Divorce Selfies Encourage Positive Outlook on Breakups

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsTaking “divorce selfies” is becoming increasingly popular among divorcing couples. The trend signals a shift to more amicable splits for the sake of the children involved and encourages a healthy approach to what can be a stressful, emotional process.

Canadian couple Shannon and Chris Neuman filed for divorce at a Calgary, Alberta, courthouse on 8/27/2015. They took a selfie together afterwards and posted it on social media to commemorate the end to their 11-year marriage. The photo has been shared more than 36,000 times on Facebook since then.

Although the couple has been lauded for setting a positive example for co-parents, they have also been criticized for seemingly celebrating their divorce. In the accompanying caption, Shannon Neuman explained that she and her ex-husband were smiling in the photo because they knew they were doing “something extraordinary” for their two children. She wrote, “We have respectfully, thoughtfully and honorably ended our marriage in a way that will allow us to go forward as parenting partners for our children … so they will never have to choose.”

Now that the photo has gone viral, Shannon Neuman hopes the couple’s co-parenting strategy inspires others. She has encouraged other divorcing spouses to focus on their love for their kids rather than negative emotions regarding their ex-partner.

By using a lighthearted way to announce what is often a heartbreaking situation, this couple is showing that divorce does not have to be ugly and acrimonious.  They have chosen to treat each other with respect and embrace the fact that they can move forward with the next chapter of their lives, putting the well-being of their kids at the forefront of every decision they make.

Moreover, the decision to co-parent is just the first step. Achieving an effective co-parenting method is not an easy process. Each parent has to consistently work together to overcome challenges and put their personal differences aside. That way, kids do not feel torn or compelled to choose a side.

For more information about this topic, see the following:

  • http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/divorcing-couples-snap-happy-selfies-announce-break-ups/story?id=33483075
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/this-couple-just-took-one-hell-of-a-divorce-selfie_55e61b19e4b0b7a9633ab82d
  • https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/couples-viral-divorceselfie-shows-us-how-to-128117027862.html
  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2015/09/03/on-the-viral-rise-of-divorce-selfies-and-the-death-of-traditional-marriage/

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

Celebrity Divorce Brings Tax Issues to Forefront

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsIn a recent high-profile divorce, former “Baywatch” actress Pamela Anderson received $1 million in her settlement with poker player Rick Salomon.

The ex-couple, who had announced their marriage in January 2014, released a joint statement. “Public divorces can be harsh and cruel — we apologize to our families and friends for any hurt and embarrassment we have caused — we have come to an amicable agreement and are moving on,” they said.

Celebrity splits, including this one, tend to be prolonged litigated battles in which money matters take center stage. Divorce calls for skillful navigation through financial challenges as they emerge, often coupled with complicated tax rules.

Prior to reaching the settlement, Anderson had alleged that Salomon was a California resident who was evading taxes on his poker winnings of $40 million through his residency in Nevada, which does not have state taxes. She has now agreed not to challenge his residency.

Communication is essential when addressing finances, and mediation allows this to take place. Each spouse needs to consider their future taxes when dividing property. To avoid tax disputes and audits, divorcing couples should to come to an agreement about child support, alimony or property settlement.

In divorce, getting high basis property is better than low basis properly as splitting assets with a combination of both high and low bases allows each spouse to equalize their respective tax burdens in the future.

The IRS Publication 504 states that there is no limit on the amount of money or property that can be transferred tax-free between a divorcing couple. A property settlement is not tax deductible, while spousal support is tax deductible to the payer and taxable income to the recipient.

However, the situation is different with child support as it cannot be claimed as a tax deduction by the payer. Both spouses should consider their tax obligations thoroughly, which is why divorce mediation is a good option for divorcing couples because it allows them to determine what works best for them.

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

The Right Time to Bring Up Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County Family Mediation - Divorce Mediation; California Divorce MediationDivorce mediation is not a process that is time barred or opens for a limited time only. As long as your divorce case hasn’t had its first formal trial, you and your spouse can opt for a mediated solution to your divorce. The important thing about mediation though is that it is voluntary and needs consent from both parties.

