In an earlier post titled Living in Santa Rosa and Considering a Divorce, we briefly touched on a few points to consider about a divorce in Sonoma County. Today in this post, we are going to take a look at a few of the specifics.
Just a bit of forethought does much to ease the divorce process. Copies of home files, be they bank statements, or any documentation regarding the mortgage, credit cards, wills and so forth are much easier to obtain while you are still in the family home and have yet to file for a divorce, than afterwards. These records are still obtainable after you file for divorce but that process will involve time and money. Your circumstances may be such that you are not privy to your spouse’s financial information. Now might be a time to discuss the subject with your spouse. If for whatever the reason a discussion of this nature is not a possibility, such information may be stored on the family’s home computer, and if so, copies can be made of all financial information. This will be an important asset to you down the road.
A List of Household Items
The list doesn’t have to be extensive, but should include all items of significance such as
vehicles, jewelry, furnishings and so forth. Some of these items may be in a safety
deposit box, or storage unit, so a trip to either would be advisable.
Expense of Running a Household
How much money do you as a couple have to run it? If you have a copy of your check register, or more likely in this day and age, access to online banking records, make a list of cash outlays, expenses, mortgage utilities etc., for the past year. It is important to establish these numbers so that should temporary support be awarded you have a foundation of the accuracy of the assessment. Additionally, this will give you a clear understanding of if, after your divorce, you will or will not be able to maintain on your own the family home.
We sometimes forget that it is not only assets that are divided during a divorce, but debt as well. Try to calculate the amount of family debt and If possible, think about. Distribution of the debt created by your family can be a challenging task but it does need to be taken into account. It may be advisable to begin paying towards this debt before initiating a divorce. Are there credit cards that can be discontinued or any other avenue of access to joint funds? Access to those funds by an irresponsible spouse could further diminish available assets that would otherwise have been divided up between you and y our spouse. Another factor to consider is if the debt was incurred by your spouse prior to the marriage. If that is the case, it may be that that debt is not to be considered as a joint liability from the marriage.
If all of your spouse’s income comes from salary earned, then this task is made simple by just looking at documentation from their pay check. Should your spouse be self-employed or perhaps for what ever the reason, receives much of his income in cash, then the process becomes a bit more daunting. Determining these amounts and then keeping tabs on it for a few months can help you greatly during the divorce.
Your Earning Potential
If you have been out of the work force for some time, perhaps taking time off to raise your family, you may need to take a look at what types of employment you may be able to secure and what level of income you may be able to achieve given your particular set of skills. Are you going to have to go back to school, or require some other form of training? How lengthy and involved might this process be? If travel was a significant factor in your prior employment, this may pose difficulties should you have younger children. What are the costs of and what type of childcare is available in your area?
Your Credit History
Perhaps you do not currently have your very own credit card(s) ; a credit card that is only in your name. Apply for one or two now and begin using the credit cards now. This will begin the process of establishing a credit history for you, one not tied to your spouse. This will go a long way towards helping you after your divorce.
Simply thinking about a divorce does not of course mean that the possibility will ever become a reality. Even so, even if a divorce is not imminent, it is important to have funds that are yours and yours alone. What will happen should you need funds while waiting for temporary support to be established? What about funds for an attorney? Do you think you may be the one to move out of the family home? If so, you will no doubt require funds for a security deposit or any assortment of items to fill your new home. Today is always a good day to begin saving for a time that may or may not take place. Better safe than sorry.
Priority ONE: Your Children
As you recognize that your path is leading to a divorce, your days may be spent collecting the documents, documentation and information required to put your plans into action. This all takes time. Your children, perhaps your young children or even your not so young children must still be placed first. Your divorce is not only about you and your spouse, but about your children as well. If possible, keep the status quo of their routine as consistent as you can. Any strife between you and your spouse should, if at all possible be kept out of the orbit of your children. If you’ve been active in their lives as far as school, homework friends etc, stay that way, and if not, perhaps now is a good time to get involved. Try not to rob your children of their childhood by placing them in the role of your psychological support system. Children deserve to be children and it is up to the parents during and after the divorce to ensure that this is your highest priority.
Consult a Lawyer
A knowledgeable divorce lawyer is one of the best resources to turn to when considering a divorce. A divorce attorney can work with you to establish the criteria to consider in moving forward (or not) with your divorce. For example: The two of you are experiencing difficulties and voices have been raised on more than one occasion. Is this conflict causing your children distress? Assuming they refuse to move out you decided that it’s best that your children live with your parents until the divorce is final. Did you know that doing so, even temporarily, from a legal point of view, may be a mistake. This example is just one of the many issues that may come up during your consultation with a divorce attorney.
Family Law Practice Overview is located in Santa Rosa and offers an entire scope of divorce services to clients in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Windsor, Bodega Bay, Ukiah, Willits, Clearlake, Lakeport, Kelseyville and throughout Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake County.
Beck Law P.C. offers a no cost, no obligation initial consultation and can furnish the experience and knowledge to help guide you as you come to the decision to divorce or not divorce.
Making an appointment to meet with us is not a decision to file for divorce. It is merely an investment in exploring what options may or may not apply to your particular situation. Your visit to the Beck Law Offices is confidential, as is the information discussed. You can contact our office at 707-576-7175 or contact us online.