Contemplating divorce? If so, then what you say and do from this moment forward can impact many aspects of your life for years to come. As experienced Los Angeles divorce attorneys, we cannot stress enough the importance of protecting yourself during divorce.
The best way to navigate through the divorce process is to learn your rights early on in regards to child custody, spousal support, and California’s community property laws. Arming yourself with information can help you combat any feeling of powerlessness that you may have.
1. Divorce is like a marathon, so you have to prepare yourself emotionally to do what it takes to see it through to the finish over the next six months or longer.
2. Before you file for divorce, consult with an experienced local divorce attorney. By obtaining good advice at the onset, you are reducing the chances of making financial or child custody mistakes.
3. Consider meeting with your accountant and financial planner to understand the tax and financial consequences of retirement plans, real estate, stocks, etc. during the divorce process.
4. Think about the timing of your divorce. In California, a long-term marriage is one that lasts 10 years or longer, which means spousal support can be awarded indefinitely.
5. Are you both thinking about filing for divorce? Be the one to file first, because filing first offers distinct advantages.
6. You may want to ensure that your name is on all the bank and investment accounts, utilities and deeds of trust. This way, joint signatures will be needed. By putting your name on all bank accounts, your spouse can’t raid them.
7. Be sure to make copies of all financial documents, including credit cards, taxes, mortgage documents, investment accounts, W-2 forms etc.
8. If you’re in the dark about the finances, it’s time to get in the light. Make sure you know where every penny is, and this includes bank and retirement accounts.
9. Know exactly how many community assets you have, and know that you’re entitled to half.
10. Learn how to protect your credit during divorce, and don’t co-sign for anything for your spouse.
11. Start tucking cash away before you file – you will need it.
12. Have you been out of the workforce? It’s time to dust off that old resume. Remember, spousal support is discretionary and even if it’s awarded, it won’t last forever.
For more divorce tips, contact Claery & Hammond, LLPto schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.