Are you trapped in a loveless marriage, but you’re afraid to seek a divorce for economic reasons? Life is too short to remain miserable, and the first step is understanding that you have options.
California is a community property state, which means that in a divorce, you are entitled to 50% of the marital assets. You should be prepared to drive a hard bargain when negotiating for the assets you will need to start your new life. Having a mediated divorce is one way to reduce the acrimony while still fighting for your share of the community property.
You may also be able to seek spousal support, even if it is just during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. This is referred to as alimony pendente lite. The court may order your spouse to cover “reasonable” living expenses and your legal fees until a settlement is reached or a judgment rendered by the court.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for what is rightfully yours. In a divorce, women typically are hit harder financially than their male counterparts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites figures indicating that married women earn roughly 10% less than single women when other factors are equal. However, married men earn as much as 44% more than bachelors do.
Remember, too, that the more areas on which you can reach accord, the less money you will need to spend in court costs and attorneys’ fees to litigate your divorce issues. Mediation is a very useful tool to help both spouses reach an agreement in a divorce settlement.