By Bonnie A. Rabinovitch-Mantel, CFLS.
Just like life, divorce can be unpredictable. Whether your San Diego divorce was a long time in the making or it arose suddenly, there are several practical measures you can take to safeguard your interests and protect your future.
If you and your former partner are in the midst of a somewhat contentious divorce in San Diego, here are some worthwhile steps you can take to handle your divorce with tact and efficiency:
1. Don’t Move Out!
Living with a soon-to-be former spouse can certainly be tense, but if you have children, staying in your home can make a significant difference in how issues of custody are broached. If relations between you and your ex are particularly fraught, consider a time-sharing agreement, so that you each spend alternating periods within the family home and with your children.
2. The Kids Stay Put
While tensions may be running high, in most cases children should not be removed from the family home, nor should they be transported across state lines, or otherwise concealed from a fit parent. The goal is to keep future custody negotiations free of finger-pointing when it comes to a former partner flying the coop with the children in tow. If safety or flight is a concern, consider a temporary restraining order (TRO) that inhibits your children from being removed from the state.
3. Cancel Communal Cards
Joint credit cards should be canceled as soon as possible in order to prevent financial exploitation by an ex. Because a jointly held credit card is still partially your responsibility, you may be on the hook for paying off an ex’s vengeful shopping spree. If your ex begins to run up a sizable bill before you can cancel the card, you might consider reporting the card as stolen to avoid exorbitant fees.
4. Redirect Joint Bank Accounts
An angry soon-to- be ex may have no qualms about emptying your joint bank account. That’s why a first step leading up to formalizing your San Diego divorce should be removing half of the account’s assets, then redirecting those funds to a private account at a different bank. Alert your soon-to- be ex of your action after the fact, via letter writing (either by email or mail). By limiting yourself to annexing just half the account’s amount, you avoid claims that you’ve taken advantage of a joint account and recklessly raided communal assets—while you’ve protected your fair share, as well.
5. Be Mindful and Keep Copies
As you prepare to move forward with your San Diego divorce, it’s important to keep track of all the important documents you’ve accumulated over the years. This is particularly true when it comes to the documents that address your property, assets, taxes, and other pertinent financial and personal records. Be sure to catalogue all these documents, and consider making digital copies that can’t be lost or otherwise destroyed. When it’s time to negotiate custody, spousal support, and/or other division of communal property in San Diego, these catalogued documents will be of unmatched value.
6. Hire a Divorce Attorney
It’s no secret that the law is complex, and the San Diego family court system itself is an intricate environment to navigate. That’s why a San Diego divorce attorney that has a wealth of hands-on experience and specialized knowledge can make all the difference when it comes to negotiating your divorce.