Divorce, or dissolution of marriage as it is known in California, is a legal process by which the status of being a married person is terminated. In the divorce planning process, assets are divided, court orders are made regarding custody and visitation of children and support payments for child and/or spousal support are made.
There are also restraining orders on the sale and transfer of property and sometimes restraining orders regarding behavior. It is clear that going through a divorce is a difficult time in the lives of most people. The longer the marriage, the presence of minor children and the greater the amount of assets, the more difficult the divorce process becomes.
There are situations where a marriage is obviously failing and the parties are no longer committed to making it work. In fact, the parties may have already discussed the inevitability of dissolving the marriage before starting the process. In some situations, only one party may decide that they no longer wish to be married. In a no fault state like California where it only takes once spouse to testify that he/she wants to terminate the marriage, the other spouse cannot prevent the divorce from happening.
Financial Problems During Divorce
When a marriage is failing and headed for dissolution, cooperation and trust between spouses often disappears and anger and spite can sometimes take their place. When this occurs, the following can happen:
- Important financial and legal documents disappear;
- Money is withdrawn from banking and investment accounts;
- Credit is abused and used in an excessive way;
- Prized collectibles and personal documents disappear.
7 Steps to Help You Plan Ahead for Divorce
Even in cases where there is no particular reason to think the other spouse would take or destroy property, it would be a good idea to do the following when considering divorce:
- Make photocopies of important legal documents such as birth certificate, marriage license, wills & trusts, mortgage documents, title, vehicle registrations, pension documents, bank and investment account statements, passport, military discharge papers and credit and loan documents.
- Make a photographic or video record of household possessions and property.
- Evaluate credit card authorizations and usage. Check with credit card companies about getting a card in your own name and limiting liability on joint cards.
- Consider opening a separate checking/savings account for depositing your income.
- Be prepared to provide a change of address to certain businesses and persons.
- Confirm status of payments on monthly household expenses such as mortgage, car, utilities and credit cards, especially if the other spouse is the one who usually manages such things.
- Be cautious with content and pictures with social media accounts. Also, remember it is becoming more common to take screenshots of text messages, which can prove embarrassing in court.
Although most of the items described above can be replaced, it can take a long time and put you at a disadvantage in the short term. Our attorneys have experienced cases in which old family albums, high school year books and collectibles such as an old Babe Ruth baseball card have disappeared and never been recovered. Extreme actions like this are uncommon but can occur. That is why it is important to protect yourself during the divorce planning process by taking actions such as making copies of documents that can be non-threatening and subtle.
How the Family Law Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Can Help
If you are planning a divorce or dissolution of marriage, it is important that you understand every step of the complex legal process. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled and knowledgeable family law attorneys have over 30 years of experience helping clients obtain the best possible outcome in their divorce. If you choose Wallin & Klarich to guide you through the divorce planning process, you can trust that your case is in very capable hands.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, an experienced Wallin & Klarich family law attorney is nearby no matter where you are located.
For a free phone consultation, call (888) 749-7428 today. We will be there when you call.