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How to Prepare for a Divorce

Going through a divorce is not an easy process for the spouses and even more so when children are involved. There are many factors to consider, such as division of property, disposing of assets, custody of children, and generally how to move forward as separate entities. Divorce proceedings often turn acrimonious, and this necessitates hiring legal counsel to guide you. San Diego Divorce Attorney is competent at handling all types of divorce cases, and we have prepared this blog to help you make informed decisions as you prepare for divorce.

  1. Research on the Divorce Process

Most people who decide to divorce are not prepared for this life-altering decision, and the couple is not typically on the same page. Hurt feelings and misgivings that may have triggered the separation, often cloud people's judgment, which makes it harder to handle things amicably. The lack of preparedness, not to mention one party being blindsided, turns divorce proceedings into competitive contests where either side wants to emerge the winner.

If your former partner is smart enough, they will negotiate the best possible deal at your expense, and you may lose valuable assets that you worked so hard for together or before the union. As experienced divorce attorneys, we highly advise clients to research extensively on how divorce things may play out before making this crucial decision. This journey starts with nailing down the reason for terminating this union.

Under California law, there are only two grounds for divorce:

  • Irreconcilable differences – these are the reasons that led to the irreversible damage of the marriage
  • Incurable insanity – the court will need proof of this claim, and this includes competent health or psychiatric evidence that the spouse was inoperable insane during filing and remained that way.
  1. Understand How Divorce Affects Children

Divorcing your lifelong partner is not an easy decision, so it is imperative you think about the long-term effects it will have on you and your family. After making repeated attempts to save your marriage from falling apart, you decide to go separate ways in the interest of everyone. When children are involved, how will this divorce affect them now and in the coming years? Divorce has wide-reaching effects on children even when things go as amicably as they can be, and both parents get equal custody. You must be well-versed with the following short-term and long-lasting effects of divorce so you can protect your child and help them cope better.

Short Term Effects of Divorce

In the short term, children of parents who are divorcing or have divorced are impacted in the following ways:

  • Irritability and mood swings – these are common behaviors among children, even when interacting with parents and familiar people. Nonetheless, children in homes where parents are always fighting, and then they divorce tend to withdraw from social interactions, opting to push down their feelings.
  • Anxiety – once the divorce is completed, young children are susceptible to feeling anxious as they depend on both parents. If one parent gets primary custody, the child sees the other parent at limited times. Being shuffled back and forth between the two homes is not fun, and conflicting schedules make things even harder.
  • Disillusionment – when divorcing parents are so wrapped up in their anger and frustration; children are left without adequate emotional support to help them fathom what is happening. Their lives are changing before their eyes and what they imagined to be their safe anchor has been disintegrated and denying or limiting access to one parent only exacerbates things.

Long-Term Effects of Divorce include:

  • Behavioral problems – this could be developing a short temper at home, school, or other social settings, and if this is not addressed correctly, the child may become a social misfit.
  • Substance abuse – this bad habit may ensue as teens seek ways of letting out their anger and frustration, and it could also happen if the primary parent is not keenly watching them. For instance, the parent may have to work long hours to earn a livable wage.
  • Stunted progress – this can be at school or college as the children are distracted by what is happening at home, and they may lose their zest to compete and earn high grades. Declined ability to apply themselves hurts their academic chances, thus impeding their socio-economic position.
  • Failed relationships – research surmises that daughters of divorced parents stand a 60% chance of being divorced themselves while the rate for sons is 35%. Based on this deduction, it is apparent that children of divorce suffer enduring psychological effects that manifest upon reaching adulthood.
  1. Hire a Divorce Attorney 

Preparing for a divorce can be confusing, and this paves the way for mistakes that could hurt you once the process is underway. You will feel emotionally drained, and you still have to attend to other responsibilities such as work and taking care of children.

