The “Snuggie Syndrome”: How to Prepare If Your Marriage Is Coming to an End

Almost everyone must admit that being comfortable at home is to be expected; but, can comfort levels go too far?  Could such levels of comfort be a sign that a marriage has lost its romance?  It is highly unlikely a marriage is on the rocks just because one or both spouses are comfortable with each other. The reality is that most people strive for security and comfort in a marriage.  Beware though of the situation where comfort has led to complacency or other signs that your spouse or partner is no longer invested in the relationship.  If you believe your spouse or partner is about to exit through the escape hatch, then it is time to consider these five tips everyone going through or about to go through a divorce should know.

1.   Choose a respected 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. Questions to ask your attorney.

2. Engage Other Professionals as Needed.

It is not uncommon to hire a forensic accountant to determine your and your spouse’s financial situations, to appraise the value of any businesses you own, and to determine how these considerations impact the calculation of child and spousal support. You may also need a real estate appraiser for valuation of 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. Understand 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. File Separate Tax Returns.

Consider filing separate tax returns if you have any doubt about your spouse’s ability or willingness 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 making any divorce decision.

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 a child, unnecessarily restricting a child’s access to the other parent or otherwise attempting to alienate a child from the other parent can seriously harm any child, regardless of his or her age.