The Most Asked Questions about California Child Support

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

When there are kids from a marriage, their well being is the first thought that comes up in the minds of divorcing couples. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions as far as California child support is concerned.

  1. How is child support determined?

There is a statewide guideline in California based on which child support is ascertained. The formula used for determining is quite complex. Hence, calculations are usually done by an Orange County divorce attorney. These attorneys use some special computer programs that are licensed by organizations offering software on legal research. The calculation is carried out on the basis of factors such as income of both parents, their status on tax filing, and number of kids in the marriage, tax-deductible expenses of each parent, and the time span for which each parent has the child custody and so on.

  1. Is there a restriction on how much amount a court orders a parent to pay for child support in California?

There is no limit in California as far as the amount of child support is concerned, unlike some other States in the United States. The calculation mentioned in the guideline is the basis for legal calculation in a majority of divorce cases. There are a few exceptional situations where a court may digress from it.

  1. The calculation generated a figure that is much more than what is essential in bringing up a child. What is to be done then?

The amount to be granted by the “provider” parent to bring up a kid may not be same always. The Californian law states that a kid is eligible to lead a lifestyle that is similar to that of their parents. Hence, when the calculation for a child support enhances the lifestyle status of a parent with lower income, it is often upheld by a judge. However, in cases where the amount calculated for child support is exorbitant and does not match to the reasonable lifestyle of either of the parents, the court may decide to move away from the given guideline.

  1. What is the next course of action when the amount paid for child support is sufficient for supporting the other parent as well as the kid?

Such a scenario does occur on various occasions. The law enables the child to lead the lifestyle that is enjoyed by the parent with higher earnings. There are cases upheld by a superior court when a receiving parent petitioned for receiving housing as well as many other expenses as the amount paid for child support is not adequate. It is a common result when a parent is earning a very high income,

  1. Which incomes should be included while calculating child support?

Some of them are cash flows from a business, income from investment, recurring interest and salary from employment.

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

What To Do If You Can No Longer Afford Spousal Or Child Support

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsA common concern that often comes up after the declaration of a divorce judgment in the court is the spouse who has been asked to pay for spousal or child support declares his or her inability to do so any more. The aim of this article is to discuss the steps that should be taken if such an issue comes up.

Step 1: Go through the divorce decree thoroughly

While it is an obvious thing to do, there are several people who tend to overlook it. A divorce judgment is an extremely crucial document, which anyone such as the judge, litigant and attorney should examine carefully. It is a document that the basic framework to determine how to proceed.

There are some cases where the judgment was announced many years ago. In such cases, the support that is unaffordable can be already the unable. Hence, it is extremely crucial to read the language well especially in the section for spousal support or child support of the court judgment to find out the conditions, which could lead to an automatic censure of support. There could be also a particular end date to pay for support according to the judgment pronounced. When such conditions are specified, the spouse who has been paying may just stop paying for alimony or child support. You need to also conduct a proper review of the judgment for making sure whether your court has reserved its jurisdiction over matters related to spousal support or child support.

Step 2: Put your best foot forward to reach an agreement

Your next step should be to find out whether the issue can be settled informally without the knocking the doors of the court. In order to get it done, it makes sense to directly interact with recipient of your support and know whether they are comfortable with a possible reduction.

When you and the other party do not succeed in reaching an agreement, you may else take help from alternative resources of dispute resolution like family law judges who have retired or mediators specializing in family law. When you take such an initiative, there could be the formation of a confidential forum to resolve your disputes in a cost-effective and timely sinner instead of taking the matter to the court.

Step 3: Get set for your post-judgment litigation

In case you and the other party are unable to reach an agreement, the only choice left before you is to approach your Family Law Court to plead your case for a modification action on the judgment issued previously. The opposing party should receive a copy of such a motion.

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

Ways To Lower Your Divorce-Related Stress

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediators orange county; California Divorce MediatorsFrom the time you have filed a divorce petition, there are lots to worry about. You are still figuring out how to move your kids between two different households, trying to coordinate with your divorce lawyer or a mediator or both, handling your children’s emotional needs and coping up with the emotional stress you could be going through. Even experts say that divorce is one of the biggest stressors of life. Hence, it is imperative that you put your best foot forward to ensure that your stress is minimized. There are certain activities you should drop and certain others you should continue doing to deal with your stress.

Discard

Conventional dinners

Drop the practice of having traditional dinners. Instead, try to go for snack dinners. Take out your plate and fill them up with healthy food products such as peanut butter, rolls, peanuts, grapes, apple slices, applesauce, and cheese slices. There should be a proper ratio of carbs, vegetables/fruits and proteins in your diet. Thus, you now have a well-balanced but easy to gather dinner ready within a few minutes.

