Family breadwinners play a big role in making sure everyone has what they need. While the primary breadwinner should still expect to care for his or her children and possibly make some financial contributions to his or her ex-spouse, both spouses must also make sure to take care of themselves during this time. Here are some recommendations for how families with one primary breadwinner can approach divorce, brought to you by Divorce Options San Diego, San Diego divorce mediators who offer a one-stop shop approach for couples looking for a way to dissolve their marriages amicably and with mutual respect.
Get Your Financial Affairs in Order
The first thing you need to do is figure out exactly where you stand financially. If one spouse has been handling the money, take the opportunity to check out your debts and bank account statements together. You may also need to identify things such as where each of you will live so you can make financial decisions about your future.
Make Copies of All Documents
As you go through your accounts, make copies of everything. Although you can hopefully trust each other to be honest, it’s possible for essential information to suddenly go missing during divorces. You’ll need copies of documents such as your past tax return statements, pay stubs, and other proof of income. You’ll also need to prove your financial debts and responsibilities with copies of leases, mortgage loan agreements, and credit card statements.
Prepare for the Possibility of Spousal Support
California’s divorce laws govern whether a person must pay spousal support. If you live in California, the main breadwinner will probably be required to pay some amount of support to his or her ex-spouse. In most cases, the amount of support will be determined by factors such as the length of your marriage and the amount of your income. If a spouse is currently working but makes less, the primary breadwinner may not be required to pay as much. Either way, being prepared to work out the details about spousal support makes it easier to reach an acceptable agreement.
Try to Make Decisions Together
Divorces don’t have to be messy and fraught with strife. Instead, you can have an amicable divorce. Trying to keep things friendly is much better if kids are involved, and you can bet you’ll both be happier with the final agreement when you can both have some input. Typically, it’s better to work through a mediation process that allows you to create a customized plan for things such as child support and visitation, since the courts might not understand the nuances of your lifestyle.
Secure Your Online Accounts
Once your accounts have been divided, take the additional step of making sure your personal information is secure. During a marriage, spouses often share passwords and login information with each other, and ex-spouses don’t need to be able to access each other’s information. Each of you should go through your online accounts and change passwords and other information as needed so you’re the only one who can gain access.
However, make sure you don’t change passwords or any other account information until you have worked with your divorce mediator to develop a fair community property equalization and divide your property. If you change passwords or other information before that happens, you can create a situation in which one of you doesn’t have access to the funds (or half the funds), which can immediately cause acrimony that ultimately leads to litigation.
These are just a few ways families with primary breadwinners can prepare themselves for divorce. For couples in San Diego, divorce mediation may be the ideal choice when they’re ready to go their separate ways. If you’re interested in learning more about how mediation works and why more people are choosing it every day, call the mediation experts at Divorce Options San Diego at 858-281-2628.