All marriages have their ups and downs. A “down” period, by itself, is usually not reason to abandon a healthy marriage. But, of course, not all marriages are “healthy.” If you are unhappy in a marriage, visiting with a good therapist may be the first step in trying to figure-out where you are, and where you wish to go. Here are some things to think about, and perhaps to discuss with your therapist: When to consider Divorce, Part 1; When to Consider Divorce, Part 2; and, When to Consider Divorce, Part 3.

Assuming that you have considered your options, and decided that divorce is right for you, then there are things that can be done to expedite your divorce. First, you should consider how you want issues resolved. If you have minor children of the marriage, then these are issues to be decided such as child custody, child support, child possession, and the authority to make important decisions for the children, such as where they will go to school, and which classes they will take, Also, who will choose which extracurricular activities they will participate in; how will those be paid for? Who will be responsible for transporting the children to and from practices and other events, such as games or recitals? Another important issue is who gets to make invasive medical decisions in a non-emergency[1]; and, where their primary residence will be located (either within a restricted geographic area or not). Each or all of those decisions might be set-up to require the joint agreement of both parent; or, one parent may get to make that decision unilaterally.

There is quite a bit to discuss in these areas. To what extent do you believe that you are your spouse will be able to discuss and resolve some or all of these issues? Your divorce case will go quicker, and be easier (financially and emotionally) to the extent that the two of you can make agreements without the need for litigation and judicial intervention.[2]

There are usually, also property issues to be determined by either the agreement of the parties, or by court decision. Which assets and liabilities exist? Which of those do you want for yourself, and which do you wish for your spouse to take? To what extent is there agreement or disagreement about those issues? Were some assets and/or debts acquired: prior to marriage? by inheritance? by gift? Those items are Separate Property, and will be treated differently than all other property, which is Community Property,.

Importantly, assets are viewed by courts in terms of their net value, as well as their affordability. Net worth is, of course, the value of the asset less anyt debt associated with it. In terms of affordability, awarding a spouse an asset which s/he cannot afford to maintain is not a benefit to that spouse, unless s/he intends to sell it right away. So, e.g., a court is unlikely to award  house, even with a high net equit6,y to a spouse who cannot afford the mortgage, insurance, taxes, and upkeep on it. In that case, the spouse in question would likely be better off by taking an award of cash (or another asset) for some or all of the net equity in the house, and allowing the other spouse to have the house and its payments.

I hope that this has given you some things to think about. There are plenty of other blog posts about divorce, child custody, and property, on this site. Please feel free to search for them.


[1] Usually, either parent can consent to invasive medical procedures in the case of an emergency.

[2] Discussion is not always recommended, such as when there is abuse (of any kind, including verbal). So, please, use your common sense, and trust your gut instinct, about whether to attempt to discuss divorce issues with your spouse,

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