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.  

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

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

Coping With Stress During And After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce mediators; California divorce mediatorsDivorce can result in a variety of negative emotions and if you are going through one then you know the feeling. Most of the time people going through a bad divorce feel stressed from the entire experience and it ends up having a negative impact on their lives. In situation like these it is very important to relax and learn how to deal with the stress.

Contemplate your decision to get divorced

The decision to legally end a relationship can be a difficult choice and the feelings after the divorce can be worse. When you get divorced it not only affects you and your partner but it affects friends and family members as well. On the emotional front, you and some family members will face a hard time. It is important to contemplate on your decision and then taking the necessary step. You should try and talk to your partner about it and the way it makes him/her feel. If you feel there is a chance, however small, for things to work out, you should consider that option. You can even consult experts like divorce mediators for more details.

Pay attention to emotional needs

Usually, people who get divorced want to stay isolated and away from social gatherings. But being isolated makes the experience even more difficult than it already is. If you have just experienced a divorce it is important that you find support from your friends and families.

You can also seek help from people who have gone through divorce. They will understand how you feel and can guide you in a better way.

You should spend more time with people who enjoy your company and who value you. Such people can not only be your stress buster but they can also provide moral support as well. The feeling of being neglected only makes things worse and you should avoid isolation at all cost.

Take care of yourself

During and after a divorce the most important thing that you tend to ignore is yourself. Divorces can be painful but that does not mean the end of the world. Treat your divorce like a flu and try overcoming it. Go for a vacation and meet new people. Try taking a break from your job and visit different places where you always wanted to go. Moving away from the old home and relocating to a new place also works.

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

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

People You Definitely Want On Your Divorce Team

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorney; California Divorce MediatorsWhile you are young through a divorce, ups should surround yourself with those people who prove to be helpful and useful to you at all stages of the divorce process. You will require friends either who me you can share your emotions, a divorce lawyer who can safeguard your legal rights, a marriage counselor who can guide you and so on. In this discussion, you will find a list of all those people who should be by your side or should be in your divorce team even prior to the beginning of your divorce process.

Family and friends

There should be family members and friends by your side who would support in helping you to decide what is right for your family and you. However, you should carefully pick the, before confiding. Choose those family members and friends who can help you to get over your grief for the end the marriage and guide you to concentrate on your future. It is better to stay away from all those family members and friends who instigate you to nurture and not forget your anger and disappointment towards your ex-spouse and encourage you to seek retribution. So, you should have those people beside you who can give you affection and love and help you when you need it. They should consider what is best for you all the times.

Divorce coach or counselor

There can be a big difference when you have somebody in your divorce team to see you through your emotional transition during and post the divorce. You need someone who can help you to overcome your negative feelings as a result of your divorce. So, have a member of your divorce team who is licensed as well as trained to guide you through your negative feelings and start healing. Such a counselor is a precious asset to have by your side during the divorce.

Good mediator

The market is full of mediators and you will be fortunate enough to select someone who is appropriate for your particular situation. If you are not comfortable to be the same place with your husband/wife, look out for a mediator who is good in negotiating your divorce settlement and do not require you and your spouse to be present in the same place. A good mediator can help you by settling the most crucial issues of your marriage.

A divorce attorney

You need a divorce attorney who is experienced enough to look at your particular divorce case from the larger picture and offer you the necessary legal advice you require to make sure you have considered both the pros and cons for every choice made by you during your divorce. You need a divorce attorney who can respond to your queries in a satisfying manner and can keep you aware of your rights on the basis of the divorce laws of your state.

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

Symptoms That Your Kids Are Getting Stressed From Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody attorneys in Orange CountyDivorce triggers both kids as well as adults to make several adjustments and face tough challenges. However, there is a difference in how each child responds to their parent’s divorce. While a majority of them will handle these challenges with maturity and sensibility and grow up into well-adjusted adults, there are some kids who go through behavioral and emotional difficulties when their parents go through a divorce. And though there are differences in the long-term reaction in a child to the divorce of their parents, many kids may go through emotional distress and emotions like conflicts, confusion, guilt, fury, anxiety, and sadness in the short-term. Such emotions pop up when there is a question of loyalty towards their parents and a strong desire to spend more time with their absent parent.

When you notice the following symptoms of distress within your kid, you need to take appropriate action such as taking them to a therapist so that they can overcome their emotional problems when your divorce comes through.

Drastic change in academic performance

Do you find your kid is showing dismal performance in the tests? Is he losing interest in his school activities? This could be a telltale sign that he is emotionally disturbed.

