be a different divorce altogether.

Implication of divorces involving special needs children 

If it is a divorce pertaining to special-needs then your lawyer may require specialized understanding, specialized details, external experts and a distinct discovery process. When you do not furnish all the requirements to the lawyer or not procure all the information that will be needed for your divorce since you are unaware of the requirements, there can be severe repercussions for your child or your entire family.

Questions your lawyer may ask you

How can the needs of a special child affect the co-parenting and custodial arrangements that are being contemplated? After all, a standard parenting plan can be quite inadequate. How much amount the other parent should pay for the support of such a child? Do the parents know how long the support should be paid since the child may not be self-supporting ever? Does the spouse need to purchase additional life insurance in such circumstances? If so, then how much and for what duration? How does your lawyer ascertain whether there are special requirements in reality or not when one of the parties say there are while the other parent goes on claiming that the kid is just doing fine.

Your divorce lawyer may conduct a fact-finding exercise while conducting the first interview for you. In fact, it can be a different exercise altogether as compared to the way they deal with their other divorce clients.

Some of the questions they may ask you are as follows:

  • Has there been a formal diagnosis?
  • Do both the parties agree with that diagnosis?
  • Who made such a diagnosis?
  • What kind of testing has been done and by whom?
  • Does your kid have an IEP?
  • Do any special financial requirements exist?
  • Is your child’s condition treatable, curable or is it a terminal one?
  • Does the state or a private insurance company reimburse additional and special expenses?
  • Are these expenses non-recurring, recurring or ongoing?
  • What is the daily schedule of your child?
  • Do you think any such expenses will occur in future that is not being incurred now?
  • Are there expenses related to the child’s medications?
  • Does your kid have problems with transitioning between two different environments?
  • Are there any special dietary requirements?
  • Does one of the parents need to undergo excess time commitment or any kind of special training as compared to the other parent?
  • Is your kid with special needs affecting the other kids in the family who do not have special needs?

Depending on the severity of the child’s special needs, there may be a need for adult child support beyond them reaching the age of majority (age 18), so it is important to address this issue in the divorce judgment that may include having the child formally assessed as to abilities to work and live on their own before the child turns 18.

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

4 Ways to Heal Emotionally After A Later Life Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce can be a traumatic and emotionally scarring experience, a gray divorce even more so. Have you recently gone through a gray divorce or are in the process of getting one? Are you struggling to cope with the emotional and psychological stress of a gray divorce? Do you want to know about coping mechanisms and ways to be happy again after the divorce?

What is a gray divorce? 

To begin with, you need to understand the concept of a gray divorce and how it is different from other divorces. When older couples over 50 years of age who have been married for many years or even decades divorce, it is called a gray divorce. This is become a phenomenon now that a greater number of older couples than before are going through divorces and choosing to lead separate lives.

Older couples are better off than young couples during and after divorce because they are usually better off financially and have adult children which does away with the need for custody rights. However, divorce can take a bigger toll on older couples who have been together a long time or when there are a lot of property- and finance-related disputes during divorce proceedings.

Healing emotionally from a gray divorce 

It can be extremely difficult for older people to heal emotionally after a divorce, especially if the divorce has been messy and complicated. Here are a few tips that can help emotional healing:

  • It is important to accept that you are divorced and not to fight the reality of the fact. Acceptance is the first step to healing emotionally from the trauma and sadness of separation.
  • You can join a support group for older divorcees if you are struggling to cope with the divorce alone.
  • Alternatively, you can join groups that cater to single older people and be a part of various activities like road trips, events, meet-ups, and even dating.
  • Indulging in activities that you enjoy, be it painting, traveling, reading, or anything else, can be highly rewarding and can help cope with divorce and the myriad emotions that accompany it.

It is important to remember that you are important and you need to love yourself and stop blaming yourself for the divorce, especially if there was no cheating and other immoral activities involved in the divorce. You deserve to be happy even if you are divorced and understanding and accepting this can help you heal emotionally.

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

Ways to Take Charge In Your Divorce Process

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsHave you wondered what your first step should be when your spouse tells you that he or she wants a divorce from you?

Managing your emotions should be the first and most important step to start your divorce process

The first thing you should do is to have a grip on your emotions. When you are furious, be cautious of not letting that anger create a scary and hostile environment for your children. Use your anger as a positive energy to channelize it toward taking constructive actions toward freedom. When you feel depressed about losing your spouse forever, fetch for the help or support you may require. If you feel anxious about your future, you should take meaningful steps to create a secure one.

Your next step should be to educate yourself. It is time for you to learn about your choices as it can help you to realize that you may have some sort of a control mechanism in place over what may happen. Several good divorce lawyers and professional mediators have plenty of free and relevant information put on their web portals.

A divorce can have an effect on various aspects of your life. Some of them include your legal responsibilities and rights with respect to your ex or spouse, your children, long-term as well as short-time financial security, your job, your relationships, your soul and your emotions. You need to take proper care of yourself since you are going through an emotional roller-coaster ride during your divorce or separation period. It makes sense to give some time to yourself and grieve about your tremendous loss. But start thinking about how to build your future too.

Gather your divorce team

Following is a list of all those people who you may like to have in your divorce team. Although it may look like a long list, you may need only some of them based on your unique situation.

  • A good divorce lawyer who can guide you about what your legal responsibilities and rights are. They can also represent you in the court if required
  • A reputable life coach specializing in the field of divorce
  • A therapist or a counselor when you are going through emotional turmoil and distress
  • A professional mediator who tries to help both your spouse and you to negotiate in an unbiased manner but effectively and constructively
  • A therapist for your children so that they can speak freely to someone outside their family
  • A dear friend who is always there beside you are is willing to listen to your worries and concerns
  • A certified financial advisor specializing in divorce matters so that you get professional help in understanding your various liabilities, income, assets as well as expenses
  • Real estate agent in case you are planning to purchase a different house or sell your present home

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.