10 Things To Do Before You File for Divorce
If you are considering filing for divorce, keep in mind this simple “to do” list that will help you avoid unnecessary trouble in your California divorce.
1. Do Not Threaten Divorce Unless You are Ready to File: Threatening divorce will hurt your spouse, and they may start making plans to file for divorce, move assets around to accommodate their needs, or position themselves advantageously for child custody, etc. Empty threats before you are ready to file can leave you at a distinct disadvantage.
2. Get Documents Organized: The more efficiently you approach divorce, the more money you save. Offering your attorney, a mess of documents will result in more time and more charges. Take the time to gather the necessary documents, make copies of each, organize them, and know what you are providing. Attempt to be thorough by including past tax returns, bank statements, check registers, investment statements, retirement account statements, employee benefits handbooks, life insurance policies, mortgage documents, financial statement, credit card statements, family trusts, Social Security statements, deeds and titles, stock grants, etc.
3. Make the Children the Top Priority: Focus on how best to reduce the negative impact of divorce on your child’s life. Attempt to stay on civil terms with your spouse for the sake of your children. Plan how you will divide the parenting time with your spouse and never involve the children or ask them to take sides.
4. Set Aside a Few Months of Resources: Having three months’ worth of financial resources can be vital as some spouses will be spiteful once a divorce has been filed and will cut the other spouse off financially. Having three months of financial resources set aside can make all the difference.
5. Obtain Experienced Legal Advice: Don’t cut corners or trust everything your spouse says to you during your divorce. Do your research and find an experienced attorney so you will have a powerful advocate on your side throughout the process.
6. Make Sure You Have Access to Credit: Apply for your own credit card before filing for divorce. Your spouse may cut off access to credit cards used during your marriage, and available credit may be necessary during the divorce.
7. Have a Safety Plan if there is a Risk of Domestic Violence: If there is a history or a risk of domestic violence, have a plan in place to keep yourself and the children ensconced in a safe place. Don’t file an order of protection unless it is necessary. Cases that start with an OOP frequently turn into some of the most highly contested cases.
8. Remember that Possession is 9/10ths of the Law: This adage is not only true of the family home, but it also pertains to the custody of the children. In many situations, the judge will see it as beneficial to the children to retain some semblance of what is “normal.” Therefore it is smart to keep the children in your care and living in your place of residence until a temporary parenting plan is worked out. Get to know your child’s teachers, their doctors, their counselors, and other professionals involved in their life.
9. Have a Support Network: Surround yourself with supportive family and friends.
10. Be Civil and Respectful: Try to be civil and treat your ex with respect. Remember that you will eventually have to attend the same functions such as weddings, graduations, birthday parties, funerals, etc. Avoid making statements based on anger. Never send written communication when you are upset. And know that while this may be a tough experience, you will make it through.
If you need assistance with your California divorce, the experienced divorce attorneys at The Maggio Law firm can help you. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to be powerful advocates for individuals seeking a divorce in California.