Practical Tips On How To Separate From Your Spouse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsGoing through a legal separation can be an emotionally taxing time for both the partners. Often a spouse may feel unsure about whether they can save their marriage or not. More importantly, a big doubt is whether your spouse will be interested to save your marriage or not. There are several practical considerations the affected couple should also take care of. It makes sense to deal with the separation’s practical side as quickly as possible so that they can get more emotional and mental space for processing your needs and feelings.

There are several cases where irrespective of how much a couple tries, their marriage appears to be doomed. It is possible that a couple has already tried to talk it out. They could have even visited a professional therapist or have gone for individual counseling. It is possible at times that a couple has reached that stage in their life where they opt for a legal separation as the final attempt to check out whether their marriage can be restored or not prior to taking the final call to end it.

When you follow these practical tips to separate from your husband or wife, your road ahead can ultimately be smoother.

Think about your properties 

When a couple is married, they could own plenty of shared assets. A pertinent question in this juncture is what should now happen to all the shared possessions.

You can begin the process of splitting with big items like a car that could be jointly owned by both of you and furniture. It is important to know which spouse will be keeping what and is entitled to what.

Make sure your finances are in proper order

Finances can be entangled when you are married. In case you have got a joint mortgage, lease, and a joint account in the bank and shared assets like investments, there should be a proper plan on what to do in the beginning of your legal separation. To begin with you should have your individual bank account. Make sure that your monthly salary check gets deposited in your personal saving account. It is important to check that you do not end up paying obnoxiously high shared bills. Your finances should be put in order prior to separating.

Think about where you will stay

Several couples experience that living together under the same roof while legally separated is not practical at all. After all, the main aim of a legal separation is to stay apart from your spouse for some time and see how your relationship works out at the end of the separation period. It is tough to accomplish this aim if both of you stay in the same house during your separation. Hence, it is important to think about where you will stay during the separation period.

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

How Is Alimony Calculated In California?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsIn California, the term alimony is referred to as “spousal support.” A court in California may order the higher earner between the couple irrespective of the gender to pay the other party so that the latter can maintain the same lifestyle for a specific time period when they want to end the marriage permanently. However, the law in the state of California also prescribe the a court needs to review several factors to determine and award permanent spousal support to the lower earning spouse. The court enjoys the final discretion to settle alimony matters. An Orange County divorce lawyer can play a crucial role to furnish evidence of all those factors that come under review.

Duration of alimony in California

How long a spouse will be awarded with a spousal support is frequently linked to the duration for which the parties were married. When a couple has been married for less than a decade (10 years), a judge will typically not award spousal support for more than 50 percent of the marriage length. On the other hand, when the parties have been married for a minimum of ten years or more, the court may not dictate a specific date of termination for spousal support when the couple gets married. However, both the parties have the liberty to request for changes time and again till the time they specifically give a nod to the date of termination or when the judge explicitly terminates the alimony at a hearing later on.

Spousal support calculation in California

According to the law of California. the aim of awarding spousal support temporarily is to maintain the financial status quo as much as possible, It is at the discretion of a court to direct temporary alimony after reviewing the requirements of the party requesting the same as well as the ability of the other spouse to pay.

If there are dependent kids in a marriage, the parents can get an estimate of what the amount for temporary alimony may look like apart from the payments for child support. These are done according to stringent guidelines and by using the child support calculator available at the state’s department of child support.

The key aim of spousal support after the divorce gets finalized is to offer help to the supported spouse so that they can maintain a living standard almost same as the one they had while being married. A court in California will assess the degree to which the earning capacity of each spouse is adequate to continue the same marital living standard. While doing so, the court may consider the following factors:

  1. The degree to which the future or present earning ability of the supported spouse has got impaired due to their domestic responsibilities
  2. Any expenses or time needed by the supported spouse to get training or education to get a job or improve the chance of employability
  3. The kind of marketable skills needed by the supported spouse
  4. Potential job marketability for such skills

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

How Divorce Mediation Is A Prototype For Positive Co-Parenting

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsMost marriages don’t end at the point of physical separation of the two partners, but were most likely dying slowly for a few years before that. In many cases by the time spouses actually separate and file for divorce there are already a lot of negative feelings for each other. When separating couples find it hard to agree on anything and hostilities run high it would be wise to hire a divorce mediator.

While having a divorce mediator is a good idea for the smooth progress of a divorce it is even more important when children are involved. Parents who are going through their own share of trials during a divorce can often overlook the impact the process is having on their children. Having a divorce mediator gives room for an objective third party to step in and provide constructive solutions which is in the best interest of all involved.

