Advantages of Getting A Prenuptial Agreement in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsOnce of the leading reasons people get into divorce is because of the monetary windfall the less privileged spouse can get from his/her wealthy counterpart. However, there have been legal methods developed to make sure financial benefits are not a motivator for divorce. One such act is the introduction of a prenuptial, also known as a pre-marital agreement, between the spouses at a sufficient time well before the wedding date.

What is a Prenuptial (Premarital) Agreement?

A pre-nuptial agreement is an agreement that the spouses have prepared weeks or months before the wedding. Simply put, this agreement outlines the number of assets or the percentage that either of the spouses will be entitled to in case of divorce. Such agreements tend to allow the wealthier spouses to keep hold of much of their estate, instead of having to share considerable chunks of it with their spouses.

Advantages of Prenuptial Agreements

Over the years, with the number of wealthy people increasing, the use of prenuptial agreements has become more of a norm rather than an exception. Here is a list of a few advantages of getting into a prenuptial agreement.

·         A Prenuptial Agreement Can Protect Financial Stability

This is the primary reason most people want a pre nuptial agreement in the first place. In cases of divorce that are run and tried for in the Orange County family law courts, the law wants the assets owned by either of the spouse to be shared among both the spouses. This would be a disadvantage to you if you’re the party with the larger number of assets. Once you get into a pre-nuptial agreement though, you are better able to protect your assets.

·         Reduces Unnecessary Conflict

When it comes to divorce cases, there are large number of conflicts that can develop between the spouses owing to monetary disagreements and problems with asset distribution. This not only will stretch the divorce case further, but is also likely to have an adverse affect on the children that are part of the marriage.

When spouses get into a pre nuptial agreement, they are already deciding on the percentage of asset distribution and what each spouses will be entitled to after divorce. Once a prenuptial agreement has been signed, both the spouses will be aware of their worth and the assets that they will have a control over if the relationship ends. Knowing this would not only deter the divorces done to gain ample money for them but also help in little asset distribution conflicts among spouses in family law courts.

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

Remembering New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsNo matter what stage of the divorce process you are in, the arrival of the new year makes it a great time to make a few changes that will put you and your divorce on the high road.  Especially for those in a litigated divorce, the process can make you feel stuck and bogged down.  Follow these tips to regain a sense of momentum in your life:

  1. Take care of yourself.

Many New Year’s resolutions focus on losing weight and making more money.  But if you are going through a divorce, your number one resolution should be to be to surround yourself with support, kindness and love.  Make a standing weekly or monthly date with good friends and family members.  The American Psychological Association suggests joining a divorce support group.  Having lots of emotions is normal – decide now to start getting them out so that they don’t control you.

  1. If you have children, see a co-parenting counselor.

This is a great resolution for parents in any stage of the divorce process.  Even divorced parents who have amicably co-parented for years can benefit from a few sessions with a co-parenting counselor.  This allows parents to evaluate how things have been working and to communicate about any areas for improvement.

  1. If you are not using divorce mediation, give it a chance.

Even if you are in the middle of a long, litigated divorce, it is not too late to save money and time by exploring mediation.  If you and your soon-to-be-ex are both feeling demoralized by the expense and length of an adversarial divorce, the new year could be a great time to open the discussion about taking a new, less costly and more peaceful path to finalizing the divorce.

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

Family Law Mediation for Active Military Personnel

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsMilitary personnel are considered the protectors of the nation, who lay down their lives to defend the country we love. While all of us have respect for the military personnel that protect our motherland, have any of us wondered if their legal rights are similar to that of a common U.S. citizen? Military personnel have a life that’s for the most part alien compared to the life we have.

Most military men and women, however, do get married like the rest of us and they too can have problems in their married life. Problems in married life usually spell out divorce and there can be instances where divorce is the only option left for such personnel. While the process of family law or divorce mediation is rather hassle free and easy to go through, there can be complications if the dispute involves a current military personnel as one of the spouses.

The Issues They May Face

It should be clear by now that the military personnel have the same legal rights as that of us civilians and are likely to face the same issues we face and maybe more. At the time of the divorce, military personnel can go through issues such as:

  • Child custody
  • Child Support
  • Alimony payments
  • Division of assets
  • Rights of Modifications

The Benefits

There are two ways to a divorce available to them, getting a divorce through litigation or getting Orange County divorce mediation. While both are likely to get the desired result of separation and ending of marriage, it is recommended that family law and divorce mediation is used because it is a cheaper and more private for the spouses to settle their differences and agree to a solution and a post divorce agreement. Privacy is likely to be an important consideration for military personnel because they wouldn’t want the respect that comes with being military personnel to be tarnished by any such cases and bad publicity.

