If you are currently in a situation where you feel it's time to ask your spouse for a divorce, it would be wise to take a moment to and evaluate your situation before officially letting your spouse know your decision. It's crucial to make sure you are emotionally and financially ready for what will happen next. The decision to pursue a divorce is emotional and should not be made when you feel emotionally overwhelmed.
You need to ensure there is no chance at reconciliation before you file for divorce. After you serve your spouse with a divorce petition, it's hard to turn back at that point. Family law courts in California can grant a divorce even in a situation where only one spouse wants to end a marriage.
Clearly, making a decision to divorce your spouse can be a life-changing event. It will have a significant impact on your family, especially when children are involved. It will also impact your finances and personal life and disrupt your daily routine.
In other words, before you just immediately jump head first into getting a divorce, you have to make sure you have done all you need to prepare for filing your case. This includes either reconsidering your decision to divorce or prepare yourself for the divorce process.
If you are sure that you want to end your marriage, then consider what it will look like practically for you and your family. Important life events require planning and preparation.
If you are planning to ask your spouse for a divorce, there are important steps to take to make sure your future is secure, and you are prepared for the different situations you might encounter in the process.
A Los Angeles family law attorney can assist you in taking these important steps. To give readers a better understanding on the steps to take before asking your spouse for a divorce, our California divorce attorneys are providing an overview below.
Hire a Divorce Attorney
You should consult with more than one lawyer before you decide to file for divorce. You need to find an attorney with whom you are comfortable with, and one that understands your goals. A good divorce lawyer will be able to listen to the circumstances of your situation and be able to provide practical solutions.
Divorce and family law attorneys will come with different experience level and prices. If your divorce is likely to be contested and deal with substantial assets, you need to make sure they are qualified to handle this type of situation.
You do not want to go into your divorce unprepared from a legal aspect. Having legal representation when you broach the subject of divorce with your spouse can help protect your interests no matter what happens.
Your Los Angeles family law lawyer will review your circumstances, your finances, and your family dynamics to help you take other appropriate steps to prepare for your divorce. You attorney can help with you with the required forms to file for a divorce or separation.
Collect Financial and Other Important Documents
The divorce process requires a lot of documentation to prove assets and debts as well as other crucial points. Collecting these documents prior to asking for a divorce can be helpful as your spouse may be upset at your request and hide or destroy the records.
Though your attorney could have the court subpoena the documents, it will be much easier and less time-consuming if you have them in your possession, to begin with. You should gather documents such as:
- Any prenuptial agreements
- Tax returns
- Bank statements
- Proof of your current income
- Retirement account statements
- Mortgage statements
- Property tax statements
- Documents showing that you own stocks and bonds
- Loan documents
- Utility bills
- Other documents you have showing what assets you have and what you owe
Determine Your Ideal Child Custody Arrangement
If you have children, then their custody situation will be a primary concern when getting a divorce. You need to understand that you will probably will be required to share the custody of your children.
This means your need to review your schedule, spouse's schedule, and the children's schedule, and other obligations in order to determine a reasonable schedule for child custody. It's best to reach an agreement with your spouse that will give each of you time with the children. Otherwise, you are forcing a family court judge to make the decision.
You will likely end up negotiating a custody agreement with your spouse that will not be entirely ideal. As stated, it is still a good idea to sit down and look at schedules for you and your spouse and your children's schedules to determine what kind of custody arrangement might work best for everyone. Think about where you might be willing to compromise and what the best arrangement for your kids might be.
Open Your Own Financial Accounts
Depending on how your financial accounts were set up, such as joint accounts and credit cards, you might need to close them. Don't put yourself in a situation where your spouse can make large purchases in your name or withdraw all the money from your bank account.
Ask you divorce lawyer for the best advice on whether you should divide the accounts, close all them, or just leave then the same before actually filing for divorce. In order to keep your money separate and protected, it might be wise to open your own financial accounts.
Talk to your attorney about how much money you might be able to withdraw out of your joint accounts. You will need money to pay for legal assistance and other expenses related to your divorce. Additionally, if you have not already established your own credit, now is the time to begin doing so.
Buying and Selling Property in a California Divorce
Typically, at the beginning of the legal divorce process, the judge will issue an order that prevents you or your spouse from buying or selling any property that belongs to the marriage.
While this is an important action as it keeps some spouses from expending money and property out of spite for the divorce, it can make life difficult for other couples.
If you need a new car or are ready to let go of your rental property, now is the time to make these decisions and act on them. Just be sure you can justify your actions to the judge if they are questioned.
For example, you can't really justify draining your joint bank account. If you aren't sure you can justify buying or selling something, be sure to discuss it first with your Los Angeles family law attorney.
Don't Move Out of Home Without Speaking to Your Attorney
You need to decide whether you want to stay in the same house with your spouse during the divorce. Perhaps you want your spouse to move out.
Make a decision on your living situation before asking for a divorce. While you may be tempted to pack your bags and move out when you tell your spouse you want a divorce, slow down because it may not be the best thing for your family in the long run.
Wanting to get away and start moving on with your life is only natural, but if you leave the family home now, you may not ever be able to live in it again. You may not be able to claim this property again. Discuss the specifics of your case with your attorney to determine if moving out now is right for you or not.
Contact our Los Angeles Divorce Lawyers for Help
You need a family law lawyer in Los Angeles who understands your unique needs and can help you best prepare for what is to come. The attorneys at our firm have years of experience helping divorce clients from all different walks of life and financial situations.
We can help you avoid divorce mistakes and prepare you for what is to come so that you can have an uneventful divorce that meets your needs. Divorce comes with a lot of legal and emotional consequences. If you are considering a divorce, our experienced family law attorneys can help you.
Furman & Zavatsky are Los Angeles divorce and family law attorneys located at 15821 Ventura Blvd #690 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (818) 528-3471.