You do NOT have to do the homework before we meet you but we can’t end your case without you doing it.
The State of California REQUIRES that everyone do the forms in the homework section. You can’t get a divorce in CA without doing them because the law requires everyone to do a complete and honest disclosure of all their assets. If we don’t know what is on the table, how can we divide it. Now you can do the Schedule of Assets and Debts together and both sign off on it if you want, but each of you must do your own Income and Expense Declaration. Do as much as you can and if you have questions we will finish it together. The reason I can charge so little is because I am not doing your homework for you. I could charge more and send someone to your house to dig through your files and put this together for you but you might as well save the money and do it yourself. If you really need that kind of personal help, I have an experienced lady who can do that for you for $50 an hour (with a 3 hour minimum).
Get the Official CA forms here to fill out at your convenience:
Things to do before you come and what to bring:
By the time you come to see me you must already have put values on your major assets. If we are going to play “Let’s Make A Deal” to see who gets what asset, we need to know what things are worth.
1st you have to define what is marital property and what is separate property. Anything you already owned prior to marriage (paid off home, car, furniture, stock, retirement) is separate. Anything you have ever gotten as a gift is separate and anything you have inherited in separate. As long as you can identify your separate property by tracing it back to the original source you get to keep it. This most often comes up as an issue when separate property funds have been invested in a marital home. This issue is resolved if you can trace back the money.
The form at the top of the page, called Schedule of Assets and Debts, will help you organize your property by showing you when you got it and what it is worth. Remember to use yard sale prices on furniture and that kind of personal property) By law this form must be completed by both of you, so you might as well get a jump start by going through all your things and seeing what you have. BUT you can do one form for both of you if you want to.
The 2nd form you need to do that is posted above (Income and Expense Declaration (Family Law) needs to be completed by each side (you can’t do one for both of you). Fill in as much info about yourself as possible and anything you don’t understand can be completed with me. This is another mandatory form that the court requires each party completes.
What is the value of your home? The easiest way to find that out is to see what other homes in your area are selling for. Any real estate agent would be happy to run comparable listings (comps) for you because they want your business. If you live in the San Diego area and you don’t know a realtor, you can contact my husband who can provide you with comps. After you agree on the home’s value, deduct what is owed to see what your equity is.
What are the values of your pensions or other retirement holdings? Bring copies of your most recent statements. Had you earned any of it BEFORE the marriage? If so, that is your separate property. Sometimes it is not clear how much your pension is worth. Contact your plan administrator to see if they can help you value this important asset. If you need further help you might need to see a forensic accountant. For a very good forensic accountant, contact Sandra Popescu at 858-759-5027 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. If either of you has a business, you really need assistance determining a value. The help of a forensic accountant is vital in order to determine the value of a medical or legal practice other other business.
What is the Kelly Blue Book value of your car? You can get that online.
When you come bring your most recent bank, money market, investment account or other kinds of statements that show what your financial holdings are. Bring information about any debts you have. These would be things like credit cards, personal loans, doctor bills, etc. Bring proof of what you have earned for the past 12 months. At least bring your most recent pay stub which should show your year to date earnings. W2 statements from the prior year is also helpful. By finding out the answers to all these questions and filling out the forms wth that information prior to getting to my office, we will be able to move quickly when it comes to dividing up the property.
FOR PARENTS OF MINOR CHILDREN:
Think about who you could take any child disputes to. Do you know anyone with superior parenting skills, maybe an older couple who has GREAT adult kids, so you know they can be trusted to give you good advice. We can name them as the go to people any time the two of you can’t agree on what to do about a child issue. This will keep you out of court if disputes come up.
The last homework you need to do is to print out my fee agreement, read and sign it and bring it to our appointment.
Print the Fee Agreement below:
This link will open and allow printing of your Fee Agreement
If you have children and are wondering how to tell the kids about the divorce, you may want to follow this link.
How do I tell the kids?
… a Create-a-Storybook™ Guide To Preparing Your Children – with Love!
Endorsed by therapists, attorneys, mediators, educators, clergy and other divorce professionals..