The Advantages Of Hiring A Divorce Mediator   

  1. You and your spouse can sit down together with the mediator and decide on the terms of your divorce. A meeting like this gives you the space to discuss issues like property division, paying off of debt, etc. and find workable solutions that you both agree on.
  1. Together you can both work out a plan for custody rights and parenting of your children. Decisions like whether you will co-parent or one parent gets full custody while the other gets visitation rights, can be taken with both your cooperation.
  1. If you decide to co-parent, together you can make a road-map for how things will proceed from this point on. Many points like how the child or children’s time is distributed between both parents, who gets what duties and what to do in emergency situations can be discussed.
  1. Any roadblocks that come up during the meeting can be arbitrated by the mediator and a solution can be found peacefully.

How Divorce Mediation Helps Co-Parenting 

When you consider all the points mentioned above, you also see that having a divorce mediator trains you to work as a team. Co-parenting requires teamwork and learning to cooperate with your former spouse peacefully is invaluable to the emotional and physical well-being of the children.

We offer divorce lawyer and divorce mediator services in Orange County, CA. Our practice is based on California specific divorce laws and we follow all the requirements put forward by the state. Our divorce mediator services have facilitated the amicable divorce of several couples and created a smooth transaction for the children.

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

What To Think About When Reconciling After Legal Separation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsOn certain occasions, some couples do regroup and reconcile after their legal separation. Contrary to what many people would like to believe, survival from a separation is not an accidental case. But spouses who do succeed in overcoming their discord after a separation are known to exhibit certain behaviors to make sure that their marriages are intact.

What should you do to get back together after your legal separation? 

The couples must ensure that there is complete transparency in their relationship if they are really serious about reconciliation after their temporary break-up. When there is erosion in the trust factor, transparency can act as a balm. Try to be open about the finances, schedules and personal habits so that some that lost trust factor can be replaced by your relationship. You should also note that coaching is a great idea. When you have professional experts or a good support system in your life that can help you out with your emotions, you can benefit to a great extent. It is also imperative for you to be completely honest with yourself by asking certain tough questions. So think carefully about the answers for the following questions prior to reconciliation:

  • Was it your partner who had ended the relationship of did you do it? Did both of you get an opportunity to have a heart to heart discussion on what could have gone wrong in your marriage during your legal separation? In case the answer is in negative, it is high time that you engage in an honest and open dialogue with one another.
  • Did you know the events in your partner’s life while both of you were separated?
  • Has there been a change in you or your partner’s nature since the end of your relationship? In case the reply is in affirmative, what and how did that change take place? Did such changes bring both of you closer or widened the gap?
  • Can your relationship get affected through certain other crucial factors in case both of you decide to get back together in the future?

You should generally give a chance for reconciliation

When there is a space between you and your partner albeit temporarily in the form of a separation, it shows you what is important and what should not matter to both of you. When you are focused on giving a second chance to your marriage and your partner is also on the same page, you should give a sincere chance to reconciliation.

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

What To Know About California Child Support

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsChild support is money which any court orders both parents or any one parent to pay to assist in paying for child (or children) support and the latter’s living expenses. The amount must be paid every month. Every California county has a family law facilitator to assist you for such activities. These services can be had for free. The facilitator helps in a number of ways like preparing the forms and explaining the procedures of the court for obtaining and changing the child support orders. The person concerned will also help in calculating total child support using guidelines and explain how the court arrives at the child support decisions.

Parent guide

A child support agency is present in every California county to assist you when it comes to getting, collecting and changing child support activities.  Courts in California must order the child support amount as determined by child support guideline. The only exception is that if a particular case fits one of few legal exceptions linked to the rule. One exception is that parties consent to an amount which is different from guidelines related to child support. The solution, however, must meet certain tests.

Non-guideline support

Most parents can consent to “non-guideline” support of both know fully their rights to support the child. They should also know the guideline support amount of the child. Parents must not be forced or pressured to give consent to the child support amount. This is applicable if parents do not receive public assistance or have not made any application for any public assistance. They have also consented to monetary support to meet the needs of the children.

The parents can agree to any child support order based on this guideline. The couple, by signing on a particular written agreement for guideline amount, have no need to visit a judge so that the latter can make a decision on child support. The agreement musty be submitted to court clerk for the judge to sign. Only after signing that it could be enforced as a court order.

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

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:


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.


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.


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