The View of the Law

The act that governs how civil matters apply to military personnel is the Service Members Civil Relief Act. It has a provision which doesn’t allow the lawsuits against members of the military that are currently deployed from going ahead. This act is of great aid to military personnel since it protects them in matters such as child custody, alimony payments/spousal support, and even divorce litigation proceedings.

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


The Importance of Financial Disclosure in Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation lawyers; California Divorce MediatorsFor most couples that have been part of a divorce, finances and declaration of the financial situation of the spouses is vital to the mediation process. All through this blog, we’ll talk about why financial declaration is vital for couples to carry out.

A divorce mediator should help their clients complete their Preliminary Declarations of Disclosure forms before the mediation process begins, which includes the Schedule of Assets and Income and Expense Declaration forms.   For those of you who are wondering about the importance of these forms and the reasons as to why they are filled, here are a few answers that will help you out:

If you neglect to properly complete your Financial Disclosure, your Agreement can be nullified

California divorce mediators want the couples to have an agreement at the end of the mediation process. This agreement should be fair and equitable to both parties so that it can be adjudged as legal in the Family law courts.  According to the Section 2107(d) of the California Family Code, a judge can set aside any such agreement if there hasn’t been complete financial disclosure. Mediation and sorting your issues out can be a strenuous and tedious task. Nobody wants a simple mistake like non disclosure to destroy their mutually agreed on terms.

It can be a calming influence

Going into divorce is just like going into a dark room. There is a considerable amount of uneasiness and stress underlying in the minds of both the spouses. The most important reason for this is usually the uncertainty over financial security and wellbeing. The best way to avoid such situations and make the divorce easier is by getting the couple to talk about their finances candidly. A good Orange County divorce mediator will make sure financial disclosure is the first thing couples go through  so that calmness and certainty can prevail.

A bed rock for Cooperation

Divorce mediation unlike litigation requires harmony, peace, and collaboration between both the parties in order to be fruitful and beneficial. Transparency and good faith are the roots of an effective California divorce mediation. This transparency and good faith can only be achieved when the couples are open about one of the personal aspects of someone’s life, i.e. their finances. If each spouse is upfront and honest about their finances, there will be a greater cooperation and team work among the divorcing couples.

Makes your decisions better

What is the key to a good decision? Information! The more knowledge you have about something, the higher the chances of you making a better decision. Financial disclosure allows the couples this leverage of information. The more they know about each other’s financial positions, the more equitable an agreement they’ll agree on regarding financial security.

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

Advice On Effective Communication With Your Spouse From A Divorce Attorney

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange-County-divorce-mediators; California Divorce MediatorsMost fights and disagreements in a relationship usually start by verbal tirades against one another. Effective communication is vital for the health and success of a relationship. Communication, however, can’t be limited to either verbal or non verbal. The cause for most fights is a lack of effective communication.

Imagine someone is saying something pleasant to you and you start to give them an angry stare. The other person is likely to feel perplexed and confused. This shows how verbal communication needs to be coupled with non verbal communication to fulfill the goal of communication.

Here are a few tips on effective communication with your spouse so that you avoid fights and disagreements in your relationship that can ultimately lead to a divorce.

1. Be Crystal Clear

When you are communicating with your spouse, you need to speak your mind clearly. If you talk fast, you need to go a little slow and if you are hard to comprehend, you need to repeat it multiple times so that there are no misconceptions that are left after your message. While most people find it annoying to repeat themselves again and again, it is unavoidable at times. You have to realize that the effort you are putting into effective communication is never in vain.

2. Own Your Thoughts

Very few people have the ability to judge the feelings that sometimes creep into you. To be good at communication, you need to have a clear head and for that you need to know what you are feeling and take clear stances on what you like or dislike. If you think during a discussion that something is not right, you should not compromise and agree to it, instead you should say what is in your heart. If you do not speak up, your emotions will get bottled up and will increase your chances of a meltdown.

3. Be Expressive

Bottling up your feelings will always be harmful to you one way or another. The key to effective communication is saying whatever you feel like saying. If you have underlying feelings of discontent, they are likely to show on the non-verbal communication front. Even if the feelings are of love and appreciation, make sure they are expressed to make your partner feel valued.

4. Be All Ears

Any relationship is a two-wheel drive and for the car to function properly both the wheels need to be on equal footing. Being an effective communicator is going to take you far, but to go the distance, your communication skills and your ability to be a good listener should be polished. Relationships are about understanding one another and the best way to do that is to listen to the other person.

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

How Sexual Orientation, Religion And Handicap Affect Child Custody

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange-County-child-custody-attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsIn a child custody case, people sometimes wonder if a parent’s sexual orientation, physical handicap, or religious beliefs have an impact or effect on child custody.

