Legal Separation Agreement Have These Financial Benefits

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsAre you having problems in your marriage and considering separating legally from your spouse? If it is so then you should ask your attorney to prepare a document for legal separation where both you and your spouse should sign to make it effective. But, it is important to note that legal separation is not recognized in all the states. The process will be smooth in those States that recognize it. If you are residing in a state that does not allow legal separation you can speak with an attorney who specializes in the local family law about what will be your choices in case you want to legally separate from your spouse. While in doing e States both the spouses can sign a separation agreement, which then becomes binding and legal.  However, there are states where the court will only recognize an agreement after the beginning of the divorce process.

To put it simply, when your legal separation document is filed with a local court, it serves as your first line of defense while both of you are legally separated and when your spouse does not fulfill his or her obligations mentioned in that agreement.

To claim deduction for spousal support paid

When you are paying spousal support to your partner, you can only claim the amount for a tax deduction if such payments are mentioned in your legal separation agreement. When you live separately without any legal separation document, any money that you pay to your spouse will not get deducted while filing your returns. If your state does not recognize legal separation, you can get in touch with a good tax attorney in your locality to know how to safeguard yourself in tax-related matters and if the money paid as spousal support could be claimed during tax deduction.

Your legal separation agreement also allows you to retain some benefits that enjoyed while being married

Suppose you are a spouse whose name is included in the health insurance plan of your spouse. It can be mentioned in the legal separation document that such benefits are to continue even while you live separately. When the incomes of both the spouses are used for making bill payments during their marriage, the agreement can mention if such an arrangement will continue. In case it discontinues, the agreement can also outline who will pay those bills now.

When both of you own a home, the agreement can outline who will be accountable for paying what

There are various issues that come up while maintaining a home like maintenance lawn cars, mortgage payments, and utilities. A legal separation document can outline which spouse will pay for what?

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

Modifying Spousal Support Orders

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County spousal support; California Divorce MediatorsThere can be a number of reasons why both the domestic partners and spouses may require changing order post judgment.  In case this situation arises, you must show that there have been a change in the circumstances after the partner or spousal support was delivered. It means that something of significance have changed from the time the partner or spousal support order was delivered.

There could be a number of reasons as to why a support order should be changed. It can be that the partner or spouse which was getting the support no longer requires it. It could be also that the person paying the support has suffered considerable drop in his or her income and cannot support the quantum of money required for support. It may be that the partner or spouse who gets the support does not make the effort to be self-supporting- and the partner or spouse can request the court to end support order dependent on this premise. There could also be the cause of the partner or spouse remarrying and thus the support should be ended.

In case the domestic partners or spouses can reach the agreement for new amount of partner or spousal support, it can be possible to write this up as a kind of stipulation or agreement. The document can then be given to judge for the requisite signature and make it the new court order. If both the domestic partners and spouses cannot reach an agreement on this change, the partner or spouse who wants the change should file motion with court requesting a modification of the partner or spousal’s support amount.

Good reasons to ask for new court orders as soon as possible

In case there is a considerable change in factors which the judge regards as important when considering partner or spousal support, you must act quickly so that the partner or spousal support order can mirror the changes. Many people frequently wait when it comes to change this supporting order as they believe that the income drop or job loss is temporary. Other causes include stress and worry and their spousal support worries take a backseat. It may also occur that they are in a situation like prison where it can be extremely hard to file the court papers. It may also be that they believe it will be easy for them to change court orders later when they are less stressed or have plenty of time.

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

Division of Pension Plans In A Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsPension plans are usually divided in one of only two ways: “cash out” or by Qualified Domestic Relations orders (QDROs).  The latter is the most common way through which pension plans get handled. Under this scheme, it is ordered by the court that at the time of retirement of the employed spouse, the other one will be the recipient of a percentage of every pension check. This percentage is arrived at by dividing years when the spouses spent together in their once home as wife and husband by total number of all years when the spouse who is employed had participated in pension plan. The result amount of that division is community property percentage of pension plan. To give an example, if a husband has put in 20 years of his monetary contributions to a pension plan, and 10 of the coinciding years he lived with the wife, the share of the pension plan will be about 50 percent. In such a case, the wife will have 25 percent of the pension checks of the husband. 

