Issues Related To Retirement Benefits and Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsThe entire divorce process is quite a complicated one as there are various issues to be handled and sorted out such as distributing marital assets, parenting plans, custody issues along with the emotional trauma a spouse may go through during this period. Moreover, there could be a million other things hovering around in your mind. One of the most crucial issues to be sorted out at this juncture is how to treat the retirement assets since distributing them could be a time-taking process. In case you have recently filed your divorce petition and contemplating about the retirement benefit solution that you should get, you need to keep the following factors in your mind so that the process operates in a smooth manner.

Equal distribution of marital assets

Since all divorces are not sane, a single solution cannot fit all of them. There are many couples who are in agreement regarding maintaining their individual personal retirement benefits. They also decide to take leverage of the other assets so that the distribution of the property can be balanced out. Ideally, each asset is not split in a divorce. Rather piles are made on both sides so that there is a more or less equal distribution of assets at the end. But the real issue is that all couples do not have sufficient retirement plans with them. There are many cases where one of the parties has been relying on the other spouse for the retirement benefits. Where sorting out of retirement benefits is concerned during a divorce, when one spouse does do not have any kind of a retirement plan or the plan is not sufficient, there are several ways to make sure that the person gets something to depend on after his or her retirement. But there could be scenarios where each party getting their assets and individual retirement plan equitably distributed fails to work there could be other options like social security benefits discussed below.

Treatment of social security benefits

This is another kind of retirement financing. But, it is distinct from an arrangement like QDRO. According to the Federal Law, these benefits cannot be distributed among the two parties. There are certain cases where one party is legible for the social security benefits, which is based on the employment of their ex-spouse. In case, it is so, the said spouse may agree to that benefit provided it is more than what they would have got in accordance with their individual work history.

Moreover, in some cases, one of the two parties can instruct the payment of the spousal support for the other party from his or her individual social security. However, regulations vary on the basis of circumstances and regions.

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 Single Mothers Wait Before They Start Dating Again?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediator attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsGetting back on track after a divorce is no easy task. After going through emotional upheavals, restoring back the spark which you once had during your marriage or before it can take time. One of the things that must have crossed your mind after a divorce is “should I date again?”. Well you should if you feel like it but like everything else there is a proper time. But it really depends upon you.

As a single mother, your correct time to date also depends a lot upon your child. That is one of the challenges of being a single mother when you want to start a fresh relationship.

Finding the right time

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been divorced for one month or one year. It’s your choice when you want to date. It’s very hard to tell when you’ll become ready to go out on a date again. As a single mother, most of your free time might be spent in looking after your children.

One of the things that you can try to do is make time for yourself by going out with your friends. Initially leaving your kids behind while you’re out partying might make you feel guilty but slowly you’ll realize that it’s not a bad thing really. When you’ve become habituated to going out without your kids, you can try and meet new men.

Tell your kids about it

Honestly, your waiting period is directly linked to your children coping up with your new way of life. When kids are involved, you need to think from their perspective. Kids show a variety of emotions and sometimes it’s very hard to gauge what might be feeling. And since their mom is concerned, the feelings might be more intense.

Consider legal problems

It’s a good idea to consider any legal difficulties that might be present when you start dating someone. In California, divorces usually don’t last for more than six months but in some cases, it might last up to two years. Now you definitely don’t want to wait for two years before you start dating. But then again, you don’t want to get caught up in legal problems either. The best thing would be to maintain an amicable relationship with your husband and let him know that you are considering going into a new relationship.

Conclusion

As far as dating is concerned, single mothers can find it difficult to decide when to start dating again. As a mother, you should give more priority to your child and then to yourself. When both things work out fine, you’ll know the right time to date.

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

Lawyer Or Mediator? Which One Should You Opt For During Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsDivorces can be complicated matters and getting caught in the middle of legal problems is common. some people try avoiding divorce cases by going through a mediation first.  A divorce mediator helps couples either negotiate divorce settlements or resolve issues that leads to the dissolution of marriage.

However, divorce mediation is not appropriate in all situations.  For certain cases where domestic abuse or some kind of crime is involved, courts often start divorce proceedings without a mediation. But it can be confusing for people who are stuck in between and don’t know whether to hire a lawyer or a mediator.

When does mediation work?

