Reasons Not to Put Your Divorce Off
The following information is not meant to be legal advice. It offers alternatives,
tips and resources for those with no means to hire an attorney.
Time and time again, we encounter people who want to move forward with a
divorce, but for any number of reasons, procrastinate. That’s understandable.
Sometimes clients dread telling friends, family, and co-workers that the
marriage is over because they feel embarrassed or ashamed. Many people
fear their children's reactions, or what the neighbors might say.
While these emotions are natural, the truth is that in many cases, it
is best for you and for your case not to procrastinate. Here are just
a few reasons not to put off your divorce:
If there have been incidents of harassment or
domestic violence in the marriage, initiating the dissolution process provides protection
and a simplified process for obtaining restraining orders, protection
for the children, property, other family members, etc. If you are experiencing
domestic violence, harassment or abuse at the hands of your spouse, please
protect yourself (and your children) by filing for Dissolution of Marriage,
and for Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, right away.
- Filing for Dissolution of Marriage causes “Automatic Temporary Restraining
Orders” (“ATROs”) to go into effect. These Restraining
Orders prevent either party from selling, transferring, liquidating, or
otherwise altering any asset acquired during the marriage without the
agreement of their spouse, or a court order. These ATROS can help a party
whose spouse tries, for example, to move money from a joint account to
a new account in his or her name, or who would try to sell a house or
car without the other spouse knowing.
A “long term marriage” in the State of California, is a marriage
of 10 years or longer. This matters because spousal support (i.e. “alimony”)
is an issue in your case, if the marriage is 10 years or longer, the spouse
to receive spousal support is presumptively entitled to support for the
rest of his or her life. However, with marriages of less than 10 years,
spousal support is typically payable for a period of time equal to one-half
of the duration of the marriage. So, if the parties were married for 8
years, a supported spouse will typically receive such support for about
4 years. The date upon which you file for divorce is not necessarily the
same as your date of separation, and it is best to contact an attorney
to discuss, as the date of separation is different in every case. However,
if your marriage is on the cusp of being a long-term marriage, the date
of separation can become extremely important. If you are concerned about paying
spousal support, you ought not to delay.
- A toxic marriage has negative effects on children. Many couples try to
stay together “for the children”. However, if the children
are always seeing you and your spouse fight, always dealing with tension,
and feel caught in the middle of your issues with your spouse, that is
not in the best interest of the children. No one enjoys being around people
who cannot get along, and this can be particularly true of children. It
is probably best that you end the fighting, so that the children can come
home to a peaceful, loving home, not one where everyone is walking on
eggshells. Hopefully that peace can be obtained through counseling and
reconciliation. However, when that is not possible, or where one spouse
does not wish to reconcile, moving forward with the divorce process as
smoothly and amicably as possible can neutralize the tension in your home
and allow everyone to move forward with their lives.