Sexual Orientation

It is fair to say that Orange County, California has been known as having residents often with conservative beliefs. It is widely known that the officials, elected representatives, and courts have traditionally leaned towards conservative views. Yet, does it play a role in determining child custody? Since 1998, the Courts in California have held that homosexuality of a parent cannot be a determining factor alone in a child custody case. The judges in the courts deem heterosexual or homosexual behaviors irrelevant to the child custody because child custody depends on the betterment of the child. Unless the sexual conduct poses any real threat to the child, it is regarded as the parent’s private matter.

Religious Practices

This is another factor that is more a myth than a factor. Orange County family law courts are not allowed to deny custody or visitation to any parent because of their religious beliefs. There is, however, one condition. If the religious beliefs pose a threat to the child, that may be a reason against granting child custody to that parent. Courts are also open to let parents talk to their children about their practices as long as the religious practice involves no kind of illegal activity. The courts follow these rules because the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment protects the religious beliefs of the individual.

Physical Handicap

Can physical disability of a parent be used as a means or argument to stop the child custody being awarded to someone? That’s definitely not the case.  Disability can be considered in combination with other reasons to decide child custody issues, but only basing child custody decisions on disability is forbidden. The thing that courts have to consider is whether the parent can care for the child or not. If the parent, despite his/her disability, can care for the child, there is no reason for the court to not grant him or her child 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 Use Your Social Network To Manage Divorce Stress

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediator lawyers Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDepression and grief are natural reactions to a divorce and it is normal to feel down and strained when you are going through your divorce. Changes in life such as these can be hard to handle for most people. In such situations, it is vital that you reach out for support socially. Social support can make you feel empowered in your life helping you get through such grief stricken situations.

The best way to reach out to the social support is through social networks, which are the hub of the online society. To feel aggrieved is natural in your life after such a drastic change such as a divorce, but the sooner you relieve yourself from this stress the faster you’ll get your life back on track and create a better and happier life. Here are a few steps you can get the social support that’s much needed in your predicament.

Know Your Inner Circle

Your inner circle consists of the people who you talk to about things that are hidden from the world, people with whom you share your stories. One sign of judging who these people are is that they will pick your call even in the middle of the night. An inner circle is usually your parents, siblings, and your closest friends.

Get in Touch with Your Inner Circle

Once you know who your inner circle is, it’s then vital that you reach out to them. Reaching out to them is you making that initial contact with them, a phone call, or the large text message. Remember the people in your inner circle genuinely care for you and the slightest issue that you have will be at the top of their priority whether it be an illness or a fornia divorce.

Tell Them About It

Keeping emotions under wrap for too long can ultimately result in them bottling up and causing conflict confusing, and chaos within you.  There may be emotions of shame coming through your divorce and after it. Yet it’s important to let those emotions out, because only once those emotions are let out will there be space for you to have a new light and fresher perspectives.

Connect With Those That Have Gone Through A Divorce

Social media is a large global community. There are all kinds of people on the social network. It will be comforting for you to reach out and get connected with people who aren’t part of your inner circle but have gone through a divorce. Such individuals are likely to have the best pieces of advice for you and they will prove to be a source of inspiration and guidance since they’ll understand you better than most.

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

How To Manage Your Expectations In Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsCouples that are going through divorce are most commonly worried about their finances and how their financial position isn’t ideal anymore. Irrespective of whatever way you decide to divide the finances, there will always be the nagging feeling that what amount was once used to run one household is now being used to support two. It is a difficult pill to swallow, but it’s important to ensure the well being of you and your partner. Some people come to mediation expecting they will not have to change the amount they spend on themselves or their lifestyles. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

Having said that, if you want financial security to be achieved to the best of your potential, divorce mediation is just the thing for you. For starters, instead of both of you fighting a long litigation battle worth thousands of dollars, it’s cheaper and more effective to come to divorce mediation. Once you decide to mediate your divorce, you should come with reasonable expectations, here are a few tips on how to manage your expectations during divorce mediation:

Understand What Separate Property Is

Separate property is the property that is wholly and solely yours unless some exceptions specific to your case apply. The property that you come into the marriage with or the property that you have inherited during the marriage is only going to be regarded as your separate property. Once you are clear about that and you come into divorce mediation, you should remember that a separate property does not get divided 50/50 between the couples.

Why does it help in curtailing expectations? When you come into divorce mediation, knowing the minor details will help you understand how your property will be treated and you’ll thus have expectations knowing what’s fair and reasonable for you to get.