California courts always favor divorce mediations and alternatives to divorce because it saves them for going into complicated cases. They can instead focus on more pressing matters. It is the reason why courts ask couples to go through a mediation process before the divorce is finalized.

Mediation processes are successful when the idea of a divorce is mutual and both parties understand what it means for them. Divorce mediations are useful when the couples are open to comprise without any emotional attachment.

Mediation is a powerful process and many marriages have worked out after couples went through a mediation process.

When does going to a lawyer work?

Divorce mediations are absolutely necessary but in some cases, they are not required. In cases where clear signs of domestic abuse or child abuse is involved, mediation is unnecessary. In other cases, where the court feels that a mediation is waste of time, divorce proceedings are directly handled by lawyers. Sometimes, mediators and lawyers are the same person and the roles are intertwined. For such lawyers, it becomes easy to do both without the client or the courts interference.

Conclusion

Since divorces can become ugly, mediation processes that can potentially save the marriage is often used to pacify issues between the couple. Mediation processes work best when both parties are ready to reach a common ground where they can work out things. Often, it helps save their marriage. Divorce mediations also help couples who aren’t too emotional or touchy about the dissolution of their marriage.

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

Strange Prenups Can Form the Basis of Hollywood Marriages

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsBeing married in the glittering Hollywood is not the same thing as being married elsewhere. Apparently, celebrity spouses have more terms to agree with in the event of separation and divorce. Prenuptial agreements are a common phenomenon in Hollywood marriages, but they are not exactly romantic as they may seem. History shows that many Hollywood celebrities such as Johnny Depp, Britney Spears, and Angelina Jolie faced the most rancorous of divorces, but included prenuptial clauses in the agreement to add a different taste to their marriage.

Contrary to popular beliefs, the lawyers of these celebrities do not encourage the inclusion of pre-nups in their marriage contracts. Lawyers educate their clients on the consequences, both good and bad, of having pre-nups, and create an enforceable agreement that comes to play when they split up. Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom had a pre-nup arranged between them that was skewed pretty much in Khloe’s favour. The clause gave Khloe complete financial support from her spouse Lamar Odom, should they ever split up in the future. The arrangement mentioned that she would get $25,000 per month as financial support for half the time of their marriage, which ultimately lasted for over two years. She would also get $500,000 every year of the marriage, $6000 per month for her shopping, new car and house at the end of each lease.

This is one of the many cases where celebrities have entered into weird pre-nuptial agreements with their to-be ex spouses. However, the ugly side of such agreements is that some celebrities plan out their divorces before filing it in the court. High-profile couples do so either to minimize press coverage of the split or protecting their children from being affected by the divorce. Hollywood family lawyers have become adept in avoiding paparazzi, and they have clandestine telephonic conversations or arrange private meetings in their own or client’s house. Such agreements are often covered under the glitter of their high-profile lives.

Although pre-nups are not considered to be a romantic way to start a marriage, yet they can protect the inheritance rights of their children to some extent. Some celebrities believe that such arrangements provides more financial security because many give up their Hollywood career in order to give more time to their marriage. However, the bottom line is that pre-nups work favorably only if they are conducted in a cooperative and cordial atmosphere, which each of them contributing equally to uphold the sanctity of the relationship.

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

How Is Legal Separation Different From A Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorney Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsLegal separation is the formal process of confirming an actual separation of the parties, as opposed to filing for divorce.  Parties that chose legal separation do so for religious reasons, do not believe in divorce, or have concerns about medical insurance coverage, among other reasons.  If the parties proceed all the way to a final judgment in a legal separation case, they can obtain the same orders that they would have in a divorce case.  The biggest difference is that in the end, the parties are technically still married after a legal separation case and cannot get legally remarried.

Agreement for separation

An agreement on separation includes terms that are quite similar to those if the concerned couple was getting a divorce. This means there will be a distribution of their marital property, agreement on child visitation and custody if applicable. Not only this, the couple opting for a legal separation will also have to come to a decision on dividing any debts that were incurred by them after they got married.

Ideally, the above-mentioned terms should be binding in case the couple wants to get divorced. Moreover, both parties should hire their individual attorneys for negotiating all the details of the agreement on their legal separation. In case the spouses eventually make up their mind to go one step ahead and file for a divorce, it has been observed that the judge usually keeps the same terms as both the parties agreed to them earlier.

