If you’re like most people who are considering divorce, you know you need a lot of information to make an informed decision. Before you file for divorce, you need to ask yourself three very important questions – and you have to come up with the right answers before you can make the right choice.
3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You File for Divorce
Before you file for divorce, ask yourself:
- How will a divorce impact me financially?
- How will a divorce impact my day-to-day life?
- Are there other options?
Let’s take a closer look at each of these so you can make the most informed decision possible. We also recommend consulting with a Stockton divorce lawyer who can explain the divorce process to you and answer all your case-specific questions.
#1. Before You File for Divorce: How will a divorce impact me financially?
There’s no doubt that divorce will have a financial impact on you, your spouse and your kids. However, the impact depends on whether you both work, how much each of you contributed to the marriage, and whether you’re able to continue working the way you did while you were married.
When you go through a divorce with children, someone is getting child support – and that means the other party is paying it. The amount of child support that changes hands is largely based on the non-custodial parent’s income, which means that the person who has the children most of the time will most likely be the recipient.
Alimony might be a possibility in your divorce, too. If your spouse makes less than you (or nothing at all), he or she can ask the court to award spousal maintenance. Likewise, if you’re the lesser-earning spouse, you have every right to ask the court for alimony. Alimony can be temporary (only during your divorce) or it can be more permanent, sometimes lasting for months or even years. However, there’s no way to predict how a judge will rule when it comes to spousal maintenance (unlike child support, which the state of California requires for minor children). You can’t count on receiving or paying it until you have a signed order from the judge.
#2. Before You File for Divorce: How will a divorce impact my day-to-day life?
You may not think divorce will impact your day-to-day life that much, particularly if you and your spouse have been separated or you rarely spend time together. However, if you’re a former stay-at-home mom who hasn’t been to work since you had children, it’s a big prospect – and it can be overwhelming. You’ll have to plan to get a job, find caregivers for your children and, in many cases, change your schedule around to accommodate visitation and your own time with the kids.
You’ll have to plan for these things during the divorce process. Typically, parents address things like childcare while they’re working out a custody agreement. Your attorney can help you make the right plans, too – you don’t have to do it alone.
#3. Before You File for Divorce: Are there other options?
In most cases, divorce isn’t your only option. (This doesn’t apply to cases of abuse or other significant issues.) You may be able to make other arrangements that suit your family better, such as living apart but still together, or filing for a legal separation but stopping short of divorce. You may also be able to attend marital counseling with a licensed therapist or talk to someone you trust about the issues you’re experiencing in your marriage. If both parties are willing to work at it, it’s possible to repair a marriage that first appeared beyond saving.
Are You Thinking About Divorce?
Often, people think about divorce and try to make rational, logical decisions without having all the facts. If you’re thinking about divorce, it’s usually a good idea to consult with a Stockton divorce attorney who can answer your questions and explain the process to you. Once you’ve talked to an attorney, you’ll fully understand whether it’s an option for you – and you’re under no obligation to actually get a divorce just because you talked to a lawyer.
If you’d like to discuss your options and learn about how divorce might be one of them, call us at (209) 989-4425 or get in touch with us online to talk to a lawyer who can help today. We’ll help you with every question you have about divorce, from child custody and child support to alimony and property division.