Tips On Co-Parenting After A Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation lawyers Orange County; 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 joint custody 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 mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

How to Help Your Kid through Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsAs thousands of couples decide to end their marriages every year, their kids are also affected in the process. But their reactions will depend to a large extent on their personality, the circumstances under which the parents decided to separate and their age. Kids often get affected when their parent’s divorce. Often, the first reaction these children go through is that of sorry, anger, frustration, sadness, and shock. However, these children can deal these feelings in a better way as they know how to cope up with stress. As an end result, many of them are more tolerant and flexible when they become young adults. At such trying times, the most crucial things both the parents can do are to help their children steer through it by taking the following steps:

Important steps

  • Try to minimize disruptions in the daily routines of their children.
  • Make sure that legal talks, heated arguments, and visible conflicts happen away from the kids.
  • Do not be negative in front of them. Conversation with close friends and private therapy sessions should not take place inside the house.
  • Both the parents should be involved in the lives of their kids. Indifference will hurt them more.

People going through divorce or separation require lots of emotional support from their families, clergy, professionals and friends. However, these adults should never seek support and help from their children though they may appear ready to do so.

Break the news gently

The moment you are completely sure of your divorce plans, you should speak to your children about the decision to separate. Yes, it will be not an easy task to break this news. In case it is possible, it is better if both the parents are present while the news is shared. Make sure that you adopt a neutral and unbiased tone and do not express your emotions of guilt, anger or disillusionment while telling them about your separation. Of possible rehearse how you are going to break the news from beforehand so that you go not lose your temper or become upset during the discussion.

You should discuss the matter in accordance with the temperament, maturity, and age of your kids. But one statement should be common. Whatever took place between both of you; your kids are not responsible for that. This is because a majority of the children feel that they should be blamed when things did not work out between their parents. So, it is extremely crucial that the parents reassure their kids about this.

Rather tell your children that at times the adults do not agree on things or their love for one another change and so they decide to live separately. But also tell them that children will tie the parents forever no matter what happens.

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

5 Ways In Which Co-Parenting Can Be Effective

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsCo-parenting is usually seen as a responsibility shared by divorced couples, but there is more to co-parenting than a simple responsibility. Co-parenting can also involve someone else other than the parents. When a parent and another person take care of the child, it is also known as co-parenting.

  1. Do what is best for the child

When it comes to child custody or any other laws where children are involved, the California court always rules in favor of the children. If you are at a crossroad where you need to take important decisions regarding your children remember to do what is best for the children. Because it is the children that you will be ultimately worried about.

  1. Don’t talk bad about your ex in front of the children

It’s natural to talk bad about your ex in front of your children especially when you have gone through a bad marriage. But always remember that in doing so it is your children who will get affected. Your ex will remain an important part of the responsibility towards your children. When you criticize your ex, a certain negativity develops in your children which can be dangerous in the long run.

  1. Never tell your ex you are the better parent

At times, you will feel the urge to show your children that you are better than your ex but it’s a good idea to stay away from that notion. Saying that the other parent is bad won’t make you look like the best parent in the world. Moreover, such things don’t work in a court of law in California.

  1. Establish rules and family values

Family rules and values are central to every parenting. Teaching your children the importance of family life can be a great way to keep things organized in life. Moreover, it will also help you and your ex maintain an amicable relationship. As a parent your main aim is to create a healthy environment for your children where they can grow and learn life’s important lessons. So what better place than their own home.

  1. Make plans for in-law and family visits

After getting a divorce, having the support of your in-law and family members is very important even though you may not want to see them. It’s good because the children should not feel alienated after you get your divorce.

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

The Impact Of Divorce On Teenagers

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody attorneys in Orange CountyDivorce is difficult time for everyone. The couple go through a series of emotional and psychological changes and adjust to the new life. But apart from the parents, the effect of divorce on children is equally painful. Sometimes it can get out of control as children behave differently in different situations.

Being a teenager can be tough. They are neither kids nor adults and sometimes they act differently because of this. And when the parents get divorced, the effect is unique for each teenager.

Adjustment problems

Research has shown that in the first two years after divorce, teenagers have a hard time coping up with the truth. Adjustment becomes difficult and they show varied behaviors. But as time passes, the situation becomes better. They accept the fact that their parents won’t be together anymore and start adjusting to the new life. Most of the teenagers won’t face any negative effects when they grow up.