Differences between a legal separation and a divorce

Check out some of the following key differences between a divorce and a legal separation.

Name

While the spouse continues with the legal married name in the case of a separation, a wife may revert back to her maiden name after the divorce comes throughout the divorce be.

Child support

The conditions related to child support are ascertained when the legal separation takes place. When a couple decides to go for a divorce after being legally separated, ideally, the same terms are followed that were mentioned in the document for legal separation.

Marital status

A couple is still married even though there is a legal separation going on. But when the divorce is finalized, the marriage ends.

Child visits

Visitation rights of the child are decided when the legal separation takes place. If a divorce comes through after the legal separation, most of the times, the same terms are followed as mentioned in the document of their legal separation.

Alimony

The terms for alimony are ascertained during the legal separation. The conditions are typically kept same if the divorce gets finalized in the future.

Split of marital property

The couple agrees to the terms while going for a legal separation. When they do decide to finally divorce, the sane conditions that are mentioned in the document for legal separation are followed.

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

Understanding Divorce & Innocent Joint Tax Filer Relief

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsBoth you and your registered domestic partner or spouse assume tax paying responsibility when you file California joint tax return. Responsibility is also assumed for applicable interest and penalties. If you meet a few specific legal requirements, you could qualify for relief from payment of part or all of tax liability.

Traditional Innocent Joint Filer Relief

It is possible to qualify for relief from the assessed additional tax, interest and penalties when you satisfy the following conditions like filing joint tax return. You can enjoy additional relief also when your RDP or spouse’s error is caused by additional tax. Tax breaks can also be had if at the time of signing joint tax return, information was not available to you or you were unaware of those items which resulted in an additional tax. Money can be saved also if all circumstances and facts are taken into account and it would be not fair to hold you totally liable for tax liability. Other conditions of tax breaks include that you have submitted a completed “Request for Innocent Joint Filer Relief” or FTB 705, to the government earlier than two years post date of starting involuntary collection activities from you.

Relief through Separate Allocation of Liability

It is determined, under this kind of relief, which RDP or spouse is going to be liable for assessed additional interest, penalties and tax. In case you meet all the requirements, we assign the liability for the additional tax to liable RDP/spouse. This is treated as if taxpayers had filed two separate tax returns. This kind of relief can be had if the couple files joint tax return. It is important that both the spouses must meet all conditions. These include the case if you divorced and also legally separated from your RDP or spouse or terminated the registered domestic partnership. This is also applicable if the couple lived apart from each other for a period of 12 months before making the relief request.

Relief can also be had when additional tax assessed can be attributed in full or part to the RDP or spouse. It can also be enjoyed if the couple has no information of items which created this tax liability at the time you signed the joint tax return. Other causes include submitting the competed “Request for Innocent Joint Filer Relief” to the authorities earlier than two years post date of starting involuntary collection activities from you.

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

Helping Children Adjust to Two Homes After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsWhile children are the most affected party in any divorced family, a major challenge for them is to adjust residing in two different homes after their parents go separate ways, Although, a kid may be visiting one of the parents only for some hours on a weekly basis, he or she should feel comfortable in their non-custodial house. A cordial arrangement will help in bridging the relationship with the other parent who does not have custody rights and will also help the kid to realize that though their parents got divorced from one another, they are still loved the same way.

When children of divorced parents feel like they belong at the homes of both their parents, it creates a healthy and smooth transition for them. Irrespective of their age-group, issues like abandonment and rejection matter to the kids a lot though many of them cannot express them properly through words. There are several kids who love to stay in both their homes since their parents shower them with attention and love.

The following are some of those ways that can help kids to adjust to living in two different homes.

A primary home should be designated for the children

Though kids of divorced parents may spend time in both parents’ homes, they should recognize only one of the houses as their “primary home”. There could be a lot of confusion if this is not done.  After all, when there is a designated primary home, all mails and other important communications will get delivered to that place only. It will be also helpful for the kids to feel secure and anchored. Though your house is treated as a secondary home for the children, you should not feel that the time they spend with you is less important. After all, do you not feel as happy and content at your holiday home as your main home?

