Factors Considered In Granting Grandparent Custody & Visitation Rights

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Grandparent Rights California; California Divorce MediatorsThe laws for visitation rights of the grandparents may vary from state to state. Over the years, decisions taken by the courts have undergone a lot of changes. Thus, each state has a different set of laws and rules.

Grandparents are only awarded visitation rights when specific conditions laid down by the court are adhered to. Conditions to get custody rights for the grandparents may vary from that of visitation rights. As grandparents, you should be aware of the conditions applicable for visitation or custody prior to deciding if you should file your petition to request for the same.

Court will keep the interests of the kid in mind

A court has to consider what is best for the child while awarding visitation or custody rights to the grandparents. There are many states where the law mentions all those factors a court should assess while deciding the best interests of the child or children in question. Even in States where such factors are not listed, courts try to identify the factors in visitation and custody cases by interpreting the available state laws. Here are some of the factors, which ascertain what should be done in the best interests of a kid based on case laws and applicable state laws.

  • The ability of the grandparents and/or parents to satisfy the requirements of the kid
  • Need of the kid such as the emotional and physical health, safety of the kid in question and their welfare
  • The desires of the grandparent(s) and the parent(s)
  • The desires of the kid in question in case he or she can take that decision
  • How close the bond is between the grandchild and grandparent(s)
  • Evidence of neglect or abuse by the grandparent(s) or parent(s)
  • Duration of relationship between the grandchild and the grandparent(s)
  • Evidence of substance abuse by the grandparent(s) or the parent(s)
  • Ability of the child to adapt to the community, school or home
  • Distance between the location of the grandparent(s) or the parent(s) and that of the kid
  • Ability of the grandparent(s) or the patent(s) to shower the kid with affection and love

Is the biological parent abusive?

In case a grandparent can furnish necessary proof that the child’s parent is in poor condition, abusive or is incapable, a court can give permissive or even permanent custody rights to the child’s grandparents.

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

Understanding The California Domestic Partnership Law

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Gay marriage and domestic partnership attorneys in Los Angeles Orange County California; California Divorce AttorneysThe California Domestic Partnership Law was cemented by Assembly Bill 2015. The bill states that registered domestic partners will have equal rights, benefits and protections like spouses. They will also be subjected to same responsibilities, duties and obligations under the California state law, independent of these deriving from statutes, court rules and administrative positions or other law sources or provisions. Such protections will be applied from the date the couple registers themselves as domestic partners within the State of  California. These advantages cannot be enjoyed if they move out of California.

Eligibility

The couple must meet a few criteria to get registered in a domestic partnership. First and foremost is that they should live in the same residence. No person in the couple could be married to a third person or be engaged in a domestic partnership with another person. The couple should not be blood related in a manner which will prevent their marriage. Both members of the couple must attain a minimum age of 18 years. The two must be capable of providing consent to domestic partnership. Eligibility conditions specify either both persons be of same sex or one of them or both must be aged 62 years or above.

Domestic partnership registration

Couples must download the domestic partnership declaration form from the California Secretary of State website. Alternatively, the form can be had at the office of any country registrar. It is available at any of the many offices of California Secretary of State. It is required that both parties should sign form in presence of notary. The form must be notarized. It should then be mailed to the Secretary of State office with the needed fee. When you sign the form, you must inform your mailing address. You should also attest to meeting all requirements of having a domestic partner. You also consent to have the case dealing with yourself in any California court in case you will go to the court for partnership dissolution or separation. This is applicable even if both members of the couple do not reside in California.

Any couple who have registered as a domestic partner before January 1,2005 with State of California will automatically gain new responsibilities and rights as offered by the bill. In short, if the couple have not terminated relationship before January 1, 2005, they will now be subjected to the same responsibilities and rights offered by the bill.

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

3 Tips on Effective Co-Parenting After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County Divorce Mediators; California Divorce MediatorsIt is not easy to be a co-parent, especially after you have split from your spouse and your relationship with your former partner is strained. You may have apprehensions about the parenting abilities of your ex-spouse, worried about your child support or stressed about some issues. You could also be tired of the ongoing conflict and feel that all that animosity between you and ex-partner will never disappear.

However, when you co-parent in an amicable manner with your former spouse, you can provide security, the close relationship with your kids with both their parents and stability that they require. It is for the well-being of your children that there will be a possibility to overcome the challenges associated with co-parenting and build up a cordial and working association with your ex-spouse. These tips will help you to resolve conflicts on contentious issues, be consistent and remain calm so that the custody and parenting schedule with your ex-spouse works well and your children feel secure and happy.

Tip 1: Keep your anger and animosity aside

If you want to enjoy a fruitful co-parenting experience, you need to have a check on your emotions. This means that you should keep your hurt, resentment, and anger at bay for fulfilling the needs of your kids. It is true that keeping such emotions at a distance could be the toughest part to work towards a good working relationship with your former husband but nevertheless, it is an extremely important one. Being successful as co-parents are opposed how you or your ex-spouse may feel about one another. Rather it is all about the future well-being, stability, and happiness of your kid. Avoid putting your kids in between. It is highly possible that you may not lose all the bitterness or anger about your divorce ever. However, the best technique will be to compartmentalize your emotions and keep telling yourself that these are your concerns but not your kid’s; you should ensure that the issues you have with your ex-are kept away from the kids.

