Many couples considering divorce may be miserable, but they remain together because of the economic difficulties of splitting their assets and their lives.
Divorce rates dropped during the recession and began to climb again when the economy improved. One of our clients and his wife had purchased a large home in Alamo when times were good; when the recession hit, he lost his great job and they lived on one salary—hers–in a home with a huge mortgage. The economic pressures destroyed what was left of their marriage, yet they couldn’t afford to get divorced, so they lived in separate camps in that huge house that they tried to sell, but no one was buying. Unfortunately, this kind of story is not uncommon. But while the economy is now stronger, couples who come in to our offices for assistance with their Divorces invariably have been thinking about this for a long time, and economics is often the primary obstacle.
Divorce often requires downsizing, including selling the family home.
There are now two households to support, and it may mean downsizing or selling the family home. But Divorce doesn’t have to be financially crippling. There’s another important factor: the emotional toll that highly contested legal battles and their financial aftermath take on the family. No one emerges unscathed from these battles, and it can leave children scarred.
Fortunately, there are alternatives.
This should be your first consideration. Even if you tried counseling and it had no lasting effect, it might be time to try another therapist. Do some research and to find someone who’s a fit for you; there’s a lot at stake.
2.Agreement on distribution of assets, custody and a parenting plan
If Divorce is inevitable, sit down and try to reach an agreement on how you’re going to split assets and debts, child custody arrangements and how you will share parenting responsibilities. If you can’t reach an agreement, hire an experienced mediator that you both trust. Mediators are results-oriented and will work with you to identify solutions.
3. Quit worrying about what you think is fair
Fair gets very subjective. Forget also about what you’ve learned from other people’s Divorces. Look at the big picture—an equitable division of property and peace and sanity for your family.
4. Don’t expect the judge to resolve your issues and defend your rights
Figuring this out is your responsibility; the legal system is not designed to address personal family issues. Your overriding concern should be your children—putting their needs first to make the transition as smooth and normal as possible is the ideal. Keeping kids in the same schools and neighborhoods creates continuity, but they also adjust to new routines.
5. Figure out when it is time to just let it go
In the interest of time, expense, and emotional fatigue, start to get used to compromise.
6. Make a complete and accurate list of all liquid assets, income and expenses
Don’t rely on your spouse to do this for you. Gather all the information you need and then begin the process of division with your spouse. If necessary, a financial adviser can be an excellent investment. In many cases, a neutral outsider can give expert advice on the best way to decide the long-term value of retirement accounts vs keeping and maintaining the family home, etc.
7. Consider hiring an alternative organization to assist you
If you and your spouse can reach agreement on division of property and custody issues, California Document Preparers can take the sting out of the financial impact of hiring an attorney. We’ve helped more than 2,000 people get divorced, and they never have to set foot in court. We prepare the legal documents and file them. In the rare cases where people still have issues to resolve, they often find that our office environment provides the privacy and neutrality that helps them work through issues.
Are you considering Divorce?
Call California Document Preparers at one of our three Bay Area offices today to schedule an appointment. Our dedicated family law specialists are happy to answer your questions about the process, including the timing and how we work with our clients. You can also use our easy-to-use, secure online storefront to jumpstart the process–we’re still available by phone and email if you have questions. We’re helpful, compassionate and affordable.