When California spouses seek a divorce, their emotions are likely running high. A divorce is often fueled with feelings of sadness, anger and bitterness, which can linger long after the proceedings are supposedly over. However, one Supreme Court certified family mediator offered some pieces of advice that might help spouses avoid making decisions that they could regret.
She advised first and foremost to seek a support system. The negative emotions surrounding a divorce can influence a person’s decisions. Having objective input from a third party may put things into perspective and help differentiate between what is fair and what feels fair at the time. The spouse should also examine his or her own state of mind in order to determine the reason for wanting a divorce, whether it’s in response to an abusive or otherwise negative environment or for reasons such as a lack of communication or intimacy.
If the results of the internal examination still support filing for a divorce, the mediator recommends getting finances organized and seeing a financial planner. Organizing finances may include getting a separate checking account and determining the full extent of the household inventory. Financial records and credit reports could also be taken to the financial planner. With those reports in hand, the planner might advise the spouse of what could be afforded after property division. For instance, if a spouse is granted the house that they cannot afford alone instead of an investment opportunity, it would not be beneficial to gain the house during negotiations.
The mediator warns about quitting a job or cutting hours in order to reduce alimony or child support payments. In these situations, a judge might rule on the basis of the former, higher income. A family law attorney might provide further information regarding divorce legal issues, such as child custody and post-divorce modifications in the event of a job loss or salary reduction.
Source: Huffington Post, “The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Considering a Divorce“, Debbie Martinez, October 15, 2013