Tip 2: Try To improve your communication with your ex

Meaningful, consistent and peaceful communication with your former partner is a must for making your co-parenting click, although they may not appear to be possible. However, everything starts with your mindset. You need to remind yourself that the peaceful communication between both of you can be highly needed for the well-being of your child. Prior to getting in touch with your ex, introspect how your discussion could affect your kid and make a resolution to conduct yourself in a dignified manner. The key point of every talk that you have with your ex should revolve around your kid. You need to also note in this context that meeting your former spouse physically may not be essential always. You can speak to him or her over the phone, exchange messages, emails or texts on a majority of the occasions.

Tip 3: You need to co-parent as a single team

Being a good parent also involves having frequent decisions with your ex-irrespective of what you feel about one another. When you communicate and cooperate with one another without bickering or hurting one another, making decisions become much easier and simpler on everyone. When both of you work together as a team, decision-making with respect to your child becomes quite easy.

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

Dealing With Divorce Involving A Special Needs Child

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediation Orange County; California Divorce MediationWhen you have a kid with special needs, there could be special issues in your divorce. Hence, when you visit your divorce lawyer, you should describe the facts to him or her clearly and accurately as it will be a different divorce altogether.

Implication of divorces involving special needs children 

If it is a divorce pertaining to special-needs then your lawyer may require specialized understanding, specialized details, external experts and a distinct discovery process. When you do not furnish all the requirements to the lawyer or not procure all the information that will be needed for your divorce since you are unaware of the requirements, there can be severe repercussions for your child or your entire family.

Questions your lawyer may ask you

How can the needs of a special child affect the co-parenting and custodial arrangements that are being contemplated? After all, a standard parenting plan can be quite inadequate. How much amount the other parent should pay for the support of such a child? Do the parents know how long the support should be paid since the child may not be self-supporting ever? Does the spouse need to purchase additional life insurance in such circumstances? If so, then how much and for what duration? How does your lawyer ascertain whether there are special requirements in reality or not when one of the parties say there are while the other parent goes on claiming that the kid is just doing fine.

Your divorce lawyer may conduct a fact-finding exercise while conducting the first interview for you. In fact, it can be a different exercise altogether as compared to the way they deal with their other divorce clients.

Some of the questions they may ask you are as follows:

  • Has there been a formal diagnosis?
  • Do both the parties agree with that diagnosis?
  • Who made such a diagnosis?
  • What kind of testing has been done and by whom?
  • Does your kid have an IEP?
  • Do any special financial requirements exist?
  • Is your child’s condition treatable, curable or is it a terminal one?
  • Does the state or a private insurance company reimburse additional and special expenses?
  • Are these expenses non-recurring, recurring or ongoing?
  • What is the daily schedule of your child?
  • Do you think any such expenses will occur in future that is not being incurred now?
  • Are there expenses related to the child’s medications?
  • Does your kid have problems with transitioning between two different environments?
  • Are there any special dietary requirements?
  • Does one of the parents need to undergo excess time commitment or any kind of special training as compared to the other parent?
  • Is your kid with special needs affecting the other kids in the family who do not have special needs?

Depending on the severity of the child’s special needs, there may be a need for adult child support beyond them reaching the age of majority (age 18), so it is important to address this issue in the divorce judgment that may include having the child formally assessed as to abilities to work and live on their own before the child turns 18.

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

4 Ways to Heal Emotionally After A Later Life Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce can be a traumatic and emotionally scarring experience, a gray divorce even more so. Have you recently gone through a gray divorce or are in the process of getting one? Are you struggling to cope with the emotional and psychological stress of a gray divorce? Do you want to know about coping mechanisms and ways to be happy again after the divorce?

What is a gray divorce? 

To begin with, you need to understand the concept of a gray divorce and how it is different from other divorces. When older couples over 50 years of age who have been married for many years or even decades divorce, it is called a gray divorce. This is become a phenomenon now that a greater number of older couples than before are going through divorces and choosing to lead separate lives.

Older couples are better off than young couples during and after divorce because they are usually better off financially and have adult children which does away with the need for custody rights. However, divorce can take a bigger toll on older couples who have been together a long time or when there are a lot of property- and finance-related disputes during divorce proceedings.

Healing emotionally from a gray divorce 

It can be extremely difficult for older people to heal emotionally after a divorce, especially if the divorce has been messy and complicated. Here are a few tips that can help emotional healing:

  • It is important to accept that you are divorced and not to fight the reality of the fact. Acceptance is the first step to healing emotionally from the trauma and sadness of separation.
  • You can join a support group for older divorcees if you are struggling to cope with the divorce alone.
  • Alternatively, you can join groups that cater to single older people and be a part of various activities like road trips, events, meet-ups, and even dating.
  • Indulging in activities that you enjoy, be it painting, traveling, reading, or anything else, can be highly rewarding and can help cope with divorce and the myriad emotions that accompany it.

It is important to remember that you are important and you need to love yourself and stop blaming yourself for the divorce, especially if there was no cheating and other immoral activities involved in the divorce. You deserve to be happy even if you are divorced and understanding and accepting this can help you heal emotionally.

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

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

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