Electronic gadgets

It has been often proved that certain devices are not good to depend on as babysitters. However, at times when children are thoroughly bored, the stress level of the mom is maximum or there is a doctor’s appointment at the last moment, some devices may help. But over-dependence on electronic devices is not good for health in the long run. Try to avoid them just before your bedtime as the blue light being emitted from them may cause havoc to your kid’s sleep.

Continue

Chatting with your children

By this time your children are aware that you are going through a rough patch. When you validate their feelings and discuss issues with them openly in a loving and positive way, you will enjoy a healthy relationship with them during this tough time.

Bedtime routine with kids

The right kind of bedtime routine you follow with your kids can make them relaxed while being a great stress-buster for them. Maintaining a consistent schedule even while you are stressed can bring in comfort while minimizing stress-related insomnia. Researches have proved that it can alleviate the stress levels of the moms too.

Have dates with family at night

You can have family date nights with your children though there could be financial constraints now. However, many big cities offer plenty of free activities that you can indulge in with your children. The least you can do is go out for a picnic in the nearby park or take them out for a walk after completing dinner.

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

Things to Know before Separating From Your Spouse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsTo separate from one’s spouse or partner is one of the most difficult and painful decisions to make. If you are a married person, the lives of you and your spouse get intertwined in many ways. Separation can be a devastating experience when a spouse is still in love with the other spouse.

However, it is important to note in this context that a divorce may not be a necessary outcome of every separation. There are several couples who look at separation as a much-needed opportunity to work out issues and also get some space to think. No matter what the ultimate outcomes are, one should not take the decision of separating in a light-hearted manner. In case you are contemplating to separate from your spouse, these are some of the things you should know:

It s crucial to lay down some ground rules

When you are trying to make up your mind about separating, establishing ground rules may not be something you take seriously. But when you establish a few ground rules to start with, it becomes simpler to point out what you are looking out from your separation. Firstly, it is important to indulge in some serious discussions with your partner. You should make a joint decision on if you will be in touch with each other during the period of separation, where you both will live and so on. It is also critical to have a consensus on how to take care of difficult issues such as visitation arrangements and child care and whether you can date a new person or not.

Be happy of having a strong support network

When you have a great support network in place, life becomes easier while you are separated from your spouse. Having a supportive family and close friends during this trying period will make your life easier and calmer. You can also contemplate consulting a professional and reputable therapist to guide you. Such experts will listen to your problems and guide you to sort out your deeper issues. 

Feeling relieved is not unnatural

When your marriage is going through a rocky phase, the decision to separate and the process of separation can bring in a deep sense of relief. So, such emotions are not unusual at all. However, at the same time, you should not regard this sense of relief as a symptom that you will be happier to separate forever. Separating from your spouse does not signify that your choice of partner was incorrect. It only indicates that the present situation is not correct and there are some things that must change.

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

Why Do Some Couples Divorce After Decades Together?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsWhen a couple decides to opt for a divorce even after spending many decades together in their marriage, it can be a shocking and a baffling news for them as well as the people around them. After all, they were regarded as the perfect couples till now. So friends and close family members simply wonder what went wrong in the relationship. Even people who are no longer in the close circle of these couples may start spreading gossips about the possible reasons for the breakup of the marriage. Was one of the partners gay or a lesbian? Did one of them cheat on the other? Were they just trying to show the world that their marriage was a success because of the children? No matter what the actual cause of the break up is, it is an unhappy and undesirable scenario. Even the happiest of couples may find their marriage crumble after many years. The big question in such cases is where the symptoms of the breakup clear for some time? Read on to know some of the top causes that made even the most seasoned couples opt for a divorce.

Too many expectations

While couples take an oath to be together until they are dead, they do not work that way for many couples. When a calamity or misfortune falls upon one of the partners or spouses like a chronic illness or a job loss, a spouse hopes that his or her partner will stand by them and help them to face such changes and uncertainty. In real life, that may not happen always. There are several occasions when a spouse may feel he or she has tolerated enough. They may opt to move away from their relationship. The partner or the spouse who was committed to the relationship or marriage should reconsider expectations and priorities.

Gap in communication

Communication is not only about speaking to the spouse. It also constitutes of understanding and appreciating the vision or the view point of the other partner. If there is lack of understanding or difference in vision in a relationship, the marriage may eventually crumble or break up. When the communication gap between the spouses is due to a chronic medical or health condition, the anguish of the impending breakup is even greater.

When partners feel that walls are developing in their relationship

There are times when some couples feel that though they are married for several years, the dynamics of their relationship has undergone big changes during the passing years. They may feel that they are blocking their partners from self-actualization. On several occasions, couples feel that it will not be possible for them to take steps together in the future and it would be better to part ways. However, that also means that they have to pay a big price to attain this freedom as it tantamount to the termination of their marriage that has sustained for so many years.

