5 Things Every Person Getting a Divorce Should Know

1. Choosing a Lawyer.

The best way to choose a lawyer to represent you in your divorce or, to be your mediator, is by way of referral from a friend, family member or trusted advisor such as your accountant, therapist, financial planner or family attorney. It is critical that your lawyer be well versed in all aspects of divorce proceedings. which means a lawyer whose practice is concentrated in the area of family law.

2. What Professionals You May Need.

It is not uncommon to hire a forensic accountant to determine your and your spouse’s financial situation and how that impacts the calculation of child and spousal Support, as well as to appraise any businesses you own. You may also need a real estate appraiser to appraise any real property you own. Often one or both spouses hire therapists to support them emotionally through the divorce process. It is critical that each spouse obtain their own accountant to assist them with their individual tax returns and for tax advice in connection with the divorce proceeding.

3. What Happens Upon Filing a Divorce Proceeding?

Standard Family Law Restraining Orders go into effect impacting your ability to transfer and alter assets, as well as preventing the removal of children from the State of California without first having obtained the consent of your spouse or a court order. This should be reviewed with your lawyer prior to the filing of a divorce proceeding.

4. Tax Returns.

Consider filing separate tax returns if you have any doubt about your spouse’s ability to file an accurate tax return. Otherwise, by signing a joint return you are responsible for all taxes and penalties, if any, associated with a tax return. This subject should be reviewed with your accountant prior to any decision being made.

5. Keep the Kids Out of It.

Custody and “visitation” are nearly always the most emotional aspects of a divorce. Disparaging the other parent in front of the child, unnecessarily restricting the child’s access to the other parent or otherwise attempting to alienate the child from the other parent can seriously harm the child, regardless of his or her age.

Marlo Van Oorschot, Esq. is a Family Law Attorney and Mediator in West Los Angeles. Ms. Van Oorschot can be contacted at (310) 820-3414; or mvo@mvolaw.com. For further information on litigation and mediation of a family law matter, please visit www.mvolaw.com.