Financial Support: If you are asking for spousal or child support, you will generally receive more financial assistance if you are already employed or have a source of income, your husband is earning more than you, and you can show a need for his financial assistance through a request for child and/or spousal support. Thus, it may be detrimental to purposefully limit your stream of income, quit your job if not necessary, or downplay your ability to earn because you think you will receive more from your husband. The combination of what you are earning or receiving financially and additional spousal and/or child support will always be higher.
Domestic Violence Orders: If you are in an abusive relationship and experiencing threats, intimidation, and even physical assault, you should separate from your husband or abusive relationship as soon as you are able to do so. You must educate yourself about the domestic violence cycle and know that each incident could be worse physically and psychologically than the last one you were experiencing. Without assistance, education, and separation, each incident could become more harmful, not only to you, but also to any children living with you. There are domestic violence assistance centers located at the courthouses in California where family law cases are heard by judges, and restraining orders are issued.
Watch What You Say About Your Children’s Other Parent: Unless you need the protection of domestic violence restraining orders, try not to speak badly about the children’s other parent. Demonstrate to your children that you still respect and communicate with their father to psychologically and financially support your children, and to let the children know that they are most loved and cared for by mother and father. In other words, the welfare of the children should come first.
Be careful about what you say to your children about the other parent even if your children are teenagers or even adults. Try not to align your children against their father and/or other siblings.
Alternatives to Court Litigation: If there is no domestic violence, or the need for restraining orders, consider an alternative to divorce litigation, such as mediation or collaborative divorce. Both you and your husband may even be able to meet for a free or reduced fee consultation with a family law attorney/mediator and or collaborator, and have the opportunity to make a joint decision as to how you will both proceed. An alternative to divorce litigation will generally assist husband and wife to move more quickly through the divorce process, with less emotional, psychological, and financial detriment. It generally will help both parents to jointly reassure the children that you are working together to provide two homes for them in which the children can be parented and nurtured by both mother and father.
Once the divorce or legal separation begins, don’t play games with your spouse. Try to cooperate to gather and prepare the information that will be necessary to describe, assess, value, and divide your assets intelligently, amicably, and speedily.
Don’t let family members or friends force you into a divorce process that is uncomfortable for you and your spouse.
One of the greatest compliments I have heard from couples with whom I mediated or collaborated is that when they go to their child’s school for a meeting with the teacher, the teacher may not even know that the children’s parents are separated, divorced, or not living together.