Filing for a divorce is a big step. It may be a relief after dealing with a troubled relationship or you may feel it was an abrupt decision on your spouse’s part. Either way, the divorce process will be difficult. Prior to filing for divorce, you should familiarize yourself with the divorce process and what you might be facing in the near future.

Do some online research, talk to divorced friends and family and consult with a family law attorney to become better acquainted with the details of the divorce process. It is important you have a good vision of what the process will be like and what to expect so you can better understand the outcome you are hoping for. Should you hire an attorney, they will want to know your expectations and hopes; knowing these will help them obtain that outcome for you, but the first step is knowing what you want.

Prior to filing for divorce, you will also want to try to reach agreement with your spouse on all the elements of a divorce. These will include the parenting plan and associated timesharing schedule, spousal support order, child support order and the division of debts and assets, also called property division. Don’t spend too much time trying to fight out the details but do make a good faith effort at agreeing on everything you can. This will save you time, money and stress down the road. Also make sure to get your finances in order, which may have to happen before you can attempt an agreement with your spouse.

During the divorce, a lot of financial information will be asked of you, all of which will be under scrutiny from everyone from divorce attorneys to forensic accountants. Make sure your records are accurate and your financial information is readily available. Knowing all of what is at stake from the very beginning can help you coordinate the various elements of your divorce. For example, having a detailed schedule of assets and debts from the beginning can help you and your spouse better visualize a fair and just property division.

Having a good idea of how the debts and assets will be divided will help you determine what a fair spousal support amount is. These things can always change during the divorce process but this will take time and most people want to get their divorce done as quickly as possible so they can move on with their lives. Keep in mind that it takes at least 6 months to get a divorce in California, starting from the date you file. It isn’t something that can be rushed; 6 months is the mandatory waiting period so plan accordingly. However, given all the agreements that need to be made, a divorce can easily take much longer than that if you don’t prepare and plan ahead.

Are you in Los Angeles and have questions about the divorce process? Certified Family Law Specialist Mark H. Karney has experience handling many complex divorce issues in Los Angeles County. Attorney Mark H. Karney can help you plan and prepare for your divorce, potentially saving you time, money and stress down the road. Call our Los Angeles office at 310-564-5710; email us at or contact us through our online form to schedule your free consultation with one of Los Angeles’s premier family law attorneys.