Moving forward with the tough decision to file a divorce is difficult enough and here are a few common mistakes to avoid when the time comes to file.
Do not wait till after the holidays
Often parties try to set the timing of filing their divorce for after the holidays. It is understandable to take into consideration other factors going on in your life, especially, when you have children. No one relishes the idea of splitting time with their children and their former spouse during the holidays; however, as we all know, holidays can be stressful for any family, let alone a family moving toward divorce.
What often happens is that the reasons leading to the divorce are exasperated during the holidays. This added stress can cause a negative effect when people reach a boiling point in their relationship, often times causing a huge blowout. Divorces are emotional and having a huge fight beforehand can make it that much more difficult to try to reach an amicable agreement.
If you believe it is time to move forward with the divorce, then go with your gut instinct.
Do not try to hide assets when preparing to file for divorce
California is a community property state, meaning assets and debts acquired during the marriage are equally spit during the divorce (as with everything in the law there are exceptions to this general rule). It may seem like a good idea to hide money and accounts from your spouse when preparing to file a divorce, but there are serious consequences to attempting to hide assets. In California, it is a requirement that you exchange financial disclosures, in which you must disclose all assets. If you try to hide an asset and do not accurately disclose your financial information the court can impose sanctions, attorney’s fees to your spouse and even award the entire hidden asset to your spouse. It is not worth the risk to try to hide assets; however, keep in mind this does not preclude you from establishing your own bank account when you are preparing to file, just know that you have to disclose it during the divorce.
Do not quit your job to avoid paying support or trying to get more support
Splitting your household into two during a divorce has financial ramifications on both spouses, whether, you are the higher income earner or not. In the heat of the moment when tensions are high, at the onset of a divorce case, a spouse may think about quitting their job to either a) avoid paying support or b) obtain more support as they are no longer employed. It is never recommended to quit your job while going through a divorce. The court can look at your previous income and can actually impute upon you the income you were previously making before you quit your job and count that income against you. This is not ideal for anyone to no longer have the income but have the court make orders as if you were still receiving those funds.
There are many considerations to account for when preparing to file for divorce, it is important to obtain legal guidance early on to help avoid many common mistakes as these mistakes can have long-lasting consequences.
By: Iris Gomez, Esq., Attorney at Contreras Law Firm