Divorce mediation will depend on the way your propose divorce and the timing of your proposal. This blog will talk about the best times to propose Orange County divorce mediation to your spouse. Divorce has many branches. There are many aspects to a divorce. There is a financial divorce, an emotional divorce, a parenting divorce and a social divorce. Each of these has their own specific timing which will play a part in your spouse assenting to or dissenting to your mediation proposal.

Factors that determine When to bring up Mediation

·         Emotional

Whenever one of the spouses proposes the idea of divorce, the other spouse goes into an emotional divorce phase, where their first reaction is to go into a state of denial. Once this denial dilutes and reality starts to set in a spouse may experience feelings of anguish, angst, anger and sadness. This will not be the best time to propose mediation. Only once they come to terms with the idea, in a state of acceptance, should you propose mediation.

·         Financial

When there couples are going through a relatively tight financial spot and are looking to make important financial decisions. This is the best time to suggest Orange County divorce mediation for resolution of major issues. When both of the spouses are not comfortable with their finances, the low cost of mediation will generally pull your spouse towards itself.

·         Legal

As far as the legal aspect of divorce is concerned, you need to make sure the suggestion for divorce is made before the petition has been filled. You can use the reasoning of legal costs, maneuvering and lawyer expenses as reasons they should opt out of litigation and go for Orange County Mediation. Telling them how mediation will give them the authority to decide the issues for themselves instead of having to rely on a judge could help sway their decision.

·         Social

Does your spouse have meddling friends that seem to have an opinion on everything? Social acceptance of divorce is the last stage of divorce before the actual divorce happens. Friends and family are often under the influence that litigation and opposed to mediation is a chance to get a larger portion of the assets. Before such friends harden the viewpoint of your spouse against Orange County divorce mediation, you need to speak to your spouse about it.


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 Infidelity in Divorce Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediator; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce mediation in Orange County is not usually about the mediator asking the parties the reason for divorce. This is primarily because California is a no-fault divorce state, which makes the parties’ past almost irrelevant as far as mediation is concerned. Yet, there are some situations where the clients are willing to share the reasons of their decision to get an Orange County divorce with the mediators. One of the major reasons that clients share the reasons with their mediators for the ending of their marriage is infidelity.

Infidelity is one of the most fatal blows to a marriage, since it is not only an act of dishonesty, but it is likely to break the other’s trust to almost irreparable level. This is because Infidelity is an act that comes with a lot of emotions. This means that this reason has an impact on divorce mediation like no other reason is likely to do. The most important issue that infidelity creates in the process of Orange County mediation is the lack of trust that it creates. This is an important aspect, since the whole process of divorce mediation is based on mutual cooperation and consensus, and lack of trust is likely to hamper all that.

These dangers and impacts of infidelity on divorce mediation have warranted the introduction of safeguards to handle such situations. They are:


The first thing to do before the process of mediation starts is to make sure that the client is able to get through mediation or not. This is done through the use of screening. Before the start of the mediation process, the clients have a meeting with the mediator. It is only after the meeting that mediators are in a position to decide if the clients are up for mediation or not.

Full Disclosure

The key to having a healthy and successful divorce mediation process is making sure that there are full disclosures by each of the spouse before the mediation process begins. Full disclosure, simply put, is a declaration by the spouses of their assets, financial position, debts, expenses, and total incomes. The validity of the claims is shown thrown additional documents that are attached with the declaration. This allows regaining the trust of the estranged party on the process.

The Continued Presence of the Mediator

When you have two spouses in the room alone, one who has been cheated on the other and they try to talk, that is more often than not a recipe for a total disaster. To avoid such sticky situations in the mediation process, as it is made sure that the divorce mediator is present in the process at all times to make sure the clients are facilitated in their communications and resolution of their issues.

