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Know how to approach a divorce in California

You were surprised when your spouse decided to ask you for a divorce. You knew that you were having some trouble working together to raise your children and that money was tight recently, but you thought this was something you could overcome.

Despite your feelings, your spouse insists that a divorce is the correct path. Now, you have a few options with how you move forward. Taking the right steps can help you protect yourself during a divorce.

What should you do when you're approached for a divorce?

The first thing you need to do is to get into contact with your attorney. Your attorney will give you information on the documents and files you need to collect as quickly as possible. You want to make sure to get printouts of bank account statements, taxes, stocks and retirement funds and other essential financial documents. Doing so helps you and your attorney see what kind of assets you have and the manner in which you will want to negotiate for them.

Understanding your right to fair property division in California

In California, separate property is kept by each individual and marital property is split evenly. California is a community property state, which means that any property or income that was acquired while you were married has to be split evenly between both spouses upon divorce.

You and your spouse can agree to split your assets in a different way, but if you would have received less than 50 percent through negotiations, then it is generally a good idea not to negotiate for less. Every situation is different, though, so you will need to review yours and decide on the best solution for your divorce case.

Do you have a right to spousal support?

It depends on your situation, but if you have relied on your spouse for support throughout your marriage, then you may be entitled to spousal support for a period of time. It is unlikely that you will receive permanent spousal support unless you are elderly or going through a gray divorce. Generally speaking, spousal support is temporary and may be paid as a lump sum or through payments over several months or years.

Sit down with your attorney and work out your budget and finances, so you know what you need to try to negotiate for during your divorce. The choices you make will affect you in the months and years to come.

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