Money plan 

As per reservation of jurisdiction, the spouse considered a non-employee could elect to receive her or his share of the pension benefits of the employee spouse at earliest time when the employed spouse will retire. It means that in the case of the employed spouse electing not to retire at earliest opportunity, that spouse must pay the non-employed spouse what the latter would have got in case the employed spouse would have retired. To give an example, if the husband becomes eligible to retire at 55, but elects not to retire in that age, his ex-wife could demand that he provides her the amount of money she would have received if he retired during that age. It is to be mentioned that in case the wife selects this option, she will not receive any increases due to higher cost of living after that date.

QDRO

The 1984 made Federal Retirement Equity Act created “Qualified Domestic Relations Order”. In this system, the court gives orders regarding the retirement plan of the spouse. The Federal law states that the employer must comply with the order terms.  The QDRO preparation is complicated and time consuming. It is also expensive. However, the QDRO is an essential step in dissolution process. A number of companies have been created for the sole aim of making them.

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

What Happens If You Fail To Disclose All Your Assets In A Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation lawyers; California Divorce MediatorsWhile you might find it tempting to conceal a certain part of your assets from your divorcing spouse, it is not really a good idea when it comes to legal implications of the same. Similarly, if in case you suspect that your partner is not providing complete disclosure of his or her assets for the purpose of distribution in a divorce, you must understand that the state laws of California stipulate stringent legal actions against such an act. When it comes to rectifying the omission of an asset disclosure, there are typically two aspects that are taken into consideration: the time of discovery and whether the omission was intentional or a mistake.

Asset omission through a mistake and discovered after the final court order

In case a spouse has inadvertently failed to make a complete disclosure of his/her assets, and it is discovered after the final judgment has been announced, the court has the right to alter the order and divide the asset as per the stipulates of the Californian State laws.

Intentional omission discovered before the final court order

Speaking of the obvious, an intentional concealment of an asset by a divorcing party is treated quite differently as in the case where the omission was an honest mistake. According to the Californian law, both the divorcing parties have the ‘fiduciary duty’ of serving a declaration of disclosure that contains all the information about their assets and debts to each other, failing which the guilty party will be faced with stringent corrective actions from the court of law. In some cases, an incomplete disclosure of an asset may also lead to the court ordering 100% ownership of the said asset to the other party involved.

Intentional omission discovered after the final court order

In the event that you discover an intentional un-disclosure of your spouse’s assets after the court has announced the judgment, the Californian law offers you the right to set aside the court order as ‘based on fraud’. In addition to this, you also have the right to file a tort action or the infringement of your rights, against your guilty partner.

The bottom line is that it is prudent to follow the laws of your state and provide proper disclosures of your assets and liabilities, in order to facilitate smooth and trouble free divorce proceedings. It is always advisable to be as transparent as possible in your case.

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

All You Need to Know About California Child Custody Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsThe Orange County Family Law local rules as well as the broader California laws require a mandatory child custody mediation to be set before a court hearing at which a court order or modification to an earlier court order pertaining to child custody and visitation take place.

Moreover, if a parent fails to turn up for a child custody mediation session without having valid reasons for his or her absence once or repeatedly, he or she may be prevented from being heard further on the issues of child custody and visitation. If it goes to the hearing stage, it may become extremely difficult for the absentee parent to explain their stand.

Custody issues are often the hardest to settle and can’t be settled under premarital agreement settlements since the right of a child belongs exclusively to the child themselves and their best interests would be held paramount by all courts.

Although a mediator can’t be decisions like a judge or an arbitrator, they can definitely propel the discussion between the two parties forward and create a peaceful environment under which discussions can be held, even for such spouses who have come out of an acrimonious relationship and don’t see eye to eye. A mediator plays a vital role and his intervention is often the only reason why a discussion goes forward.

How to prepare for child custody mediation 

In order to prepare for child custody mediation, try to gather as much evidence or relevant information about your child that would help you while presenting your side of the argument or making your proposals.

