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.  

Top 4 Personal Things to Do After Getting Divorced

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsWhile sustaining some relationships can be a tough job, you should also remember that the relationship, which you share with your own self is the most precious one. It has been often noticed that there are many who dive into a new relationship immediately after getting their divorce. However, there are many others who feel hesitant to take such a quick plunge as their feelings and emotions are yet to get healed. Plus, the process of healing is not a brief one.

Rather than being in a hurry to find a new person in your life, here are some of the top actions you should follow to help you in redefining your outlook on love and life after the divorce.

Go out and establish a rapport with others in a similar situation

There are many occasions when you will find that someone who also recently divorced is the best person to share your sorrows, joy and concerns with. It may be so since that person can understand your agony and could have even walked in your shoes in the past. Other single mothers can before understand your predicament better.

List down your goals in life post divorce

If you are disciplined enough to prepare a detailed action list for your plans, there is a greater possibility of achieving them. So, after getting separated or divorced from your partner, sit in your new home and make a list of such items. Make them time-bound and review them periodically to assess your progress and success date. Your list can include items such as new activities you should try out, future career vision, financial plans and places you desire to visit among others. Such a list will come extremely handy to direct, prioritize and organize your life after your traumatic experience.

Undergo professional therapy 

Major events in life such as an important life changing incident, a great loss or a heartbreak may affect a person’s mental state of women and they need to undergo a healing process. Professional therapy sessions do not come cheap. Try to locate a therapist who will accept your health insurance policy. They should exhibit proper consistency with regard to your appointments under all circumstances. At times, a therapy session can be quite painful. That is because old injuries should be cleaned out prior to complete healing.

Travel all alone

At times, when a divorced person embarks upon a solo trip, he or she may start looking at their life with a fresh perspective, alone. However, if you want to enjoy a solo trip, take assistance from a reputable travel agent before leaving.

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

How Long Should You Wait To Get Remarried After A Default Judgment?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorney; California Divorce MediatorsA default judgment in a divorce case has its advantages. In fact, some people want a default judgment because it saves a lot of money for them. First, you won’t have to pay much as attorney fees or for appearing in the court. Second, you won’t have to disclose any financial information such as income and assets.

However, before you can get married, there are certain requirements that must be met. Every couple who go through a divorce must follow the requirements before their divorce forms can be accepted and a final judgment can be passed.

  1. The six-month waiting period

The six-month waiting period is mandatory for every couple going through a divorce. The period starts when one attorney representing a party serves the other party with divorce papers. In some cases, the resolution can extend more than six months but that it can’t happen any time before that.

Complex cases involve a lot of paperwork and this is the reason why the court grants individual parties up to six months to get everything in order. It’s best to consult an attorney when dealing with paperwork because they know which document is required and which is not. And, note that the end of six months does not mark the end of marriage.

  1. The court’s judgment of dissolution

After six months, the court goes through the documents and passes a judgment. The judgment of dissolution can also be passed before the six-month waiting period. There are many ways by which you can obtain a judgment of dissolution and some of them are trial, bifurcation or settlement. It’s best to consult an experienced attorney because different paths for dissolution of marriage are taken on different circumstances. A bifurcation is done when both parties don’t agree to the terms and conditions of the divorce as put down by the court.

Conclusion

A default judgment is a useful thing when disclosing finances are in question. However, there are certain conditions that must be met before the divorce can be finalized. One of them is the six-month wait period that every couple going through a divorce must go through. After the wait period, the California court passes a judgment of dissolution based on the paperwork provided. The judgment again depends on a variety of different factors which can be clearly explained by an experienced attorney.

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

How To File For Divorce When Not A California Resident For The Prior 6 Months

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators in California; California Divorce Mediators; California laws and rules regarding divorces are straightforward and do not require much insight. As is common in other states, California too has residency requirements for couples who want a divorce.

The residency requirements for a California dissolution of marriage are clearly stated on the first page of the Petition form. The most important requirement for petitioners and respondents is that they must have stayed for a minimum of six months in California before they can get divorced. However, since not everyone can meet the criteria there are ways to go around the six-month residency requirement.

