Divorce proceedings are by far one of the most devastating situations anyone will ever go through. Whether you are the one being served or you are the one filing for divorce, it is not uncommon for your emotions to cloud your reasonable judgment. Rational decision-making is never something that comes easily during a divorce, but it is imperative that you take the right steps to protect yourself before proceeding.
5 Things to Do Before the Divorce
No matter how far into the process you are, or if you are just contemplating filing, there are five things you must do in order to protect your best interests:
- Meet with a California divorce attorney and retain them. The most important thing you must do during the divorce process is to meet with a competent attorney. An attorney will advise you regarding the law and your rights – as well as the expected outcome of your particular case. Even if you are thinking about mediation, you should consult an attorney.
- Secure the funds needed for the divorce process. Once you and your spouse have separated, you will be sustaining two households. That means that you will encounter unexpected costs and if you were currently unemployed, that may become even more difficult. Start placing your money into your own account and consider dividing any funds in a joint account equally. See if family members can assist you financially until temporary support can be established.
- Gather financial documents for your attorney. You need to gather as much documentation as you can for your attorney – even if you were not the one who was responsible for the finances. Any financial documents will help your attorney, including tax returns, investment and banking statements, credit card statements, loan information, and paystubs. If you or your spouse has a retirement account, include that information as well. This helps your attorney to better establish the value of your overall marital estate.
- Understand expenses before and after marriage. California is a community property state; therefore, any liabilities created during the marriage will be subject to division. Make a full list of these liabilities for your attorney. Also, start creating a list of your monthly expenses – this will help your attorney better calculate spousal support payments. If there are joint credit cards, consider cancelling them to prevent one spouse from adding to the balance.
- Create a plan for your children. If you and your spouse can sit down and discuss it, create a plan for your minor children. It is best that you both arrive at a mutual decision and cooperate when it comes to custody and visitation. If you cannot discuss it, your attorney will need to petition the court for an Order to determine custody and child support.
Meet With an Orange County Family Law Attorney Today
A divorce is stressful, but with the right attorney by your side, it can become a little easier. Sarieh Law Offices is here to help you through this emotionally trying time. Contact us at 714-542-6200 or contact us online to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.