Divorce is hard on families, especially those with young children. However, staying in a loveless marriage is even more traumatic for couples and their kids. Although the term “a good divorce” may seem oxymoronic, you and your soon to be ex-spouse may benefit from following a few simple steps that you should take to make things go smoothly.
See a Marriage Counselor
About 39 percent of marriages end in divorce. But more people than that begin the process of a divorce without ever following through on it. A divorce can be costly and time-consuming and you want to make sure that your differences are truly irreconcilable and that permanent separation is what you both want.
A therapist can act as a mediator to a divorcing couple. They can help you decide upon a child custody arrangement that will benefit everyone. They can also help you look at things such as property division objectively.
Collect Financial Paperwork
Marriage is as much about money as it is about love. You should make a list of the assets and liabilities you had before and during your marriage. If you have any joint bank accounts, you will want to document those. You should collect bills that are in each of your names individually and those that are separate.
You should also collect documentation of any insurance policies that list your spouse as the beneficiary as well as retirement plans that have both of your names on them. Make copies of the deed to any property you own and the paperwork for any loans you have taken out together.
Talk About Custody Arrangements
One of the things divorcing couples clash about most often is who will get primary custody of the children. Divorces in the state of California may be no-fault. If a couple wants to separate, the court is not going to try to keep them together. However, the court does care about the well being of children and any child custody arrangement will put a child’s interests first.
Discuss who the child will live with and who will stay in the home you now share. A judge will want an arrangement that disrupts the child’s life the least. A judge will want a child to stay in the same school district that they were in prior to the divorce. They will generally want the person who is the most financially stable to act as the primary parent. In some cases, the children are the only permanent residents of a home and the parents will take turns living there.
You should also decide on such things as who will pay for daycare when it is necessary and how such things as braces, piano lessons, and summer camp will be paid for.
Make Housing Arrangements
A divorce takes a minimum of six months from start to finish and you will each need a place to live while you go through the process. You should decide if you want to sell mutually-owned property or if one of you will live there. If one of you stays in a property that you currently share, you should decide how the other person will be compensated for their share of the property.
If you are renting an apartment, you should evaluate what your financial situation will be after a divorce. You should make sure to pick a place that you can reasonably afford on your own.
Hire a Lawyer
Even in cases of an amicable divorce, it is a good idea to seek the assistance of a divorce attorney. You can both use one lawyer to assist you with paperwork and the division of property.
If things are not so cordial, you will need a good attorney to ensure that you are treated fairly and get to keep any property that is rightfully yours. If your spouse has an attorney, you should definitely get one. Visit Kaufman Steinberg, LLP for more information.