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

Questions You Should Ask Your Divorce Mediator

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorney; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce is one of the most painful and uncertain subject in a couples’ life. When it comes to divorce, there are two ways that a couple can choose to carry it out: litigation and mediation. When a couple decides to get a divorce, there are lots of uncertainties with regards to the procedure and other rules and regulations that may or may not apply to them. If you have chosen Orange County divorce mediation, then you are likely to be uncertain about the future procedure. In such situations it is important for you to talk to your mediator and pose queries regarding your doubts to them.

Here are a few of the questions that you should ask your mediator in determining their ability and experience to effectively mediate your case.

How Do I Get the Other Spouse to Agree with the Use of a Mediator?

This is a common question that is posted in front of most mediators. More often than not, there are disagreements between spouses on the procedure to adopt for their divorce. The best way to get the other party to agree to divorce mediation is to explain the pros and cons of the procedure to the other spouse. It is important to highlight that mediation is a process that depends entirely on the decisions of the two spouses. Being in charge of one’s decisions is one reason that can be used to persuade the other party to agree to divorce mediation.

Are Mediators Regulated by Some Code of Professional Conduct?

While there may be no official code of conduct that all mediators follow from a to z, most top Orange County mediators are part of institutions that have their own separate code of conduct that mediators need to adopt when they are working. One of the most important aspects of this code of conduct is the clause of confidentiality which all mediators are required to follow.

How Can I Check the Mediator’s Competency?

The competency and credentials of a mediator are important considerations to make and hence this is one of the most important questions you should ask. The easiest way to make sure of this is by asking the divorce mediator for his resume or certificates or professional qualifications. The key things to look for in the mediator are considerations for assessing his/her suitability for the mediation of a divorce:

  • What is the level of experience of the mediator?
  • What has been the feedback that they have received from previous clients?
  • How respectable and accepted are their decisions?
  • Does the mediator charge a fair price?
  • Has he/she been mired in a controversy?
  • What area does his competency lie in?

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

Divorce Mediation: What You Should Expect From Your Ex-Spouse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce is one of the hardest times for a person, with emotional traumas and mental setbacks being one of the few things that are usually encountered by spouses going through a divorce. Ending a relation that was started with the aim of it lasting a lifetime is hard. Different spouses react to this situation differently. Spouses can seem aggressive, aggrieved, restless or calm, and overtly funny, etc. The behavior of one’s spouse is important in the divorce resolution cases whether it be in courts or through divorce mediation.

In divorce mediation, the spouse’s behavior takes up a whole different level of importance. Mediation is a process that involves cooperation and coordination between the spouses to reach a conclusion. Ideally, mediation requires both the spouses at ease and willing to work towards a solution, to be effective. In reality though, different spouses tend to act differently in Orange County divorce mediation solutions.

Here, we are going to talk about the different situations and how spouses are seen to react in each.

The Financial Muscle

Was your spouse the one who was always under control of your marriage? Did he/she earn the most in the household? If the answer to either of those questions is in the affirmative, chances are that your spouse craves power and is accustomed to authority. Spouses with such tendencies are often resistant to any kind of change in their life without their approval, let alone divorce.

A divorce mediation is likely to result in a restless, dominant, and overpowering behavior from your spouse, trying to sustain their control over you. This is one of the most common situations and it should not deter your decisions. People with such behavior are likely to prefer litigation to death, but trying and talking to them may result in them trying mediation.

Instable Emotional State

Divorce as previously mentioned is a painful process in itself. Add an emotionally unstable spouse, and the divorce proceedings threaten to boil over and become dangerous. Divorce mediation is a process that depends on reasoning, logic, and immense resolve to try and seek resolution. Spouses that are emotionally unstable are likely to have a distinct sense of revenge, and lack of logic.

Emotional instability can result from several factors, which may include hate towards the other spouse, a feeling of un–fulfillment, or a sense of betrayal. When a person is in that state of mind, it is better to consult a psychiatrist before any kind of divorce proceedings whether they is divorce mediation or litigation can be started. The lack of mental incapacity at a later date can be sighted as a reason by the spouse’s lawyer to annul any agreements, resolutions, and decisions that are taken at this point.

