When people are considering a divorce, many times one of the primary concerns is how to pay for the divorce. You may already be struggling with paying the bills, so how to pay for your divorce attorneys may weigh heavily on your minds. You may also question how to pay for counseling if needed.
You may also wonder if you get a divorce, how you will pay for basic needs, like rent, utility bills, and food. Most couples continue to do what they have always done after they file for divorce, but in high-conflict divorces, money is often a major issue and is not so easily resolved.
Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATROs)
When you file for divorce in California, page two of the Summons contains the Standard Family Law Restraining Orders, which are automatic temporary restraining orders (or ATROs) that apply to you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. The purpose of these orders is to ensure that that neither party will make any financial changes. Both parties are restricted from moving money except for paying the necessities of life, like the mortgage or rent payment, or food, utilities and health insurance.
The ATROs are in place to make sure that the spouses and your children are protected from having insurance cancelled, or not having access to funds which may be necessary to meet their basic living expenses. Although allocation of bank accounts and other money issues will have to be resolved, including how you are going to pay for the divorce, it may be best to wait to make those decisions.
Having a facilitated conversation during Mediation or the Collaborative Divorce process about how to handle your finances going forward can help you make informed decisions that you both can live with.
Assistance with Budgeting: Mediation or Collaboration
We find that many couples live beyond their means. The out-flow exceeds the income. It may be that the first time that you have ever done a budget is during the divorce process. That can be frightening because that is the first time you realize your expenses exceed your income. Now, not only do you have to figure out how to pay for the divorce, but you have to make budgets for living separately in two households. It is not easy. The best advice we give is “Don’t change anything until you at least have a conversation, and reach agreement about it.”
During mediation or the Collaborative Divorce process, one of the first conversations we have is about how to handle the finances. A neutral financial consultant can assists you both in making budgets for your future that you both understand and comply with.
For assistance with any aspect of divorce, marital agreements, or settlements, contact us at Chase, Berenstein and Murray, Counselors at Law. You may also call us at 650-642-3897 to schedule a consultation.