At least one spouse must meet the requirement

A divorce can take place if either of the spouse meets the residency requirement of California. The form states that at least one spouse must meet the residency requirement for the divorce to take place.

When both spouses don’t meet the requirement

It becomes a bit complicated when neither of the spouse meets the six-month residency requirement. In California, the laws are clearly stated and avoiding or breaking them can result in severe punishment. One of the best options is to simply wait till the six-month residency requirement is fulfilled. Talk to your spouse and wait it out. It is useful for people who are nearing the requirement period and don’t want to wait too long for the divorce to take place.

The other option is to file for a legal separation than a dissolution of marriage. That way you won’t have to stay with your spouse and once one of you reach the residency requirements, you can get a divorce. After you meet the six-month requirement, you can file for an amended petition and request the court to convert it into a divorce petition. By doing so, you immediately get access to the Family Law Court.

Conclusion

California has strict residency requirements and couples who want a divorce are expected to stay for at least six months before a divorce can take place. But many couples don’t meet the requirement but they still want a divorce to take place. The most common way to do it is to wait for the six-month period to get over. Additionally, couples can opt for legal separation and then get it converted into a divorce. However, it is best to consult an experienced divorce lawyer before going through a divorce proceeding.

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

Understanding The Types of Child Custody in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsIn the State of California, couples who are on the path of divorce are advised to read up about all the rights that apply to them so they do not get the short end of the stick. Even unmarried parents have legal rights that cannot be stripped away from them.

Joint legal custody

According to California’s Family Code, parents that have joint legal custody of their children need to ‘share’ the responsibilities of ensuring the well being of the children. Share is the critical term here. You don’t need to share details about everything, but you will need to share details of critical parts of the child’s life such as medical, dental, and education records unless specified otherwise by a court.

Under joint legal custody, a parent cannot do things such as infringing on other’s custodial time, taking the child and moving away, or seeking therapy for the child without the knowledge and consent of the other parent. If a parent violates joint legal custody, then a court could strip some of the parent’s rights away depending on the nature of the violation.

Sole physical custody

The parent whop does not have sole physical or legal custody of a child still possesses the right to access records about the child in question. The parent will also have ‘reasonable visitation’ rights. Sole custody does not deprive noncustodial parents of all their rights, and they have the right to ask courts to strictly define visitation times and schedules. However, the sole custodian will have the exclusive legal authority to make decisions about a child’s education, welfare, and health. The noncustodial parent has the right to challenge these decisions in court and have it overturned if a court determines that it is against a child’s best interests.

What about child preference?

After the California Family Code 3042 was implemented in January 2012, child preference is now more important than ever before. A child’s preference will be taken into account by a court as will factors such as maturity, parental influence, social conditioning, financial health, and other factors that affect a child’s well-being. If a child is sufficiently mature and meets all the relevant criterion, a court will be obliged to respect the wishes of the child. Children who are or above the age of 14 are allowed to attend and address the court regarding their preferences.

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

The Rate Of Gray Divorces Is On The Rise

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsIn 2016, the rate of gray divorces rose by three times than gray divorces in 1990. More couples above the age of 65 are heading for courtrooms to get divorced. Experts have cited many reasons for this trend and some of them include the changing laws, evolving status of women in society and less stigma associated with divorces.

Reasons for gray divorces

The rise of gray divorces cannot be limited to any one reason. There are different speculated causes for the rise in gray divorces. The rise does not necessarily indicate that older people are discontent with their marriages. Today’s lifestyle and the change in outlook has made it possible for more and more older people to head for a divorce. Previously, divorcees were often faced with social stigma and divorces were looked upon as embarrassments. But things have changed and getting a divorce has become more common than it used to be.

Probably the most important reason for the rise in gray divorces is the evolving status of women.  Women have become an important part of the work force and they are choosing a life that makes them more independent. Women have become less dependent on their male counterparts in terms of finances and it is probably why women make up the majority of people who initiate gray divorces.

Another reason for gray divorces is the change in state laws which has made it easier for couples to get a divorce. Previously, laws concerning divorces especially gray divorces were tough and many couples did not want to go through such a rigorous process. But now individual states have relaxed divorce laws and most couples can now head for an easy divorce.