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

Same-Sex Prenuptial Agreements: Special Considerations?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsIn California, same-sex couples can benefit from all of the legal rights and protections that the state offers to married couples.  As a result, many same-sex couples in California believe that the creation of a prenuptial agreement involves generally the same issues and considerations as it would for any other couple.

But there are many critical reasons that same-sex couples – even those without children – should take the time to consult with a family law attorney before the marriage.  In a national context, married same-sex couples still face a number of legal complexities that other married couples do not face.  Carefully-drafted premarital agreements can help guard against those complexities.

Many U.S. states still do not recognize same-sex marriage.  And just one of those states, Missouri, recognizes same-sex marriages legally performed in other states*  (*as of the time that this article was written).  The other states that do not recognize same-sex marriage also refuse to recognize many of the legal rights of married same-sex couples, including the right to divorce.

Same-sex couples married in California may obtain a divorce from the California courts if they reside in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage.  But the enforcement of a prenuptial agreement for same-sex couples residing in those states can be problematic, especially if the enforceability of the agreement rests on the recognition of a marriage or a divorce.

Fortunately, this issue can be put to rest at the outset through an alternate method of drafting the premarital agreement.  The American Bar Association (ABA) recommends that the agreement be drafted as a contract that is enforceable regardless of whether the marriage is recognized or not. The result would be a contract recognized in all fifty states. This alternative way of drafting a prenuptial agreement should be discussed with a family law attorney experienced in addressing legal issues facing same-sex couples.

Same-sex couples who have children or who are planning a family should also consult an attorney prior to the marriage in order to understand how the family can be protected through provisions in the prenuptial agreement in case the family moves or travels extensively out-of-state.

Same-sex couples may also want to take the time to create additional legal protections before the marriage, beyond the prenuptial agreement.  The creation of a health care proxy may be especially important for same-sex couples, as the ABA also notes.  A married same-sex couple traveling to or residing in a state that does not recognize the marriage may face difficulties in a medical emergency – family visitation rights and decision-making rights may not be afforded to the spouse by hospital staff. A pre-existing health care proxy may help afford many of these rights.

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

Mediation the Best Way for Self-Preservation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen some people are thinking of mediating their divorce, some friends or family might say things like “If you don’t fight for your rights, you’re giving up” or “If you choose divorce mediation, you’re automatically making your partner win.” People in the process of choosing divorce mediation or going through mediation probably heard remarks made to them similar to the ones just mentioned by their relatives and friends. Is choosing divorce mediation really a way for the other person to give up or give in? No, that’s a common misconception that most people have about divorce mediation. In reality, it is the complete opposite of what people perceive it to be.

Divorce Mediation—A Way to Cope

If you pick divorce mediation, you’re not writing off your rights, but are bypassing all the mess that comes with litigation. Instead of spending your time at court quarrelling, you’re seated in a room, calmly discussing what needs to be done and how the property in question needs to be divided fairly. In the room, you’re in control of what you think you should get.

After a few productive sessions, you will be able to come to a resolution quicker and safer, as you’re not putting each other in the spot. Plus, it’s a cheaper alternative to litigation, which is one of its main selling points. During mediation, you will be able to understand each other’s point of view and from where each person is coming from. Does litigation let you make fair judgments about your future?  Litigation will drag you down with it, but mediation will empower you. So, how can anyone label litigation as an indication that you have given up.

Why Divorce Mediation isn’t a Sign of Giving Up

Divorce mediation will assist you come to a conclusion that’s agreed upon by both parties. It will let two people warring with each other see the bigger picture and the impact of their decision will have on each other. You will be able to handle your problems with bliss and harmony, which is what you really want after a divorce or maybe you want to look at each other with disdain the rest of your lives. More probably, the first choice will resonate with both of you, as who doesn’t prefer for their matters to be settled peacefully.

Divorce Mediation Is a Stress-Free Method to Get Out of Your Divorce

Divorce mediation is a stress-free method to get you out of your divorce. Through mediation, you will be able to talk to each other about issues plaguing your marriage from the start. It will help you come to an understanding of what to do with the property such as the house or a car after your marriage dissolves. The best part is that you will avoid all types of stress that results when you go through dissolution of a marriage.

