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Easing into the divorce process

"I want a divorce" may be easy words to say, but many in California may not understand how complicated the divorce process can be. After all, specific factors can entangle two lives for years to come, such as having children, purchasing property and going into debt.

If you are planning to file for divorce in the near future, there are certain steps you can take to make the process less painful and improve the chances of arriving at a satisfying settlement. While none of the decisions you are about to make are ones you foresaw on your wedding day, each choice can have a significant effect on your future.

Getting your head straight

You may have fond memories of your wedding day. Whether it went off without a hitch or contained those charming flaws that made your guests laugh, the day is likely one you remember with bittersweet emotions. While keeping those memories is important, it is equally important to realize that the divorce process is essentially the termination of the legal contract you signed that day. As such, there are legal and, perhaps distasteful, matters to settle.

The decisions you make now have the potential to result in a post-divorce life of financial struggle or a secure path. It is critical to plan for the most secure future you can obtain, and this means setting your emotions aside and evaluating your future. Some advisors recommend making a detailed list of those items you need, want and can let go. You may also find it helpful to consider those same categories from your spouse's perspective.

Divorce by the numbers

Because divorce involves the separation of assets and debts, you would be wise to have a firm grasp of where you stand in those matters. Having a clear picture of your joint income, net worth and liabilities will expedite the process of property division and increase the chances of obtaining your rightful share of marital assets. Accessing this information is a good starting point:

  • Credit score
  • Tax returns
  • Income of both you and your spouse
  • Statements from bank accounts, retirement funds, investments and other accounts
  • Appraisals of property and valuables
  • Mortgage information
  • Debts and bills

The more of this information you can obtain yourself, the fewer hours your attorney will have to charge you.

Once you have gathered your financial information, your next step is to assemble a team. In addition to an attorney who has experience in all methods of divorce — mediation, collaboration and litigation — you may find it helpful to have the advice of other professionals, including an accountant and a personal counselor.

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    Kendra Thomas is one of the best attorneys I have ever worked with. Kendra and her team at Thomas Law Offices are compassionate and able to get to the heart of the matter. Not only can she quickly take in information, she can also think outside of the box to implement an effective game plan…. - Joseph, a Corporate client

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    Kendra is a very thorough attorney. She paid great attention to detail. She is a pitbull in the courtroom and received compliments from the judge. We won a majority of our motions. I found her to be reasonable and understanding. I highly recommend her!- William, a Divorce client (5 star review)

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    I had a complicated case with a lot of assets. We had a business to divide and could not make heads or tails of it. My previous
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    When I first came to Kendra, was in a panic state. However, after meeting Kendra, I panic no more. I was in a case, where I was being worked “real good”, with an ex who is relentless with absolutely no morals. However, after being in the courtroom with Kendra, I do not believe that he will ever take me back to court. We got everything we wanted. Kendra knew what to ask and how to strategize the case. I would HIGHLY recommend Kendra to anyone involved in a high conflict divorce and/or child custody dispute.- Sharon, a Family client (5 star review)


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