There are situations where spouses see a divorce coming for years, and other times when one spouse is completely blind-sided when they are served with papers. If you find yourself planning for a divorce, here are six tips that can help you move through the process as effectively and efficiently as possible.
1. Don’t Panic
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the entire divorce process. While it is certainly a huge adjustment in your life, many others have lived through it, and you will too. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you do not have to process your entire divorce in a day either. Arm yourself with information; there are several online resources available that can help you understand what to expect when getting divorced in California. Do not get wrapped up in gossip or other people’s second-hand understanding of how the law works. Talk to a reputable family law attorney to understand how California family law applies to your situation, and your options for moving forward.
2. Don’t Be Intimidated
It’s common for one spouse, often the spouse with the greater control over the finances in a relationship to suggest that a divorce lawyer is just a big waste of money. This is simply an intimidation tactic. Both parties in a divorce should have legal representation and there should be open communication about assets and bank accounts. Your financial situation should be calculated under California family law, not handed to you by your spouse.
3. Understand the Value of Assets
Houses, boats and cars are all seen as assets, but they also all have great costs to protect and maintain. Often one spouse will be so focused on “winning” a piece of property like a house or a cabin that they have no plan for how they will pay for it or take care of it in the future. Divorce isn’t about winning and losing; it’s about responsibly dividing the assets of two people in a manner that is hopefully beneficial to both of them.
4. Don’t Accept Numbers that Haven’t Been Reviewed
We touched on this above under intimidation, but it bears repeating; do not accept numbers that have been given to you by your spouse. We see cases every year where one spouse will be ready to accept a number that “seems fair” when in reality key assets like retirement accounts or trust payments haven’t been taken into consideration. In plain language, they were about to get ripped off. When you have an experienced lawyer on your side a full and fair financial review can take place so that support numbers are all above board.
5. Make a Realistic Budget
After the divorce, both spouses become their own financial entities. For people who have been married since they were relatively young this can be the first time they are facing certain financial responsibilities like paying a mortgage or income taxes. Those who have little experience with finances and money-savvy spouses alike both can benefit from a well thought out budget. You are starting a new life after your divorce, don’t make the mistake of falling into financial trouble due to lack of planning.
6. Rely on Sound Legal Representation
Hire a divorce lawyer that you feel comfortable with and that is focused on getting the best outcome for you and your family. The decisions that are made during your divorce will affect your financial well-being and your day to day life for years to come. Investing in quality representation and getting the best possible outcome can pay dividends in the future.
If you find yourself facing divorce in the Beverly Hills area and would like to arrange a consultation with the family law attorneys at Michael Maguire & Associates please contact us via email or call the office at 310-275-4444.