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

Things You Should Expect From a Good Family Law Judge

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsMany would agree that family law can be one of the most complicated legal affairs. The level of difficulty may go up due to excessive emotional stress that often accompanies divorce proceedings or disputes related to child custody. So, it is not an easy task to for a good family law judge.

Judges need to be in complete control in the courtroom

A family law case involves a lot of emotions. Hence, it is highly imperative that a good family law judge should be in complete charge of their courtroom do that the things get cool down. It is the responsibility of these judges to ensure that the two parties or the lawyers of both the parties should be restrained from attacking one another. There are some divorce lawyers who spend about 30 minutes covering issues, which should be covered within 5 or 10 minutes. It is exactly where the judges should step in to control the litigants and the attorneys.

Judges should ensure that the proceedings of the court start in time

In case a court is scheduled to start at eight in the morning, a judge should not be delayed in reaching the court. He or she should be punctual in reaching the court so that the hearings should begin on time. As it is, the litigants and the attorneys would be waiting impatiently for the court’s proceedings to start. However, the public should understand that several important events could be taking place in the chambers of the judge, so some times a late start is unavoidable.

Accessibility is a key feature of good judges

Problem-solving is a key personality trait of any good judge or attorney. Any good judge makes it a point to get in touch with the litigants as well as lawyers about certain issues. He or she may tell that certain facts in cases may prompt them to take certain actions in certain scenarios. Such information can be used by the attorneys for resolving certain contentious issues since they got a specific reading from the said judge. They are also able to clearly see the writing on the walls.

Decision-making capacity

There are some judges who hesitate to make a timely decision. It is a known fact that both, clients as well as their attorneys, want that they should get a proper judgment. Even if one of the parties may not agree with the ruling of a judge, it is still better to give a ruling instead if no ruling at all. A good family law judge should declare a ruling with proper reasoning to support such a decision. When a judge has given a ruling, both the parties can at least go ahead with the next phase in their lives or to the subsequent part of that case.

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

How To Move On After Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsYou may feel liberated or devastated during and after the divorce. After all, it is not an easy phase in your life. You might have put years of your soul and heart to make the relationship work. Plus, you had always thought that it will be good for both of you to grow old together and yet you find yourself lonely. Though it is tough, moving on is both empowering as well as rejuvenating for you, especially when you are determined to start afresh. Check out some of these areas where you can focus on is that there is a smooth transition through your divorce.

Prioritize those activities that took a backseat during your marriage

You could have sacrificed your career and hobbies for the sake of your marriage.  After all, the past years have been too hectic for you as you hardly had any time while looking after your family. As such, it is likely that your old passions had to be compromised. Your activities, hobbies and career have got neglected a lot. Try to bring back that old spark in your life. Divert your mind from the ugliness of the divorce proceeding by extolling yourself for cooking classes or taking up riding lessons you had always wanted to join earlier but did not have the time.

Concentrate once again on self-care

Taking care of self is a big challenge for many women. It has been taught to you ever since your childhood days that you should be always kind and selfless to others. However, on many occasions, women confuse between selflessness and neglecting themselves. They try to give a priority to everything else. It is the right time for you to prioritize your well being now. After all, if you continue to neglect yourself, your home, work or kids may get neglected when are unwell.

Focus on your social support

Getting divorced can be one of the most stressful events in your life. Since you are not going through an easy phase in your life, it is important to develop your social support to get over your current turmoil. Try to nurture your earlier relationships as well as explore fresh options for forming valuable connections and create friendships. Such an initiative can be taken through different ways.  Check out some of them.

  • Make new friends and establish connection with your old friends once again.
  • Try to be a part of various groups according to your interests like socializing, hiking gardening, wine-tasting and so on.
  • You can also contemplate joining a support group now. You will find plenty of them around you.

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

Does Infidelity Affect Spousal Support in California Divorces?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Spousal support Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsA marriage could end in divorce if one partner discovers that the other has a lover on side. The failure of marriage due to infidelity can be extremely painful for everyone involved.

Adultery and California divorce

The state of California is considered a no fault divorce state.  Divorce is possible for any one of the two possible reasons:

  • Irreconcilable differences between your spouse and you have almost destroyed the relationship and thus it cannot be changed
  • Your spouse has incurable insanity

There is no need to visit the court to testify as to why your marriage suffered and then failed. Only thing which matters in this respect is that both you and your spouse (or any one of you) must believe that it is impossible to save the marriage. Emotional healing is speeded by no-fault divorce. Courtroom processes are also speeded up as the spouses do not argue too much.

Alimony

Alimony is legally known as spousal support as per California laws. It is the money which one spouse pays to other both at the time of divorce and also after divorce. The legislature in California holds the belief that support is critical and thus a law is crafted so that spouses provide financial support to each other.