Allocate a separate room for your child

It is imperative for your child to have their own personal room. In case that is not possible due to space constraints, they should be given space to keep their possessions like a toy bin, shelf space or an own drawer for dresses. They should also be permitted to store their things in the allocated space. Let them arrange the things according to their wish.

Freedom of carrying things

Your children should be permitted to carry their items between both the homes without any conflict or tension between the parents. The transition can be much smoother if this is followed.

Allow your kids to personalize their space

Permit your children to decorate their space the way they want to do. In fact, even you can help them out in this endeavor. Let them pick their own sheets and allow them to hang their favorite posters on the wall. Children love to personalize their space.

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

How to Save Money After Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation orange county; California Divorce MediatorsWhile you are still trying to come out of the ramifications of your divorce, having a proper strategy for saving and budgeting may not be a top priority for you. However, the truth is that henceforth you alone will be responsible for protecting your future as far as the financial matters are concerned. Additionally, when you have some savings, you can enjoy a safety net for any type of unexpected expenses, which may come up frequently.

Start saving money once you are single again

The way marriage brings a big transformation in your life, there is a similar impact after your marriage is dissolved as well. It will take some time and adjustments on your part to start staying alone after living together as a couple for many years. The way you start managing your savings and finances after your divorce will have a big role in the coming months resulting in either financial security or days of struggle and poverty. If you act sensibly, you will not be short of funds, else you may experience a shortage of funds in the future years. Check out these easy tips that can help you to get started.

You should pay yourself at the earliest

While it is not as easy as it appears, it is crucial to develop a saving habit as soon as possible. It is tough to save when one has limited resources but not an impossible thing to do. Try to put aside a fixed sum of money in your savings account every time you receive your payment. It can create a safety cushion, which you can use in times of emergency.

Think and execute a saving strategy

It is not mandatory for you to be a financial expert in order to develop your saving strategy so that you can build up a nest egg for yourself.  However, you need to understand and know the fundamentals. Check with your human resource department what kind of retirement plans are provided by your company to make sure that you do not miss out on a great chance to save for your retirement.

Self-education is of prime importance

It has been often observed that in a majority of households, cutting across geographical boundaries, one spouse has got a greater sense of managing finances for the family like bill paying and budgeting. Were you that person who was taking care of the finance part while being married? In case the answer is affirmative, you may already have a strong grip over how to run the household. But, in case, you were not that person, you need to now focus on how to develop as well as follow the budget.

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

Divorcees Explain the 4 Things You Should Know About Marriage

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

mediator divorce orange county; California Divorce MediatorsMarriage is a lifelong commitment to share your innermost self with your partner and stay together no matter how harsh the situations might be. However, there are a lot of people who prefer parting ways than living with someone who they cannot be happy with. Regardless of what your point of view regarding the nuptials might be, it will help to get a little insight from people who decided to call it quits with their partners.

  1. Love is not enough to sustain a marriage

While you might have heard about this quite a few times, it is actually quite pertinent to the subject at hand. Most of us think that all you need is love to thrive in a martial relationship. On the contrary, it is essential to ‘like’ your partner for what they really are and respect them for their values. He/she should be you best friend; a person you can blatantly share your innermost feelings with.

  1. Snap out of your reverie and smell the coffee

Believe it or not, but the annoying habits of your partner are still going to be there when you guys are married. In fact, they are going to multiply exponentially and seem absolutely insufferable once the initial attraction fizzles out and the monotony of married life settles in. While the haze of initial attraction will make you regard your man’s/lady’s idiosyncrasies as cute, you will start hating those very aspects of their personality once your tie the knot.

  1. You need space

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to spend every single minute of your waking hours together! Your partner doesn’t have to like the same things as you and vice versa. Both of you will need your space and unnecessary nagging will get you nowhere. Getting married does not imply that you need to shut off everything and everyone except your partner. Both the spouses are different human beings and so will their lifestyle be.

  1. Communication is the key to resolving all disputes

If you feel that your partner is unhappy or upset about something, you need to make sure that you find out what it is. When you are married to someone who finds it difficult to open up, it might be hard to know what is on their mind. However, instead of giving up on them, you need to find a way to make them communicate. Instead of letting the problem fester in their minds, offer them a healthy release.

Remember that all marriages, no matter how perfect they appear, need work. It takes a lot of commitment, trust, and patience to nurture your relationship and make it stronger over the years.

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

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