“I Want a Divorce.” What’s Next?

I Want a Divorce - What's Next?

“I want a divorce.”

If you’ve heard those words – whether you saw it coming or you’ve just been blindsided by the news – it’s probably time to begin working with a Stockton divorce attorney.

When Your Spouse Says, “I Want a Divorce”

When your spouse says, “I want a divorce,” your first instinct may be to protect yourself. For most people, that’s the smartest possible thing to do – and you can do that by getting in touch with a divorce lawyer who will preserve your rights as a spouse and, if you have children, as a parent under California law.

When you call an attorney, she’ll have several questions for you. She’ll need to know:

  • How long you’ve been married
  • How many children, if any, you have
  • Where you were married and how long you’ve lived in Stockton
  • What types of assets you and your spouse share, and whether you inherited any money or property that was intended just for you
  • What types of debts you and your spouse share, and whether you have any debt that belongs solely to you
  • What property, assets or debts you brought into the marriage
  • What type of custody agreement you and your spouse will be seeking, and whether you agree on a custody arrangement
  • Whether you and your spouse are on good terms and are both willing to work together to reach agreements
  • Whether you intend to seek (or you think you may have to pay) spousal support
  • Which one of you was the primary wage-earner in your household, and whether one of you contributed to the other’s education or work-related training
  • Whether you jointly own a business together, and if you do, whether you’ve already had its value appraised
  • Whether you or your spouse will retain possession of your marital home

Your lawyer will have several other questions, too, based on your individual circumstances. (No two cases are the same.)

What You Can Do to Make the Process Easier on Yourself (and Your Lawyer)

If you’re able to gather financial statements (yours, your spouse’s, and your joint statements), including pay stubs, bank statements, credit card statements and proof of income, as well as your previous two years’ tax returns, you’ll be ahead of the game. These things are necessary for calculating spousal and child support, so the sooner you can provide them to your attorney, the better.

Try to write down everything you and your spouse have verbally agreed to, as well as when he or she breaks a verbal agreement. These agreements could be as simple as your spouse saying, “Hey, I’ll pick up the kids after school today.” It’s important that you keep a written record of everything that your spouse says or does that could have bearing on your case (including when he or she backs out of an agreement) because your attorney may need that information when you go to court. (If you find that your spouse continues to break agreements he or she has made, it may be a good idea to ask him or her to email or text you rather than talk over the phone. That way, you’ll have a pre-made written record with your spouse’s own signature on it.)

Answer your attorney’s questions honestly and clearly so he or she can help protect your rights – and your kids’ rights – in court. Don’t try to use the legal system for revenge (that almost always backfires), and don’t make things up or exaggerate to make your spouse look bad (that usually backfires, too).

If you’re not sure whether you should do or say something, ask your lawyer. Her experience can tell you what’s good for your case and what could be harmful.

Do You Need to Talk to a Stockton Divorce Lawyer?

If your spouse has said, “I want a divorce,” it’s probably time to get an attorney.

We can help you through this difficult time, so call us to set up a consultation now. We’re at 209-910-9865 or get in touch with a Stockton divorce attorney online to schedule a consultation today. We’ll discuss your case, find out about your circumstances and start formulating a plan that gets you and your children the best possible outcome.