From the way that the media depicts divorce, you might imagine that the average person makes a snap decision one day and marches off to file for the end of their marriage. While some people certainly do reach a breaking point from which there is no return, it is also common for a marriage to die a slow death from a thousand tiny wounds or minor offenses.
Many people who decide to divorce have considered the idea for weeks, months or even years before they finally take action. Although it may seem untenable to stay in a marriage where you are not happy, time to plan and protect yourself before filing can go a long way in helping you establish the foundations for a healthier and happier future.
Your ex may not cooperate with what you need once you file
For some people, no matter how bad their relationship has become, the realization that their spouse wants a divorce comes as a shock. Getting served with legal paperwork for a divorce can cause someone to become very angry or emotional. Even if your ex is usually a reasonable and cooperative person, they may not work well with you after they know you want to end the marriage.
Your ex could do things such as withhold financial records or try to hide assets from you to keep you from getting your fair share in the divorce. You don’t want to leave yourself dependent on their goodwill at a time when their emotions toward you may not be positive.
Instead, you should collect all of the necessary financial records and household paperwork before you make your intentions to divorce common knowledge. That way, your ex can’t hide anything or prevent you from accessing documents by adding a password to a file or a computer. Accurate income and financial statements will make it easier for you to request a fair split of your marital assets.
Especially if you have kids, you need to have a plan in place for stable transitions
When you file for divorce, it generally means that either you or your ex will need to leave your marital home and find someplace else to live. It could also mean many other logistical headaches that can make the transition to living separately much more difficult than it needs to be.
Especially if you have children, you need to have a plan in place for handling your living situation and your expenses during the divorce process. Gathering paperwork and preparing to file a request for both child support and spousal support if necessary can help you get ready for the financial reality of separating from a spouse.
Making arrangements to live with close friends or family members immediately after the filing may also be important, as you don’t want to have to rush to find a living situation you can tolerate during the divorce.
Working with an attorney earlier rather than later can help
There are many mistakes that people make in divorce that can come back to haunt them later. From flaunting new relationships on social media to making statements to their ex that hurt them in court, many of the issues that people experience in the early days of divorce could be preventable with good advice.
Discussing your intentions with an experienced California family law attorney will help you avoid making mistakes that could impact the outcome of your pending divorce.