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California Divorce 101: What You Need to Know Before Filing

— March 18, 2024

Divorce is a tough situation for all parties involved. As the relationship comes to an end, you have to take care of a few things.

When you are getting divorced, you must pay attention to a lot of things. There are numerous steps you must go through, as well as divorce forms to submit. While hiring an attorney is not mandatory, it’s a step that can help you tremendously throughout the entire procedure. 

Divorce is anything but easy. It’s stressful, and it also forces you to face financial and social challenges. You’ll separate yourself from someone you thought you would be together with forever. It’s even more challenging when you have children. 

Before you file for divorce, you should know a few things. But don’t worry – this article has all the information you need to prepare for your divorce proceedings, so let’s get started. 

  1. Make Sure You Gather All the Necessary Documents

It’s not rocket science that you will require many documents to start the divorce process. It’s essential to ensure you can access all important paperwork and make copies before filing for a divorce.

That being said, you will need copies of things like your monthly living expenses, your monthly pay stub, as well as your tax return, real property, brokerage accounts, and other similar things. Knowing your total net worth is also necessary, especially if you’re going to meet up with a lawyer as well.

  1. Understand Your Marital Estate

Another crucial thing to know before filing for divorce is that you must understand your marital estate. Basically, this includes debts and assets acquired by you and your spouse while you were married. 

Most of the time, all these things are considered community property. During divorce, they will be divided equally. In some cases, exceptions may apply to certain assets. 

So, you should be aware of all your assets acquired before and during your marriage and list them accordingly. You can then address them during the proceedings. 

  1. Ensure You Contact a Qualified Attorney

Having an attorney by your side simplifies things. It allows you to make the right decisions as you are able to consult someone with enough legal knowledge in the field. Furthermore, your attorney will make sure you do not forget any essential steps or documents. 

California features professional divorce lawyers all over the state. For instance, while it’s not the city with the highest divorce rate, San Jose also has a lot of good legal specialists. Thus, hiring a San Jose family law attorney can help make sure you reach an appropriate conclusion when getting divorced.

  1. Talk to Someone for Emotional Support

Divorce is not an easy time. You have a lot of things to worry about, including your future life, your children, and your finances. So, you can talk to a trusted friend, a family member, or a therapist about it. In this time of need, you shouldn’t be alone. Surrounding yourself with as much support as possible can make it easier to handle everything that’s happening.

  1. Don’t Post About It on Social Media

    Collage of a woman’s face, a camera lens, and various social media symbols; image by Geralt, via
    Image by Geralt, via

Venting on social media can be very tempting. Whether it’s about how much your spouse has wronged you or just posts about you partying and feeling good, it can all be used against you during a divorce. You may feel good and liberated when you make the post, but it will not be as pleasant when it ruins the outcome for you. 

Refrain from posting anything incriminating on your social media. Also, remember that deleting such posts will also not be helpful because posts can be tracked easily. Deleting photos, videos, etc., might be considered destruction of evidence. 

  1. Talk to Your Children

If you have kids, they must also know what’s happening. After all, they are involved in the process even though they don’t want to, so they should know what is happening. Break the news calmly to your children and help them understand that it’s not their fault. Also, reassure them that you will still love and care for them the same way, even if you’re not with your spouse anymore.

The Bottom Line

Divorce is a tough situation for all parties involved. As the relationship comes to an end, you have to take care of a few things. On top of telling your children about it, you must also remember to gather all necessary documents and hire a lawyer. Moreover, you should refrain from posting anything about it or your status on social media. With enough preparation and a good lawyer by your side, you’ll know how to handle the divorce process properly.

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