The aim of alimony is to make sure that the spouse who is poorer is not made destitute after the marriage ends.  The California court may issue the alimony order while divorce proceedings continue to be underway, but is incomplete. The spouse who will receive the alimony may request the court to give a temporary order. The last will be applicable until the issuance of final order.  The final order of alimony may take a number of forms. It may be so that the judge will conclude that there is no evidence to support an alimony award. It can be completely denied.

Adultery factor in alimony

Judges analyze multiple factors before awarding alimony. It will include the earning capacity of the spouse so that both of them can maintain certain living standards established during marriage. This will include the receiver spouse’s marketable skills and the state of job market for those skills. The judge will also taken into account the expenses and time needed to acquire sufficient education or the the training to develop certain marketable skills. The ability of the paying spouse to give alimony will also be taken into account.

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

Pros and Cons of Cohabitation Versus Marriage in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

California divorces; California Divorce MediatorsThe subject of whether marriage better or cohabitation warrants a lot of debate based on people’s personal experiences and beliefs. There are some who believe nothing can replace a marriage in a loving relationship, while others beg to differ and believe that cohabitation is equally amazing without the legality of marriage. We discuss some of the benefits and disadvantages of cohabitation over marriage.

Pros of cohabitation over marriage 

  • One of the most obvious benefits is that you get to share your home and life with someone you love and like to be around because you love the person and not because of legality binding you.
  • Cohabiting has all the financial benefits of being in a marriage without the legal hassles that come with marriage. You get to split costs, manage finances, and invest together with your partner.
  • Cohabiting can be a great way to understand if you and your partner can sustain a marriage. It is a good way to know how well you both work together as a couple living together before taking the plunge and getting married.

Cons of cohabitation over marriage 

  • There is some research that shows that marriage may have physical and psychological benefits that are lacking in cohabitation. However, some results are still ambiguous about the reasons behind these differences.
  • There is no legal responsibility or hassle, making it easier to leave a cohabitation arrangement. Marriage demands more legal commitment and, therefore, there is more thought given before a spouse decides to leave.
  • If you have kids while cohabiting, custody rights can become complicated if you decide to go your separate ways, as there is no clear legality.

Cohabitation in California 

California does not recognize common law marriage except when a couple is considered married under common law marriage in a state that recognizes it and then moves to California. California recognizes cohabitation as a legal form of relationship, and there are some provisions for couples who wish to cohabit but not marry.

If you are cohabiting to test your relationship before getting married, you can enter a prenuptial or premarital agreement that lists rules and laws applicable to you as a couple once you get married.

If you simply wish to cohabit without the legal hassles of marriage, then the state has a provision of getting a cohabitation agreement, also known as a nonmarital agreement. This formal agreement lists out responsibilities and rights for the cohabiting couple and works as a contract that is outside of marriage laws.

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

What Should Mothers Do When They Lose Custodial Fights?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsFor a parent, there is no greater loss after a divorce than losing custodial rights of their children. There are many grounds on which a court in California can award custodial rights to a father. Substance addiction, abuse and neglect are the topmost reasons and also, mothers who are not financially stable can find themselves on the losing end.

So, what should mothers do when they lose custodial battles? Completely losing custody of one’s children can have a detrimental effects on a parent’s mental health and if you’re a mother who is  concerned that they may find themselves in a similar situation and is hoping to find some advice on what their options are to proceed then taking the following steps can go a long way to helping you land on your feet.

Work to improve your circumstances and take control of your life

The best thing that you can do to restore confidence in your child and your ex is by becoming a better person. Instead of lamenting over the situation, get involved with your child’s activities. From school activities to dental appointments, take small responsibilities on your shoulder and show everyone that you, too, can change. Not only will this help boost your confidence levels, but it will also allow you to take control of your life as well.

Taking control of your child’s responsibilities will teach you to become a natural leader. It will also help you develop an important skill which you might have lacked before your divorce – decision making.

Decision making and control will allow you to improve yourself, both as a person and as a mother.

Get yourself some legal advice or hire a lawyer

If you have some idea of how the legal system works in California, you can help yourself on legal matters. It could be helpful in strengthening your case against your spouse because only you know your strengths and weaknesses. Also, during child care plans, you can point out flaws or save yourself from extra damage than is necessary.

If you don’t understand the law, hire an experienced lawyer. Educated and experienced lawyers can be the main reason for your win.

Conclusion

Losing a custodial battle is tough for mothers and it’s also tough to recover from the loss. However, if you take an interest in your child’s activities then it will help you improve yourself. Improving yourself will help you take control of your life. In any case, make sure you consult a good lawyer before and after a custodial battle.

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