One important step is to understand your custody rights and obligations from an experienced and licensed attorney. You can also prepare and present a list of daily schedules for yourself and your child that would convey how emotionally and personally invested you are in the growth and welfare of your child.  You should also present your child custody and visitation proposal during the mediation process after taking advice from your attorney.

You will also need to come to an agreement with the other parent for deciding the scheduled visits and where to drop and pick up the child from and also special occasions or moments in the child’s life when they would expect both their parents to gather.

You may also do well to get an understanding of some commonly used legal phraseology or jargon that may be thrown around during the mediation discussions. Consult your attorney and prepare yourself accordingly.

In order to prepare for the child custody meetings, be honest and think, if you are really capable of taking care of your child. At all points, their interests will be to be kept in mind. Be compassionate towards the other party and you may be able to reach a mediation agreement regarding to your child easily.

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

How To Increase Visitation in Custody Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County child custody attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsDivorces can be hard for some parents especially when kids are involved. It becomes even more hard when the affected parent is the non-custodial parent. Staying away from the children can be mentally and physically daunting. Every parent wants to spend as much time as he/she can with their children. The custodial plan is made to ensure that the non-custodial parent gets to spend quality time with the kids.

One of the important parts of custodial plans is the parenting schedule. Sometimes, the time is so short, it really becomes difficult for the non-custodial parent to have quality time with his/her child. There are ways to change the custodial plan and increase parenting time.

Court Order

Courts can order a change in the visitation hours if it finds that the non-custodial parent deserves to spend more time with his/her children. A court will decide whether spending more time with the non-custodial parent is in the child’s best interests.

Violation of parental plan

If the custodial parent is deliberately trying to limit your visitation time or preventing you from seeing your children, you can use the evidence to increase your visitation hours. In some rare cases, it even leads to a change in custody.

Both of you are equally responsible for paying child care and if the case arises where you are paying more than you should, then naturally your visitation hours should also increase. You can build a case claiming that since you are paying the entire child support by yourself, you are eligible to be the custodial parent. But it may not work every time since there are many reasons why the custodial parent pays less than he/she should.

The custodial parent is the primary caretaker of the child and should provide basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. If in case, the custodial parent is unable to provide any of the basic needs, the custody of the child can be changed. Or the non-custodial parent can be granted more time that he/she can spend with the child.

Conclusion

Visiting hours helps non-custodial parents spend quality time with their children. However, the time can be increased if there is evidence that the given time is not enough for the non-custodial parent.

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

Tips On Co-Parenting After A Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation lawyers Orange County; 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 joint custody 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 mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

A Calm Mindset Is The Best Way To Get Divorced

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsThere are many emotions brought by a divorce. This is especially true when the couple has had a bad time in their marriage. It is normal to go through feelings such ad fear, fury, sadness, and anxiety. However, you need to remember that the degree of emotions will slowly subside with the passage of time. So, when you are undergoing a divorce process it is better to be calm. So do not get agitated as this would only spoil your health. Studies have shown that people who are composed during such times are better equipped to manage the difficulties that accompany a divorce process. Do not continue a blame game with your partner as nothing would come out of it eventually.

Stop being resentful

Divorce should not be looked upon as a means of settling scores or a way to take revenge against your spouse. If you regard the resolution of your marriage as a battle, there is a high possibility that the divorce process will be more expensive and time-consuming. It is recommended to go for divorce mediation so that you can avoid the long and tiring courtroom proceedings and end up hating one another even more. Studies have also proved that it can help to support the needs of the kids as well as getting emotional satisfaction.

Focus on a smooth split

In many cases, it is not unusual that you do not want to talk to your spouse from whom you intend to part soon. However, despite the ill-feelings, aim for a smooth split. Cooperation, as well as proper communication, will help in making the process healthier and less stressful for both the parties, Moreover when you seek the help of a psychologist and a divorce mediator, you and our estranged partner can avoid conflicts and bitterness.

