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What Steps Can a Person Take to Prepare for Divorce in California


There are several steps a party can take to prepare for a divorce in California:

  1. Gather information. This includes acquiring and making copies of important financial documents, such as tax returns, bank statements, and investment portfolios. It is also important to obtain the data necessary for you to understand the value of the marital assets and debts. Learn more about marital property and debt, which is also called community property here.
  2. Consider hiring a divorce attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the divorce process and protect your interests.
    • This is especially important if you have minor children or complex financial assets.
    • Using an attorney does not have to create an adversarial environment with your spouse.
    • If you and your spouse agree on the big issues you face such as the division of property, arrange parenting time schedules for your children you may, whether or not one spouse will pay spousal support (also known as alimony) you can use an attorney to help you prepare your legal documents and explain your rights and obligations. Learn more about using a lawyer as a mediator here.
  3. Make a plan for your children. If you have minor children, you will need to make decisions about child custody and support. It is important to discuss these issues with your spouse and try to reach an agreement. If you cannot agree, the court will decide these issues for you. Learn more about how California Court decide child custody issues here.
  4. Protect your finances. If you are concerned about your spouse spending or hiding marital assets, you may want to take steps to protect your finances. This could include opening a separate bank account or transferring money to a safe place.
  5. Take care of yourself. Divorce can be a stressful and emotional experience. It is important to take care of yourself during this time. This includes eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising. It may also be helpful to talk to a therapist or counselor.

Here are some additional steps that may be helpful:

  • Educate yourself about the divorce process. There are many resources available online and in libraries that can provide you with information about the divorce process in California. For an overview of the divorce process review this article.
  • Talk to your spouse. If you are both considering divorce, it is important to talk to each other about your concerns and goals. This can help you to reach an agreement on how to divide your assets and debts, and how to care for your children.
  • Mediate your divorce. Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party helps you and your spouse to negotiate a settlement agreement. Mediation can be a less expensive and less adversarial way to get divorced than going to court. Even if the parties do no agree on each issue using a mediator can be faster and more satisfying than litigation. For information on why a mediation can make sense even with a recalcitrant spouse read this article.

Remember that every divorce is different. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to preparing for divorce. The best way to prepare is to gather as much information as possible, to consider your options, and to make a plan that is right for you and your family.

Contact attorney Galen Gentry for a free, no obligation consultation.