Refuses to spend time with his/her parent

When there is no issue of child abuse in a family and yet a kid shows an unwillingness to spend their time with the parent, it can be a symptom that the kid feels the requirement of taking sides. A child should not feel that they are forcefully put in a situation where they have to select one parent over their other.

Increase in certain type of physical complaints

When you find them complaining about their physical conditions such as stomach aches or headaches quite often, it may mean that they are going through a tough time to come up with the divorce of their parents.  Allergy, stomachaches, and headaches are some of the most common symptoms that your kid is going through an emotional distress.

Prolonged and significant change in the behavior

You have always known that your child to be extremely polite bit you may find them being inconsiderate all of a sudden when your divorce case is going on. Your outgoing, gregarious and talkative kid can express less interest in social activities and friends.

Does not show keenness to engage in family, school, athletic or social activities

This is another important symptom that your children are clinically depressed as a result of your divorce from your spouse.

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

Tips for Dealing with Mixed Emotions After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

mediator divorce orange county; California Divorce MediatorsOnce your divorce is finalized, you may go through mixed feelings about your former spouse. Though you may be sure that getting a divorce was the best possible solution for you, you may find that there are some days when you still miss her or him while on other days you detest them.

Are you surprised how you can still feel a fondness for your ex or the person you are soon divorcing? Do not worry as these kinds of emotions are quite normal. In fact, many divorced people are known to go through the same kind of mixed feelings. But, how would you handle these changing feelings?

Get a support team

At times, it is natural for you to need a shoulder to lean on or a sounding board during this difficult stage of your life. You should not feel embarrassed about seeking validation and support from your relatives and close friends. You can even undergo therapy sessions so that they can help you to get over your mixed emotions as well as the stress that accompanies those feelings.

Create lists

Making a list will help you to not down your reasons for getting divorced and also remember the different differences which you had. You can also list down the good points in your past relationship. There are several newly divorced individuals who are extremely glued to the bad points in their broken marriages and as such hold a grudge against their former spouses and are highly resentful about the latter. Such emotions makes it difficult to move ahead in their lives or make a new beginning.

There will be changes after the divorce

You need to realize that your divorce will bring about curious changes. These changes can be difficult to get adjusted to. There are certain occasions when many divorced individuals are highly tempted to dwell on their former relationship since it is simpler as compared to coming to terms with the prospect of rebuilding your life. Have faith in yourself so that you can deal with anything which comes your way, and reinforce your belief that your decision to divorce was right. You should not let your fear and apprehension blur your judgment.

The blame game will not solve your problems

Blaming your former spouse for what went wrong in your marriage is the easiest thing to do.  However, if you are serious about achieving success in your future relationships and life, you need to introspect on your part too for the breakup of your marriage. It is not for one partner to hold the marriage together always, and a marriage cannot end just because one person was at fault. Thus, it is imperative to use your anger in a constructive manner.

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

Issues When Dealing With Commingled Funds In A Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsPrior to getting married, the property owned by you is regarded by the court as your “separate property”. This dignified that such a property is owned only by you and not by your spouse. For example, if you have $15,000 in your bank account and own a property while getting married, you are bringing your separate property in the marriage. Such a property remains your separate property if it is not “commingled” with your spouse’s separate property brought into your married life. For instance, in case you get married and both of you stay in the same house that is owned by you prior to the marriage. However, if the incomes of both you and your spouse are being contributed toward paying the mortgage, such a house is automatically counted as a marital property. In other words, it becomes a property your spouse may be interested in,provided both of you decide to divorce in the future.

The job of splitting property as well as other marital assets could be a tough one and full of conflicts especially for those couples where there has been a commingling of funds in the course of the marriage.

While negotiations continue for divorce settlement, determining which property should go to whom while depend on the degree of the occurrence of commingling of funds during that marriage as well as the complexity of transactions like home or automobile purchases, a big and crucial role is played by commingled funds during a divorce.

In case you fail to keep a thorough accounting of what is being done with your assets and properties during your marriage, it is not easy to prove that the purchase of that property was not done with commingled funds. The following are some of the tips for all those spouses who do not want to commingle during their marriage.

Enter into a prenuptial agreement

It makes sense to have your prenuptial agreement in place, which will clearly state, which properties will be counted as marital properties and which will be not in the event of a divorce.

Avoid paying off marital debt using your separate property

You should not use your separate property for paying off any marital debt. For instance, if you receive a hefty amount of money from your parents as a gift, the money should be used towards paying off a credit card debt or your home debt. You need to note that when funds benefit a marriage, they become marital property.

You should have separate bank accounts

Funds should only be deposited in a joint account when you want to count it as marital funds. When you deposit funds in your separate and individual bank account, it is regarded as your separate property.

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