These trying times necessitate hiring an experienced divorce attorney to guide you, so you know the dos and don'ts before filing. San Diego Divorce Attorney has a wealth of experience mediating even the most acrimonious or costly divorces in the state. The law allows you to represent yourself in court, but here are the benefits of hiring a professional divorce attorney:

  • Stress-free divorce – as mentioned previously, planning and going through with the divorce is a tedious process that comes with a great deal of emotional stress. By hiring an attorney, they push for your best interest so you can focus your attention on other pressing matters like work. Even if the filing was a mutual decision, fighting for a fair share of settlement may still be complicated, so don't gamble with your life.
  • Expert advice – professional lawyers are equipped with the necessary information about divorce, and they borrow from their experience handling various kinds of separations. With a true professional by your side, you will have unrestricted access to their legal advice that will come in handy when deliberating on finances and custody litigations.
  • Familiar with California law – San Diego Divorce Attorney is knowledgeable in all things about California regulations on divorce, including any amendments. Hiring just any other lawyer is a bad bet, so allow our team of experts to guide you on California law.
  • Eliminate errors – there are many documents needed to file and go through a divorce, including filling out forms issued by the court. For instance, when it comes to the division of assets, missing supporting documents like the deed to a vacation home could cost you that property. With an expert lawyer handling things, you can rest assured that everything is done right.
  • Speed-up the process – this unrelenting progression of the legal system can take anywhere in the spectrum of six months to years to conclude, and this is costly by the minute. An experienced divorce attorney will do everything they can to speed things up so you can start your new life soonest possible. They provide the necessary documents when required by the court, so you get a hearing sooner. More so, they know what details are essential and what to leave out to avoid unwarranted courtside drama.
  1. Examine your Income versus Expenditure

Getting a divorce inevitably has a direct impact on your finances as a couple and the family. Once you retain an attorney, they will advise you to start monitoring your expenditure versus total income, so you get a clear picture of how money works. If only one parent contributes economically, you need to know exactly how much is coming in, how much is spent (and on what), and how much remains. Apart from buying groceries, there are other expenses like mortgages, car loans, credit card debts, etc. that you must take into account.

According to Lili Vasileff, the author of Money and Divorce, it is crucial that you attribute household expenses to the rightful person: are they your husband's, your wife's, or your children's? For instance, the monthly gym expenses could belong to the wife, weekend tuition expenses belong to the kids, and the golf lessons costs belong to the husband. Make a column of fixed and discretionary expenses and indicate to whom they belong. Get as granular as possible and then identify where you can cut back on costs.

  1. Take Stock of Personal Assets

One of the components of divorce is separating assets between the spouses, and things tend to get murky, especially where there is no clear-cut identification of who owns what. A concise reckoning of your assets and liabilities is key to successful disentanglement on the financial front. When there is just one breadwinner or one party ceded financial control of the family's income, it is time to reacquaint yourself, so you are not duped.

Irrespective of who is filling for divorce, the other partner will likely be hurt and therefore doing all they can to leave you destitute whether they earned the assets or not. Your finances will be affected, but you can take measures to control the level of devastation, and this starts by knowing the market value of your joint assets. If you have separate assets or assets you suspect could be hidden, find them and know their worth.

The Moore Marsden claim may come into effect when one spouse is the sole owner of a property, but there are community earnings such as rent, or mortgage payments happened inside the union.

  1. Tax Implications and Possible Settlements

No matter how fair and just the asset division is, they may be subject to taxes that could reduce what you take home by a considerable margin. Assets like savings accounts are tax-free, and so you can cash out and get full value, but a retirement account is subject to tax consequences. An astute financial advisor will investigate the tax implications on all assets, such as property taxes on your primary residence. Alimony is taxable income, whereas child support is not.

In addition to combing through your finances, collecting vital information, your attorney will help you establish pre- and post-divorce budgets so you can safeguard your investments. They will also synthesize plausible divorce settlement options so you have an inkling into what you could get once the marriage dissolves. Formulating a post-divorce financial outlay is essential, especially if you intend to pursue sole custody.

  1. Timing is Everything

Involving a qualified attorney early on, even before filing a petition yields many benefits that will make your case go smoother. After hearing the details of your case, including what led you to contemplate dissolving your marriage, your divorce attorney will advise on who should file the petition and the most suitable time. Take your time to recoup your thoughts so you can see the big picture, even when you are incredibly hurt.