Emotional and psychological effects

Children have pure emotions and they show what they feel. But in teenagers, it may not always be the same. Witnessing a divorce can be tough for them. They sometimes show an outburst of emotions or don’t show anything at all. As kids, they’ve looked up to their parents as role models and the behavior of parents affects them. If parents use criticism to deal with a certain problem during a divorce, then automatically teenagers feel that criticism is a tool to handle such situations. Similarly, other emotions like anger and fear become a common part of their daily routine to deal with problems.

Feeling distress during a hostile environment is not exclusive to teenagers. It is what each of us do when put in similar situations. When teens witness, their family falling apart, they too feel distressed. Psychological studies show that blood pressure and heart rate increases in children who witness adults fighting. Over time the psychology changes and can result in negative results.

Effect on academic performance

Teens undergoing psychological and emotional changes have a hard time concentrating on their academic performance. So, naturally, their grades go down. This is very evident in intelligent children who have fared better than their peers in school. The drop in grades is due to emotional problems and not due to emotions. Even teachers find it hard to teach teens undergoing emotional issues. With more and more parents getting divorced each year, the number of such teens are increasing.

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

Guidelines For Peaceful Co-Parenting With Your Ex

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediation Orange County; California Divorce MediationIn a majority of divorce cases, both the parties involved are caught up in a perpetual cycle of resentment and retaliation. Both partners are willing to go to extremes in trying to avenge the psychological damage a divorce brings to them. However, if a child is involved in a parental separation, the situation becomes even worse. In order to create a peaceful transition from a happy family to a single parent upbringing for your child, you need to ensure that the co-parenting is carried out amicably with the other parent.  There are a few co-parenting guidelines which you may follow in order to achieve minimum stress for your child.

Understanding your divorce settlement

Most of the co-parenting issues stem from a misunderstanding of the divorce settlement, which often leads to skewed notions about how one needs to carry out co-parenting. Asking questions regarding the visitation arrangement and having a sound understanding of its instructions is critical to a smooth co parenting procedure. Fighting over who will take the kid out on Halloween or what is the duration of the visit will be highly detrimental to the mental well being of your child. Since separate states have separate laws for visitation and custody related settlements, you need to consult your attorney and obtain a thorough understanding of what your divorce decree entails.

Think practical

It is understandable that in a highly hostile situation such as a divorce, the parties involved find it extremely difficult and draining to fight back their overflowing emotions. However, if you really care about the best interests of your child, it is utmost essential to do away with all lies, manipulation and resentment that might fuel your battle further. While it might seem tempting to vent all your pent up anger at every chance you get, it is best advised to remove all extreme emotions from your communication with your spouse.

Prevent any outside influence

It is best to keep your new spouse or partner out of the co parenting process with your ex. Asking your new boyfriend to pick the kids up from a dance class, will do no good in subduing the hostility with your ex. A replacement for your ex might actually be viewed as a threat to them, and might provoke unsolicited arguments. It is best advised to keep your new involvements away from co-parenting, until both you and your ex are emotionally detached in an entirety.

It is only when both parties become indifferent of each other’s existence, that the co-parenting actually becomes peaceful. Although, till the time both parties get affected by each other’s actions, the process might require a lot of effort from both sides, yet it is definitely worth a shot.

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

How To Explain To Your Children The Reason Behind The Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange-County-divorce-mediation-attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsYour divorce or separation ordeal can be an agonizing time for your children. There are a million questions that flash across the tender mind of a child when his/her parents are parting ways, and he/she is left in the custody of any one of the two. And if these questions are left unanswered, your child might be left befuddled with the circumstances, and start forming negative opinions about your character. Such children often grow up, with a distorted mindset about the sanctity of the institution of marriage. However, if you choose to discuss the situation with your child openly and with a clarity of mind, he/she might be better equipped to deal with the painful ordeal.

Choose your timing wisely

The first and foremost thing to keep in mind when breaking the news to your child is the right timing. Avoid confusing your child with the uncertainty of your divorce before it has been finally decided upon. Also, remember that once your child comes face to face with the ugly truth, he/she would require you to be with him/her afterward, to offer him/her reassurances.

