Marriage is a significant commitment, but it does not always work out. Many things, including infidelity, changes in personality, and financial strain, can lead spouses to file for divorce. Even if you have an amicable relationship with your former partner, the process of ending a marriage can be difficult and bring up unexpected emotions.
An accomplished family law and divorce attorney can walk with you throughout the process, from the initial filing to any motions or amendments that have to be approved later. Knowing how to manage the process and handle your own approach to the divorce can also make it easier, so we provide several tips for what to do during your divorce and what you should avoid.
What to Do During the Divorce Process
- Remain as Calm as Possible. In many cases, you will have to sit down with your former spouse and determine how assets and property will be divided, what amount of spousal support is necessary, and how the care of your children will be handled. These things are likely important to you both, so the discussions may bring up negative emotions. You can expect to feel angry, stressed, or upset – and these are all normal emotions to have during such a challenging time. Recognize these feelings, but don’t let them lead you. Staying calm during divorce negotiations means you can approach the discussion with a clear head, are willing to compromise when necessary, and can make decisions that are equitable.
- Maintain Consistent Records and Documentation. Keeping track of your financial needs, what assets are shared, and how you communicate with your former spouse are essential to a smooth divorce process. This will help you to know how much money you will need once your divorce is finalized, either in income or support, what assets or property you are willing to part with and what you want to keep, and give you evidence of any mistreatment from your partner if needed.
- Respond in a Timely Manner. The process to file for divorce may take several months and may be even longer if there is animosity during negotiations or discussions. Each party will be required to file several petitions, such as the initial petition and financial disclosures, during the process; most filings will require a response. To avoid delays and potential damage to your case, try to respond to any requests or filings as soon as you are able.
What to Avoid During the Divorce Process
- Speaking Negatively About Your Spouse Openly. Any frustration, anger, or sadness you are feeling during a divorce is likely justified, especially if you have a difficult or abusive dynamic with your former spouse. Those emotions could easily boil over if the divorce proceedings are particularly difficult, but you should still avoid speaking negatively about your spouse publicly, including on social media and to your children. If that negative talk is brought up during negotiations, it could potentially cause you to lose assets, have less spousal support, or even lose time with your children.
- Taking Your Children Out of State. You may need to relocate during your divorce, either due to your work or wanting to be closer to family. There should not be a problem with relocating unless there are children involved. If you try to move your children without approval from a judge, then it could cause serious problems in your divorce and potentially lead to more serious legal trouble like kidnapping charges. Even if your spouse agrees to your taking the children out of state, have that in writing and include your attorney in the discussion.
- Hiding Information From Your Spouse. You may believe that keeping certain information, such as your true income or what property you have, hidden during divorce proceedings will benefit you financially or personally. In reality, hiding any information will lead to negative consequences, like having to pay more child or spousal support once it is found out. It’s unlikely that you can successfully hide such information, so it’s wise to be upfront from the beginning.
Q: What Should I Not Do During a Divorce in California?
A: The divorce process can be difficult and stressful, even under the most optimal circumstances. You have to keep track of filing petitions and motions, gather extensive information about finances and assets, and manage negotiations that could be very emotional. During this process, you should avoid things like speaking badly about your former spouse, keeping information from the courts in an attempt to have the case decided in your favor, and moving any children out of state without prior approval.
Q: What Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in California?
A: Assets and property that are shared between spouses must be divided in order for a divorce to be finalized. This is referred to as Community Property and includes anything that was purchased during the marriage, including cars, 401k plans, homes, and stocks. In most cases, the courts will require all assets to be divided equally unless you and your former spouse are able to reach a different agreement. Any property division must be approved by a judge.
Q: What Is the 10-Year California Divorce Rule?
A: One aspect of the divorce process that can be particularly difficult to finalize is spousal support. This refers to monthly payments that are made by the higher earning spouse to the lower earning spouse for a reasonable amount of time to help maintain their lifestyle. The 10 year rule in California refers to the fact that there is no predetermined “reasonable time” for spousal support if a marriage lasted longer than 10 years. The length of spousal support will be determined by the divorcing couple or the courts.
Q: What to Do Before Divorce in California?
A: Preparing for the divorce process can eliminate some stress, help you understand the process better, and help proceedings move more quickly. There are several things that you can do to prepare before filing an initial divorce petition. Collecting any documentation you may need, like financial records and information about shared assets, can help you complete your filing more easily. Also, having a plan for how you want assets to be divided and what things you will be willing to compromise on can help you complete any required negotiations effectively.
When you have decided to end a marriage by initiating a divorce, it can be a stressful and emotional time. The process of finalizing a divorce can also be difficult because you have to file paperwork on time, make sure you are providing all of the information for your case, and appear before a judge when necessary. The guidance of an experienced family law attorney can help to make sure that everything is handled correctly and efficiently. Contact the Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires for help with your divorce proceedings.