You don’t have to go though it alone.
In addition to changing your personal relationships and upending your living arrangements, you are also faced with the legal aspects of a divorce, which can be bewildering and frustrating. Luckily, there’s help.
1. Pre-divorce Planning. The best time to protect your assets is before a divorce is filed, when you have better access to records. There are also restraining orders that go into effect automatically once you file for a divorce. You also need to consider what can be done to reduce the conflict level in the future.
2. Choosing the Proper Remedy. Filing for a divorce is only one possible solution, and might not be the best one for you. You might be able to file for a nullity, or separation may be best. You also need to consider requesting other orders at the same time you file, which can make a big difference to you and your family.
3. Responding. You might be on the receiving side of a divorce filing. Maybe your spouse left the house, took the kids, and is now asking for support. You may be feeling lost, alone, and hurt. There are many options to consider when it comes to responding, but chances are, you are in state of emotional distress.
4. Custody and Visitation. The Court’s primary consideration for a Custody and Visitation plan is the best interests of the children, and determining that can be a lengthy and difficult process. The more you and your ex agree on custody and visitation, the more control the two of you of you will have over the final plan. But you don’t need to agree on everything your ex wants, and you don’t need to get pushed around.
5. Property Division. California is a community property state. That means, in general, that anything earned during the marriage is considered a martial asset and will be divided, and anything earned prior and after the marriage won’t be. Some assets such as bank accounts are fairly easy to split up. Other assets, such as pensions, stock options, and houses can be a lot harder to evaluate and divide. Some assets may be subject to reimbursement rights, or maybe part community and part separate.
6. Support. Chances are you’All either be getting or paying some kind of support. You may need support right away in order to provide for your family. You may be a high income earning who is suddenly out of the house, but required to pay a large amount of your income as support. The formulas used for determining child and spousal are complex, and it’s important to get inputs to the calculation.
7. Trials. Hopefully, you will ever get this far. Most divorces are settled long before this stage. But the best way to make sure there isn’t a trial is proper preparation in case one is needed.