Impact of divorces at a later stage in life

Divorces can be a difficult process both in terms of emotions and finances. Asset division during a divorce can be a major problem if the number of assets and property is high. Young couples may find it relatively easy because the number of assets amassed will be substantially less than those of older couples. For gray couples, getting a good lawyer should be their first step when getting a divorce.

Conclusion

Gray divorces are on the rise due to the changing social lifestyle for both men and women. Women have now become independent and feel that getting a divorce at a later stage in life can actually be beneficial for them.

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

Options for Filing Tax Returns After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsRecently divorced individuals can often be faced with new challenges and problems that did not exist previously. One of them is tax filing. Married couples can file for tax either jointly or separately. Usually, the tax filing status of couples is done jointly. In California, couples only have the option for joint filing but divorced individuals can do it separately if they obtain a final decree of divorce by the end of the tax year.

If the final divorce decree is obtained before the end of the tax year, each partner has the option of filing the tax return as single or head of household. They follow the same tax rules as legally separated couples.

Filing as head of household

A head of household is a person who is unmarried and takes care of the house expenses. Those who qualify for head of household should file as such because the effective tax rate is lower than those who file as single individuals. It also protects one from joint tax liability that might arise due to the other spouse’s error.

One of the advantages of filing as head of household after divorce is that it does not require the other spouse to itemize things.

Filing joint and separate returns

In California, only married couples are allowed to file a joint return. It may not be applicable for legally separated couples and individuals should check the state tax laws first before filing a tax return. According to federal tax rules, a marriage is one where a legal union exists between two individuals. It does not matter which state the individuals belong to as long as their marriage took place in California. The state law also controls whether couples are legally separated or divorced under separate maintenance decree.

Joint returns can be filed by couples who are legally separated but still married. Separate returns can also be filed by both individuals.

Filing tax returns can be confusing and difficult after a long and tough divorce. It requires the individual to understand the state tax laws and file for returns accordingly. California state laws require couples to file tax returns jointly. Divorced individuals can file separately provided the final divorce decree has been passed by the end of the tax year. Legally separated couples can file jointly or separately. Tax rates can increase or decrease, depending upon how it is being filed and in what condition.

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

Can A Couple Go For A Trial Separation While Living Together?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsThere are many marriages that go through the process of trial separations. Contrary to common perception, a trial separation does not necessarily mean that your relationship has ended. Rather, it means that both the parties have made up their minds to take a temporary break in the relationship. Plus, they want to utilize the separation period to take a call on if they want to give another chance to their relationship or not. The period of solitude can help the spouses to assess their problems in an objective manner and find out how life will be while living alone and enjoying a period of freedom.

From the name itself, it is obvious that trial separation typically means that the spouses will be living in separate houses. So, is it possible that both of you will be living in the same house and yet go through a trial separation?

Although there are several couples who undergo emotional separation during this time period, it is not mandatory that they need to separate physically. It is a commonplace to find trial separations occurring while staying in the same home. The same is typically true when there are young kids from the marriage. Following are some of the guidelines to ensure the success of your trial separation while living under the same roof together.

Enter into a truce with your partner and explain each other

If you and your spouse keep arguing all the time, there is no point to opt for a trial separation and staying in the same house. It is better to agree on the time frame of your separation by calling a truce and stop bickering with your spouse. You should also express the reasons for which you desire to separate.

Establish certain ground rules

Will you see or meet other people while you are separated? Can you still text or call each other while you are separated? Have you decided how to look after your finances and shared vehicle? Do you have plans to reunite when the separation period comes to an end? Are you just waiting for the other spouse to save some money and then leave?

You need to consider the kids

If both of you have kids together, it is crucial to have a proper structure in place. It is better to set aside some time and discuss whether you will make decisions unanimously or as separated parents. If you want to take united decisions for the sake of your kids, it makes sense to maintain a proper routine so that your kids feel secure and safe. The routine may constitute of details like who will cook dinner, how should you spend the weekend nights together and so on. In case there is a routine that you have been following for eating dinner or breakfast together, it is better to continue with that.