Review Your Finances

Something that is common among many couples today is that one of the spouses hasn’t looked at the other’s finances for years and is unaware of their current financial position. This spouse has no idea of the income and how the finances of the house are being managed. Sometimes, this lack of knowledge results in them assuming there is a lot more money to be divided than there really is.

How to curtail these misconceptions? When you start your mediation process, your Orange County divorce mediator will tell both of you about each others’ financial position so that during the division of finances there are no lofty expectations leading to disappointment at the end of it.

Learning about your financial position and the details regarding your properties is time spent wisely because these ensure that your expectations are managed. Knowing these facts will help you align your expectations in respect to the black and white numbers that will now be in your knowledge.

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


Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County Divorce Mediator, California Divorce Mediators

Posted By:  Gerald A. Maggio, Divorce Attorney & Mediator

One of the most important things that anyone contemplating or going through a divorce needs to understand is that the current family court system in California is overwhelmed with cases while also dealing with a shortage of funding.  As a result, there are simply not enough judges to handle the number of divorce and family law cases.  The Orange County family law court is estimated to be short at least 8 judges based on the volume of cases that exist.  In addition to that reality, it is important to know that under California state law, domestic violence/restraining order cases have to take priority over all other cases, so those cases have to be heard first on your day of trial.

What does that mean to you as a party in a divorce case?  As a divorce attorney in Orange County, I think the best way to really illustrate the problem is using one of my Orange County child custody cases.  We started trial in our case in the summer of 2013.  After the first day of trial that summer, the next court date that the judge was able to give us to continue our trial was in November 2013, i.e. 3-4 months later.  Day 2 of trial led to Day 3, which did not happen until March 2014.  Unfortunately, since we were only getting 2-3 hours at a time for each trial date, the trial was not completed in March 2014, and so we were given a 4th trial date for July 2014.

The parties and their counsel were going to be able to have at least 2 hours at the July 2014 trial date to continue and hopefully complete their case.  Unfortunately, with the court having double or triple- scheduled other cases for trial for most court dates, we were unable to be heard at all at our trial date after having waited approximately 7 hours in the courtroom!  Any divorce attorney generally has to bill you for that time in court, so a party can easily spend anywhere from $2,000-3,000 for a court appearance where nothing was able to get done.

Wouldn’t you rather spend your money on mediation where YOUR case is the only focus and where actual progress can be made to resolve your case?  Even if your spouse is difficult to deal with, he or she should see the benefit of mediation outweigh spending $4,000-6,000 between the two of you just for one hearing that actually was never able to get in front of the judge and had to be continued, sometimes on several occasions.  In this case, while my client was always amenable to mediation, the other party was not and as a result, we have had to litigate this case.  Courts and litigation should always be a last option.

For more information about California Divorce Mediators or to schedule a consultation, call (888)258-8383 or visit

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


Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce Mediators

By: Gerald Maggio, Esq.

1. Each Party Gets The Opportunity To Be Heard.

In court, the parties generally do not get the ability to talk with each other. In the mediation setting, the more comfortable setting and the process itself allows and promotes the ability to talk with each other, as opposed to avoiding each other and letting their attorneys do all the talking. Mediation promotes conversation, instead of yelling and fighting.

2. The Parties Control the Case, Not The Judge.

Leaving the major issues and decisions affecting your family up to the attorneys or the judge in your case, you maintain the control and the outcome of what happens in your case and in your life. Having such major decisions left to persons with relative little knowledge or stake in your life is an incredible leap of faith that should only be done as an absolute last resort when all else fails in settling your case.

3. Mediated Agreements Tend To be Followed More Than Ones Made By Courts.

Studies have shown that parties that have reached agreements in mediation tend to follow such agreements much more than those made by courts. Why? Because the parties had a direct and committed part in making that agreement, and were a key part in negotiating such agreement.

4. You Can Move On Emotionally Much Sooner.

A mediated resolution of a divorce avoids the emotional turmoil, anger, and hurtful feelings against your spouse, thereby allowing the healing process after the end of a relationship to happen much sooner than an ugly divorce fought in court and the resulting emotional damage.

5. You Can Have A Resolution Of Your Divorce That You Can Be Proud Of.

Yes, you can resolve your divorce case in a way that stays true to your values and who you are as a person, and something that your family and friends will respect you for. Yes, your marriage is coming to an unfortunate end, but that does not mean that you have to handle your case in a way that will leave you with regret.

6. Mediation Saves Money and Emotional Expense.

A mediated divorce saves time, money, and emotions so much more than a normal divorce fought in court which can take months and years to resolve, all at the expense of your wallet, checkbook, and credit cards, not to mention your health and emotional well-being.

For more information or to schedule a consultation about whether divorce mediation is right for you, call California Divorce Mediators at (949) 553-0911 or visit

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