Divorce Lawyer, John Griffith Offers Tips for Preparation for Divorce
Divorce is never easy. These tips will help you be prepared for what’s to come and hopefully help you get through the process with a little pain as possible.
Have a sound financial plan
A divorce results in one household becoming two households. Most of the time this means that the same amount of income is paying for twice the amount of expenses. Even in the case of high wage earners, divorcing couples often are forced to tighten their belts and learn to go without–at least for a while. The spouse paying child support and spousal support will complain that he/she can’t afford it, and the spouse receiving financial support will complain that he/she needs more. The reality is that there just isn’t enough money in the pot to support both households at the same level as before. This is why pre-planning is essential anytime a divorce is in your future.
Before you file for divorce have a plan for the future. Talk to a divorce lawyer about what level of child support and spousal support you can expect to receive or pay and come up with a monthly budget based on your net income. Whether you are the income earner or you are a woman that has been out of the workforce raising kids for the past 20 years, it is important that you don’t overextend yourself. If you are paying child support, the court isn’t going to care that you can’t afford to pay your rent–child support gets paid first. If you are receiving child support, the court isn’t going to increase child support because you can’t pay your rent. Find a place that you can afford.
Make copies of important documents
Whether you keep your financial documents on the computer or on paper, located all important financial documents and make copies. Tax returns, bank statements, mortgage statements, stock grants, contracts etc.. should all be put together in a file. If you can find statements dating back to when you got married these may be helpful to your case as well. “I had a client miss out on an $80,000 separate property down payment that he made on his house all because he had no records to prove that the money came from his own separate money from before the marriage” says John Griffith, a divorce lawyer in Encinitas, California.
It’s important that you make these copies early on in your case as things tend to disappear once the divorce starts heating up. Also access to account login info for online accounts may prove more difficult later in the divorce case. Having copies of important financial documents will help your divorce lawyer assess your legal options from the start.
Take pictures of personal property
Get a digital camera with a time and date stamp on the pictures. Take pictures of everything of significant value: art, jewelry, electronics, fine china, etc… While it doesn’t happen in every case, some divorces get ugly. “I had a case where my client’s wife sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in paintings and sculptures and pocketed the cash. My client had no evidence to show the court that he ever owned the art and there was nothing we could do” says Griffith.
If you have pictures of your property and something goes missing, you will have evidence to prove that the property was in your house at a certain date and time. If something goes missing you can seek recovery for your half of the value of the property.
Hire a lawyer and assess your case
Schedule a consultation with a reputable divorce lawyer in your area. Find a lawyer that is willing to give you a case analysis on all issues: property division, debt division, child custody, child visitation, spousal support, and child support. Given honest and reliable information, a good divorce lawyer should be able to give you at least reliable parameters as to what you can expect out of your case on each issue. Given this assessment, you will then need to decide which issues are deal breakers and which issues that you are willing to compromise on before spending a ton of money on attorney’s fees.
Come up with a case plan with your divorce lawyer that puts your primary interests first in a rational and realistic manner. Only after this has been done should you proceed with the filing of the petition for divorce.
Griffith, Young & Lass is a full-service family law firm located in Encinitas, California. The experienced team of divorce lawyers can help put your mind at ease during this difficult time in your life. You have much at stake both emotionally and financially and you need an attorney with competence and compassion. If you have found yourself in the unfortunate position of needing legal advice in a family law matter, call the San Diego divorce lawyers of Griffith, Young & Lass for a free 30-minute consultation. 858-345-1720