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Deciding to seek a divorce certainly wasn't the easiest thing you've ever done -- but actually approaching your spouse about the divorce may seem even harder. You're likely anticipating everything from tears to threats, and that's not easy to handle.

You can, however, potentially make the conversation a lot easier by having a plan in mind for how you see the split going. While you don't want to hit your spouse over the head with all the details at once, it's often wise to have a clear idea of what you think should happen regarding important issues.

Here are some suggestions you might want to consider:

1. Have a custody and visitation schedule in mind

California has two types of custody when it comes to the children: legal custody and physical custody. Physical custody determines where your child lives, while legal custody gives you the right to make decisions about your child's education, medical care and well-being.

Whether you envision joint physical custody of the children or primary physical custody with visitation instead, have an idea of what you think the parenting schedule should be along with an explanation about why you think things should work that way. While you can't force your spouse to agree to your terms, a fair schedule and reasonable terms are much more likely to be accepted than a lopsided plan.

2. Have a clear idea about how to split the assets and debts

Keeping in mind the fact that California is a community property state where generally everything you acquire after marriage (including those debts) gets split 50-50, you can often calculate a fair split yourself.

Naturally, that's not something that you can do if your assets and debts are complicated or you think your spouse is hiding income. (If that's the case, however, you probably will have a much more complicated divorce.)

Talking over your options for child custody or the division of marital assets with an attorney before you talk to your spouse can help you stay calm and focus on the practical concerns -- not the emotional reaction from your spouse. Find out how our office can assist.


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