Break the news together

In the midst of the emotional turmoil and conflict, it might seem difficult to agree upon anything with your spouse. However, for your child’s sake, it is essential that you do the talking along with your partner, as a team. When your child hears the same story from both the parents together, it assures him/her that it is a mutual decision and allows reinforcement that they are still loved.

Assure him/her that it is not his/her fault

More often than not, children end up taking the blame of their parent’s separation, on themselves. The child might think that his/her parents are separating because he/she did not do well in school or because he/she misbehaved. It is your responsibility to clear his/her mind of any such negativity and explain to him/her that your divorce is an adult decision that does not involve him/her in any way.

Spare your child the intricacies of your divorce

It is best not to display your disagreements in front of your child. You might be having a thousand problems with your spouse and probably a million reasons to stay away from him/her. However, it is in your child’s best interest, not to reveal every single detail of your conflicts to him/her. Calling your spouse names or arguing with them in front of your child would end up destroying their image in his/her eyes.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that all your child need in this heart-breaking time is a genuine reassurance and a consistency of the routine he/she relies on.

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

Why Joint Custody Can Be The Better Option

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen a couple decides to get a divorce and share a child together, they need to look into the best interests of the child and what’s best for the child over their needs and desires. It is important for the child to have both of his parents – his mother and father involved in his life for a healthy and all round upbringing and stable mental and emotional development.

Why is joint or shared custody the preferred form of custody?

Joint or shared custody is always the preferred option when deciding custodial rights over the child. In joint or shared custody, both parents play a significant role in the upbringing of the child and bear the burden of raising the child together. The child spends 50 percent of his time with one parent and the other 50 percent of the time with the other parent and gets the best of both parents.

Shared custody is preferred also because it offers the parents some flexibility in terms of time and sharing the child’s responsibilities. So if one parent is busy with work or other commitments and cannot tend to the child on a particular day the other parent can always step in and relieve the other parent of the burden and take over the responsibility of the child. Shared custody gives both parents and the child flexibility with schedules and is better for the emotional and mental upbringing of the child. The child will have a better overall development and will be able to maintain relationships with peers better.

Divided custody – why should it be opted as the last resort?

Divided custody is one of the biggest mistakes that divorcing parents can make for their child. The parents see the custody of the child as a competition and become rivals with each other fighting over who should get the child. Each parent wants to prove that they are the better parent instead of focusing their primary concerns on the intellectual, mental and emotional well-being of the child. The child has to have two separate lives, go to two different schools, have two different sets of friends and this takes a huge toll on him physically, mentally and emotionally which could have a negative impact on his relationships and friendships.

Each parent tries to take credit for the child’s successes and tries to blame the other for the child’s mistakes. The child is forced to choose which parent he likes better and cannot have a healthy relationship with both parents like in the case of joint custody. The parents must learn to do what’s best for the child and not themselves and look at custody as a cooperation between both parents, not a competition.  This is why joint custody of children is preferred over divided custody.

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

How To Avoid The Mistakes Most Divorced Parents Make

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediation Orange County; California Divorce MediationWhen parents get divorced, they sometimes forget that they’re divorcing a spouse, and that their child is not divorcing a parent.

Unless there’re serious circumstances that make your ex-spouse an unfit parent as deemed by the state, you and your former spouse are sharing a child, and you have to be careful with that relationship.

Here’re a couple of  mistakes that most divorced parents make when handling co-parenting—and these are mistakes you don’t want to make.

1) Parents interrogate their kids about the time spent with the other parent.

Now, it is understandable that parents want to make sure that their kids are okay, and part of that is finding out how their time with their other parent went.

However, asking hundreds of questions about time spent with the other parent can make your child feel like she or he is somehow at fault, and needs to protect the other parent. It makes kids feel insecure, and that is the last thing they need to feel in the aftermath of the divorce.

If you want to find out what your child did with your former spouse, then ask your former spouse. If that doesn’t work, ask your child gently about how their day went, but nothing more. Listen keenly for any information that is given freely. However, don’t give your child the third degree.

2) Parents use their children to communicate with each other.