Do not neglect your health

This is a phase when you must take good care of your health. Speak to your family and friends for comfort and support. Alternatively, the idea of joining a formal support group also makes sense as they help you to cope up with your pent up emotions. There are many people who begin a fresh chapter after their divorce by taking up new hobbies or indulging in activities they had not attempted before. Even you can start doing the same. Make sure to eat well and be physically fit. When the divorce gets nasty, your spouse and you start despising one another even more. Now, that is not good as you still have joint responsibilities as parents. So, try to be amicable while parting since it is good for your sanity, purse, and kids.

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

Mediation For Younger Couples Compared To Gray Couples

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce is a time of great hardship and both individuals have a hard time dealing with the reality. However, for some it is easier to accept the fact more than others. For young couples, who haven’t stayed married for a longer time, dealing with divorce is relatively easier than for gray couples. For gray couples, a divorce is more than just a physical separation from their partner. It is a new way of life and for some it can be very tough. Also, there is the question of property and asset separation which is more likely to be much more difficult for gray couples than for young couples.

Mediation is commonly used in divorce cases to ensure that the whole thing goes smoothly. But mediators might use different approach for young and gray couples because the issues are different.

Mediation for young couples

Lawyers who mediate young couples will often focus on the importance of marriage rather than a divorce. Often, mediators will offer couples to go for a separation instead. Since, the marriage period is small, a separation might help them understand what it means to stay apart from each other. Also, mediators will discuss the pros and cons of getting a divorce at an early stage. If the mediator becomes convinced that reconciliation is not possible, then he will focus on the advantages of getting a divorce. It is expected that younger couples won’t have children or much property and therefore, the divorce becomes much easier.

Mediation for gray couples

Gray couples have spent a longer time in marriage and their decision to divorce must be a strong one. However, mediators will often ask couples to reconsider the case and look for options to avoid a divorce. Most gray couples will have children and their assets and properties will also be huge. On top of that there will be the issue of taxes. So, overall, things like child custody, property division, alimony, tax and debt will play a major part in the divorce.

Conclusion

Mediation is important for every couple planning to get a divorce. However, not every couple will require the same type of mediation. For younger couples, the approach will be slightly different than it will be for gray couples. Things like huge assets, child custody, tax and debt won’t be a big issue for young couples as it will be for gray couples. Mediators must consider every factor before mediating.

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

Is Separation Good For Your Marriage?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorney Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsAre you and your spouse continuously at loggerheads with one another? If that is the case, you might have started wondering whether it will be good to separate from one another or not. However, the solution is not as simple as it first appears. It will depend on various factors in your married life and the present situation both of you is dealing with.

Is it the right time to separate from your spouse?

When both you and your spouse discover that staying in each other’s company continuously is causing friction and heated arguments, separation could be a good idea  to see if you can save your marriage. In all relationships, many people tend to be extra dependent on one another and marriage is not an exception. Some people who do not have their own identity may start resenting their partners that could create major fractions in their relationships. Spending time apart from one another may help people to build up their individual identities. So, when they do decide to reunite their mind and spirit can renew the relationship.

Another scenario when separation could be good in a marriage is when one of the spouses has committed adultery while being married. Spending some time away from each other can help the spouse who was betrayed to think clearly and decide the future course of action. Moreover, staying close up the unfaithful husband or wife can cause more heartbreaks and agonies to the betrayed partner, which is not good to repair that marriage.

You find couples who are in a long distance relationship claim that such an arrangement has a rekindling effect on their relationship. Moreover, many of these couples say that it adds a new fuel to their otherwise mundane relationships. However, that does not necessarily mean you need to always move away from your spouse to generate the same kind of feelings. But, it is not a bad idea at all to separate at times briefly to bring in some passion.

Sometimes it may not be good to opt for separation in a marriage 

In any relationship, effective communication plays a key role. When you have certain concerns that you have stopped communicating with your spouse, the issues may never get resolved and your relationship can become worse. So, before you make a decision to go for a separation, you need to ensure that both you and your spouse have discussed all your issues and concerns. Take some time and speak freely about the issues that are bothering you and try to find out solutions for them. If both of you show a willingness to work towards resolving these issues, you have actually taken a positive step to save your marriage.

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