If you and your partner don't wish to engage in lengthy legal battles, as this hurts the children, our team of divorce experts is also certified transformative mediators who can handle the separation amicably.  We can de-escalate tensions so the process is less adversarial and everyone remains objective. In the larger scheme of things, your future and that of your children is the foremost priority, so you want things done right.

Your attorney will advise on how you will access the settlement and when to get temporary restraining orders on checking and savings accounts. Whether parties remain levelheaded or things get combative, you need a qualified attorney by your side, so you don't cave or agree to unfair terms.

  1. Understand California Laws on Divorce

Every state has regulations on how divorce proceedings must happen when it comes to dividing assets and determining the custody of minors. California refers to divorces as Dissolution of Marriage, and this petition can be filed with the Supreme Court of where either spouse has resided continually in the past three months. Once you register for disillusionment, the petitioner (you) must serve the respondent (your spouse) with copies of the Petition and other documents. California laws stipulate a mandatory six months from the day of filling to when the divorce is granted.

Summary Dissolution of Marriage

A summary dissolution refers to an efficient process of getting divorced, which eliminates the need for a trial or hearing. To qualify for a summary disillusionment, the partners must meet the following requirements:

  1. You must have been married not longer than five years on the date the Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage is filed
  2. You or your estranged spouse must have resided in the state in the past three months
  3. You don't have children, adopted or born before or during the marriage, and the wife is not pregnant during the filing
  4. None of the parties has or has an interest in any real estate property
  5. You don't have community assets valued higher than $38,000, without factoring in automobiles
  6. Neither spouse has separate assets valued higher than $38,000, apart from outstanding debts on the property or car loans
  7. You don't owe more than $6,000 in debts accrued from the date of the marriage, but this excludes loans for vehicles
  8. You both concur that nobody will be awarded spousal support
  9. You both signed an agreement that shares community property and debts accrued inside the union.

Once the divorce is granted, neither party is eligible for a new trial or appeal at a higher court so if you choose to go down this path; you need an attorney to ensure there are no errors. You could request to restore your birth name or another surname even if you did not mention this in the petition.

Dissolving Domestic Partnership

The state of California recognizes intimate and mutual caring relationships between same-sex partners, and such partners can make things official by submitting a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State. As per the law, domestic partners have equal rights, protections, and benefits as married spouses and therefore, similar responsibilities, obligations, and duties.

If domestic partners register their union in California, the dissolution of their union is subject to the laws here even if the couple never settled in the state. If they registered elsewhere, they could only file in California if both or one of them resided here at least three months before filing. The Petition for Dissolution for Domestic Partnership must be recorded in the County of residence, and the domestic partner who files must share copies and other paperwork with their partner.

Summary Dissolution for Domestic Partnerships

As mentioned above, California extends equal rights, privileges, responsibilities, and obligations to domestic partnerships and marriages. To this end, partners are entitled to summary dissolution provided they meet the same requirements as those placed upon marriages under California law. If they are eligible, the domestic partners can file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State instead of heading to court.

Either party can revoke this submission within six months since the date of filing for any justifiable reason by filing a Notice of Revocation of Termination of Domestic Partnership. The domestic partner must then send a copy of this Notice to the other partner via first-class mail. If nobody is challenging the filing, the domestic partnership dissolves six months since entering a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership.

Find a San Diego Divorce Lawyer Near Me

Marriages or domestic partnerships promise an amazing journey full of happiness, but as data shows, these unions don't always deliver on that promise. You may be contemplating divorce after discovering a cheating spouse, or you may be unhappy. Whatever justifiable reason you have, filing a divorce petition is an important decision that requires careful thought, not to mention its impact on your family. If you are in this predicament, contact the San Diego Divorce Attorney at 858-529-5150 for legal counsel on how to prepare for divorce, the best negotiation tactics, and other expert advice for the best possible outcome.


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