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The basics of preparing for a divorce

Most couples in California don't actually "plan" for a divorce. Even so, there are times when marital problems become so great that untying the knot becomes an option. The first thing couples are encouraged to do when preparing for a divorce is determined if ending a marriage is the right choice. This is because the process of splitting can be stressful, financially impactful, and, in some instances, costly and time-consuming.

It's equally important for a spouse considering divorce to do some research ahead of time since each state has different divorce-related timelines. There are also differences with how long a couple has be separated before divorcing. Setting personal and financial goals for the future can also help a soon-be-former-spouse be better prepared for life after marriage. If kids are involved, the general recommendation is for couples to keep the best interests of children in mind when determining custody arrangements. Getting organized during the divorce process typically involves gathering bank statements and other key documents.

Establishing a rough budget based on anticipated post-marriage income and expenses can also help a newly single adult know what to expect. A post-divorce budget tends to be more effective if it's based on the long-term implications associated with certain assets, like the costs associated with keeping the marital home. Additionally, it may be advisable for soon-to-be-single individuals to close joint accounts, obtain credit reports, and remember to stay healthy mentally and physically.

Hiring the right lawyer might also make the end of a marriage a less stressful time. In addition to making sure essential deadlines are met, a family law attorney may call on appropriate outside experts to help identify and value all existing marital assets. Mediation or a collaborative divorce may be a possibility if both parties can remain civil. If this isn't possible, a lawyer might suggest turning to the court.

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