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

How to Protect Yourself Financially During a Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsIn most Orange County divorce cases, there are a lot of different complex things involved, which are intricately linked to the separation and future of the spouses. In such cases, one of the aspects involved is financial. Finances play a vital part in the everyday life of any person, and when it comes to divorce, this issue is one of the most hotly contested ones. Spouses often tend to complain of financial issues during and after divorce, and the best way to avoid such situations is to take the necessary steps to protect yourself during the divorce process.

Here are a few tips on how you can protect yourself financially during divorce proceedings:

·        Make Sure You Get Your Joint Credit Cards Cancelled

Cancelling your joint credit cards is one of the most important steps to try and protect yourself financially during divorce. When you have made up your mind to get your credit cards cancelled, make sure you keep your spouse uninformed about the developments. Any information of this act before hand can leave enough time for them to charge hundreds to thousands of dollars for themselves.  Inform them of the cancellation after it has been done, and tell them that you intended on doing so because the joint nature of the card meant you were equally entitled to pay for them.

·        Make Sure You Take Care Of The Joint Bank Accounts

One of the most common acts done by spouses in divorce proceedings is to clean up the joint bank accounts and hit the other spouse hard with this act financially. To avoid this issue, the best way is to move to another bank and open a new individual amount and take the cash that is rightfully yours from the joint account into the new individual account. After you have done so, it is important that you notify the other spouse of this through a letter. In most cases, the courts will have no problems in such an act as long as it can be proved that the fortune transferred was rightfully yours.

·        Have a Talk about Extra Property and Expenses

One of the oldest ways to make sure your finances are protected is by cutting back on expenses. You need to, at some point or another, sit down with your spouse and talk about the unnecessary expenses and how they should be eliminated. An example of unnecessary expenses can be extra telephone lines and cable TV. It is also important to talk to your spouse about the extra property that is deemed unwanted by both, and whether it should be disposed off.  All such properties like cameras and extra vehicles will be deemed community property and it will be an uphill task to sell them.

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

10 Tips to Keep Your Kids Out of Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediator attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen it comes to kids, almost all parents are protective and want to ensure that their kids are left without the greatest worries in the world. Taking that into perspective, when parents decide to go through a divorce, parents want their children to stay immune from the effects of the divorce. This is vital, because one of the parties that is heavily affected by divorce proceedings are the children. It is not uncommon for children of broken marriages to end up with several emotional and psychological issues and so it is vital that parents try and work to keep their children away from their divorce.

Here are 10 tips to make sure your kids are kept away from the effects of your Orange County divorce proceedings:

  1. It is important that whenever you talk to your children, there is no mention of your former spouse in the negative sense. Irrespective of your feelings towards your spouse, the kids will still regard them as part of their family and such comments are likely to affect them mentally.
  2. It is best for you to avoid any kind of arguments with your divorced spouse. Arguments are never perceived healthily by children, and for them to see their two favorite companions in life fight it out will be mental torture.
  3. Don’t talk about legal or financial issues in front of your child.
  4. One of the worst things you can do is use your child as a means to communicate with your ex spouse. To make sure your child is kept away from the toxic effects of your divorce case, it is important that normal communication continues between you and your spouse.
  5. Don’t ask your child questions about your spouse. Kids are suspicious and the wee bit of over indulgence that you show will alert them that you are using them as a spy on their other parent.
  6. Make sure your child meets the other spouse whenever they want. Using child visitation and custody as a weapon leaves your child vulnerable to the toxic effects of divorce.
  7. Don’t tell your child they have to decide who to live with when their parents get divorced. Such a statement is likely to be interpreted by the child as their time of choosing between both parents and that will never go down well with them.
  8. Make it your Job to categorically tell your children that the separation is by no means their fault.
  9. Take your visitations seriously and arrive on time always. After divorce, you should make your child an even greater priority. Not showing up on visitations leaves the children devastated.
  10. Take interest in the activities, working, and conversations of your child during your custodial time. It is integral for you to show your child affection and try to make up for the torment of divorce.

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