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

What Is The Meaning Of An Emotional Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation lawyers; California Divorce MediatorsSome spouses use a psychological phenomenon called Emotional Divorce if they feel their marriage is now a threat for their very well-being. If you opt for an Emotional Divorce from your spouse, you are actually segregating your emotions and feelings from the marriage. This is felt by some couples even before a divorce. However for other, it happens only post the divorce process, in a majority of the cases, divorce is a one-sided affair. It is a very rare phenomenon when a couple sits down and arrives at a consensus to divorce one another.  This is typically when a spouse is no longer emotionally attached to his or her marriage and wants to obtain a divorce. This spouse has already gone through the divorce emotionally and now wants to legally get unattached from their spouse.

Walk-away and left-behind spouses

There are cases when some spouses go through years of struggles as they emotionally feel distant from their spouses prior to arriving at a conclusion that divorce is the ultimate solution to all those marital problems they are going through or how they feel emotionally about the marriage, such spouses are known as “walk-away spouses”.

There could be various reasons for walk-away spouses to feel emotionally detached from their partners. The most common technique to remain emotionally detached from a marriage is when the spouse starts drawing boundaries they feel hurt or believe that the marriage is no longer safe for him or her.

When a spouse goes for an Emotional Divorce, it will be helpful in maintaining some kind of a psychological integrity whey face an emotionally disturbed situation.

Ideally, Emotional Divorce for some happens before a legal divorce as they felt that there was a strong requirement to protect and withdraw themselves from their marital problems.

A left-behind spouse is one who has to cope with his or her feelings and emotions post the legal divorce. But irrespective of the kind of role that you will be playing, it is imperative for you to handle the divorce process in a mature manner and start viewing yourself like a separate individual not as a wife or a husband.

No matter if you are the wife or the husband, emotional divorce from marriage is possible. However, this phenomenon is more prevalent in women as compared to men.

Having control over your feelings

A left behind spouse usually has a tendency to look for avenues for controlling the situation. These spouses did not see the warning symptoms, symptoms that hinted that their marriage was shaky and feel at a loss to understand how they should respond.  As such, their response becomes such that drove their walk-away spouse even further away emotionally.

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

How to Cope Up With a Legal Separation from Your Spouse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen a marriage is on the verge of a collapse, both the parties may say things they do not mean out of anger and frustration. If you cool down a bit and take a rationalistic view, you will realize that although both you and your spouse have entered into the marriage with complete consent, you are not giving the efforts of late that you had been giving in the beginning of your relationship. Some of them include:

  • Both of you have stopped complimenting one another
  • You are not willing to help each other anymore
  • You have stopped speaking about your feelings
  • Both of you have stopped complementing one another

It is possible that if you give some space to one another, both of you will realize the important aspects of your marriage that seem to have fallen apart. Do you feel that is the case between both of you? If that is so, separating legally from your spouse can be the most suitable alternative for you. While making a decision on whether to opt for a trial separation or a permanent one, you may go through a lot of emotional upheavals. Though separating from your spouse may appear to be the best thing to do, chances are that it may not be the most suitable action for you.

How you decide to spend the time of your separation is very crucial when you and your spouse take a call to separate. You should use the time to get some useful perspective and retrospect on the pros and cons of your marriage. While such a phase in your life can be shocking, you can utilize it well by following the tips mentioned below:

Do not spend all your free time alone 

It is the perfect time to meet up your family and friends who can help you to cope up in this transitional phase in your life. You should use the time to spend some time with your nephew or visit your parents or grandparents. It is crucial to contact your social circle especially since an important chunk of your social circle could have walked out the door.

You should also make an effort to enjoy your “me” time 

Irrespective of how unhealthy or happy your marriage was, there is likelihood that you both you and your partner spent a lot of time in each other’s company. Although, it may not have been quality time, yet it was time nevertheless. So, now that you are separated, utilize your time to enjoy moments of solitude and peace. It is also the right time for you to follow your hobbies or passion. Try reigniting a hobby, which you might not have followed for a while. You can also listen to some lively music to recharge and revitalize you. However, do not spend this time to indulge in self-pity. Sulking and sitting alone think about the past cannot heal your pain.

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