For some strange reason, some parents communicate with each other through their kids. This is a horrible thing to do because it places the onus of their communication, and consequently their relationship, on the child.  If you find yourself giving your child messages for your former spouse, stop. Even if it is unpleasant to speak with your former spouse, do it, and don’t involve your child.

3) Parents talk to their kids about their relationship with their spouse.

If you need to take through your feelings about your relationship with your former spouse, never do it with your children.  Confide in a friend, a therapist, or even a complete stranger, but never your kid.  Talking to your child about this will put them square in the middle of the relationship between you and your spouse.

Remember, the most important thing about having kids is ensuring that they have a good childhood. Don’t ruin that because you made a mistake in terms of dealing with your former spouse after your divorce.

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

Mediation is a Better Option for Couples with Children

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsA divorce is tough for any couple, but add children to the mix, and it becomes a completely different league. In some cases, the parents may come to the mediation session expecting the mediator to sort out disputes regarding the settlements and time sharing arrangements. There have even been cases where the children are made to speak directly with the mediator. It should be avoided at all costs.

Using children

First off, never, ever, use your children as bargaining chips. It is a cheap shot, and if the kids are old enough to see what is happening, they will resent you both for doing it. So keep them out of the sessions, do not use them as roommates, they are not there to get you a better deal through emotional blackmail. Also, certain things will be said and discussed that your children are better off not knowing till they are old and experienced enough.

Avoid making the children choose at all costs. If you put your children on the spot and get the mediator to actually have a session with them and ask them what they want, it normally does not work out well. Children should never have to choose between parents, that is a soul-crushing situation, one that not many can recover easily from.

Another reason why this should not be done is that young children may not be able to see the bigger picture and simply go for the parent who is nice to them, not the one who disciplines them. If the child’s mother is doting and loving and gets the child all the ice cream he or she ever wants, for example, the child may make the choice based on chocolate and ice cream. Children also do not want to disappoint their parents, so a choice is doubly difficult.

A lot of this will and may happen in a litigation process. Children bear the brunt of not only losing their family and the home they grew up in, but also see their parents rip each other up in public, and are often made to go through the same messy battle their parents are having with each other, often about money. While it may not be evident right away, it will get ingrained in their minds. For this and more, mediation is the best way to go with couples with children. They can be kept out of the room, and will never have to see or hear what happens. The news can be broken down and explained to them properly afterwards.

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

How To Help Your Children Cope with a Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County Divorce Mediators; California Divorce MediatorsA divorce can be a heartbreaking experience for you and your spouse. No matter the reason, separating from someone you loved and believed, would be a part of your life forever, can leave you feeling lonely, angry, frustrated, and depressed. But as you find yourself struggling with this harrowing time, you can sometimes neglect how your children could possibly be feeling.

Divorces can be stressful and frustration for your children as well. Not to mention very confusing. The uncertainty of the situation and the prospect of their parents splitting up can leave them very resentful and angry. It is normal for parents to keep their children away from stressful situations like arguments and the divorce proceedings, but it becomes your responsibility to help your kids through the process.

Here are some steps you should take to ease your child through your divorce and make it less painful:

  1. Help them understand, the divorce has nothing to do with them. Kids may begin to blame themselves for your separation, especially if they have heard arguments regarding them. Tell them, the divorce was not caused by them and they could not have prevented it either. Explain that you are divorcing your spouse and not your children.
  2. Tell them that you want them to maintain a healthy relationship with both of their parents. Do not speak poorly of your ex around your children.
  3. Explain to your kids that there are no chances that you and your ex could get back together. If you leave even an inkling of hope, they will harbor that thought and keep hoping that their parents get back together.
  4. Allow them to express their feelings about your separation. Tell them, it is okay to feel sad and angry. Encourage them to vent their frustrations and listen to what they have to say, even if it can sometimes be painful to hear.
  5. If need be, take your children to a therapist who has good experience with kids. If you cannot afford one, reach out to family members and friends who can help you and your kids through this.
  6. Do not fight in the presence of your children and always aim for peaceful transitions. Have peaceful discussions with your ex and be civil about the whole thing.
  7. Reach middle ground with your ex. Plan vacations, birthdays, and holidays together so your children know that they will always be part of a family.

As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure your children are as less affected by your divorce as possible. Despite the difficulties you could face with the divorce, make sure you are involved with their lives and make them always feel wanted and loved.

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