Divorces are hard enough times by their very nature, so you can do without shooting yourself in the foot with some of these easily avoidable, seemingly minor errors that could blow up into bigger issues.
Not being honest about financial information
For the divorce process to move along smoothly, do not cover up or try and hide information on assets, income and marital debt. Be sure your estimates for expenses accurately reflect your expected life after divorce. Remember, as part of divorce litigation you may be requested to share some information in the discovery stage of the process. Should this occur you will be obliged, by law, to disclose all information. If you try and hide some information which your spouse’s divorce lawyer discovers later, it could be used against you in court.
Working from the heart
As much as marriage and love are affairs of the heart, divorces need to be worked out with the mind. Emotions can — and will — get the better of you even if you had hoped for the most amicable parting of ways ever. It is ideal to work through the details of questions likely to be discusses, including contentious issues, with your attorney or a counselor before you sit down to work out an agreement with your spouse and their divorce attorney.
Expecting too much
Be realistic in your expectations. The truth is that the benefits you had by combining both your incomes or even managing one household on a single income will go away when you try and split up the funds. Both sides will need to accept that some degree of financial cut back on lifestyle will need to happen.
Not knowing what you have
Doing your groundwork in preparation for the divorce proceedings is important. Keep an inventory of assets — be sure to include all valuable possessions, not just the obvious big ones like property and cars. If you go in uninformed, an estranged spouse and their attorney could well give you a deal with less than your fair share and you will be none the wiser. Equally important is estimating accurately your future expenses, and keeping in mind the tax implications of all these decisions.
Not putting things in writing
During a divorce, verbal agreements are not enough. If your spouse and you come to an agreement on any issue, in a personal conversation, be sure to have to recorded or drawn up into an agreement or a legal document. For instance, you might have decided that you would accept lower spousal support in exchange for getting the proceeds or ownership of a shared property. Later, you could wind up with lower alimony and just half your share of property if you haven’t drawn it up formally.
Gerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law attorney and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.