Considering Divorce? 3 Things You Need to Know

An article published on was authored by a woman who was both a mother and a divorce lawyer and discussed what she wished all clients knew prior to a divorce. This article summarizes the article with a list of 5 things you need to know if you are considering divorce. The article can be found in its entirety hereUnderstand Your Finances. 

  • Money is clearly and important issue in divorce, yet it is surprising how many people are in the dark about their spouse’s finances. 
  • Find out about your spouse’s income. Are they an employee or independent contractor? Are they contributing to retirement accounts? Do they have other investment properties, stock holdings, or other investments?
  • Figure out your debts. Do you have the credit card bills? Do you know the monthly mortgage amount? Who pays for the car insurance and how much is it? 
  • Although understanding the financial system seems very basic and obvious, many people do not have the documents or online access at their fingertips, and getting this access prior to the divorce will be very beneficial down the road. 

Figure Out Your Monthly Expenses

  • Do you know where your money goes every month? This is often important to know down the road for spousal support. 
  • Try to identify where the money is spent on housing, utilities, health insurance, food, phone services, tv and internet, education, charitable donations, etc. 
  • Organizing your proof of these expenses by having the credit card and bank information at your fingertips will save you time later. 
  • You may have student loans or credit card debts or may plan to incur those during the marriage. 
  • You may inherit money during the marriage. 
  • You may want a safety net against your future spouse’s unhealthy behaviors (money toward addictions, uncontrolled spending, etc. )
  • Be aware of red flags, such as sudden changes in spending habits by one spouse. It is not unusual for a spouse who is considering divorce to try to reduce spending in the months prior or to cancel bills before they come under the court’s scrutiny.  

Many divorces are resolved by settlement, so begin considering your divorce goals.  

  • Most divorces are resolved through a mutually agreed settlement by the parties, so if you are thinking about divorce, it is helpful to analyze your feelings about various settlement possibilities before the divorce even commences. 
  • If you have children, consider their ages, preferences and education. Look realistically at what physical custody you think will be in their best interest. 
  • Decide about assets, such as whether you want to keep possession of the home, whether there are keepsakes that you want to be yours in the divorce, etc. 
  • Try to think long term. A common mistake when parties begin a divorce is short term thinking because it is hard to imagine what life will be like down the road ten years, but the decisions you make with your divorce strategy will have far-reaching consequences. 

Contact an Experienced Family Lawyer

Even if you are just contemplating a divorce, but not certain that you want to go forward, contacting an experienced divorce attorney can be helpful. You can make a plan and know your options. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience helping clients with a California divorce, and we are happy to answer your family law questions. Contact us at 707-451-4502.