If you have decided to pursue a divorce there are a number of things you can do to prepare that will make the process easier and more streamlined. Divorce is a long, complicated and draining process, but being prepared will ease some of the more difficult ramifications.
Whether or not you believe your divorce will be contentious, it is imperative to consult with an experienced local family law attorney before you start the process. An attorney can advise you of rights and give you an idea of what the court would likely do in your case. In addition, an attorney can explain the whole divorce process so you understand exactly what is ahead. Having a roadmap for your divorce will help solidify your decision to get a divorce or may give you more to think about before pulling the trigger.
One of the most difficult parts of the divorce process for litigants (even those who are represented by attorneys) is the disclosure requirement. In every California divorce – contested or uncontested – both parties are required to exchange all material facts and information regarding income, expenses, assets and debts. In order to prepare for this daunting task, gather the following current documents: a bank statement for each of your checking and savings accounts; a credit card statement for each account; your most recent statements for all retirement accounts; ownership documents for real property and vehicles; trust documents; financials for all business entities; loan documents any other documents for any asset or debt.
After you have all relevant information regarding your financials, you can start to untangle joint accounts. From the date of separation forward, you may want to open you own checking, savings and credit card accounts in order to account for all separate expenditures. If you are the primary breadwinner, it is important to ensure your spouse and children have some form of continued support; however all earnings following date of separation are considered the separate property of the earning spouse.
If you would like to learn more about the California divorce process, child support, spousal support, child custody and visitation or property division, schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney at Cage & Miles, LLP. Our skilled attorneys can provide you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions and protect your rights.