Navigating the Divorce Process

When faced with divorce here are a few basics to help you navigate the process:



You didn’t plan on getting a divorce when you were getting married.  But, things didn’t work out and now you are facing divorce.  Divorce and be hurtful, stressful, expensive and a lengthy process.  However, by keeping perspective and following some of these dos and don’ts you can protect your interest, help save yourself time and money, and set yourself up for taking charge of your future. 


Hiring an Attorney vs. Mediator:

If you and your spouse can come to an agreement on most issues or if you have not been married very long and have no children, you may want to consider an uncontested divorce or a divorce mediator. An uncontested divorce is when the spouses agree on everything and do not need the court to divide assets or make determinations about spousal or child support or custody. In general, an uncontested divorce will proceed through the system more quickly, be much less complicated, and less of a financial burden.


A divorce mediator, can help you and your spouse to discuss and resolve key issues which you were unable to resolve alone.  If you need help finding a mediator your local domestic relation court could help or ask for a referral from a psychologist or social worker.


This process could significantly reduce stress, time and expenses generally thought of when considering divorce.


If you decide to hire an attorney to protect your interests, you would be entering into a contested divorce.  Which is a divorce where the parties cannot agree, either about getting divorced or about the terms of the divorce, such as the division of assets, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, or the custody of children.  Know that contested divorces can be expensive. 


Divorce attorneys typically charge hourly rates and many require a retainer fee.  You may want to interview a couple before making a decision.  Items to discuss would include but are not limited to: fees, experience, reputation, and any potential conflicts of interest. 


Consider Key Issues:

If you and your spouse did not create a prenuptial agreement you will need to discuss some key issues, such as child custody and alimony.  These key issues can be hot button topics and can be an emotional conversation.  Having these conversations prior to meeting with attorneys can help to reduce time and expenses as well.


What are each of your wishes regarding custody, visitation and child support?

Do you have adequate income to support yourself?  If not, should alimony be considered?

Are there specific assets you or your spouse want?  Should the primary residence be liquidated?


Dos and Don’ts:

·       Don’t sign anything without first having it reviewed by your attorney

·       Don’t move out of the house until you speak with an attorney

·       Do surround yourself with support advisors as needed, such as attorney, financial advisor, tax advisor, support groups, therapist

·       Do review your expenses and assets

·       Do make copies of your tax returns and financial statements for your attorney



If you find yourself facing a divorce.  Allow time to work through your own feelings and get help when and where you need it. Remember to keep prospective and try to be as proactive as possible to reduce time and expenses through the process while still protecting your interests.  By following the suggestions above you may be able to help alleviate some of the stress, time and expense that can be involved when divorcing.





This information does not constitute as legal or tax advise.  Castle Wealth Advisors LLC recommends you contact your legal and tax advisors for additional information and advice prior to making any investment decisions.

Heather Castle

I am originally from Virginia and grew up in Tuscaloosa, Al.  I completed both of my degrees at the University of Alabama.  My undergrad degree in Finance and then later my MBA from the Manderson Business School through their Executive MBA program. 

I started Castle Wealth Advisors, LLC because I wanted to provide ethical and approachable financial planning and investment management to individuals and business owners, concerned with their financial futures, regardless of age, sex, race, or net worth.

I've always believed clients should work with reputable, qualified, and experienced advisors.  So it was important to me to gain industry experience as well as pursuing additional industry specific designations.  I have passed the following licensing exams:

     Series 7, General Securities Representative

     Series 66, Investment Advisor Representative 

     Series 9 & 10, General Securities Sales Supervisor

     California Life, Health, and Variable Insurance (License #0K01554)

I have been in the financial services industry since 2006 and have work with many differing type of clients over the years.  One thing I know to be true, everyone wants to feel heard and cared about.  Meaning everyone I have ever worked with wants to feel like their desires, wants and needs have been heard and taken into consideration when speaking about their personal financial matters.

Many people have the same goals, they just express them differently, and then there are a few who’s view and desires are completely different.  This is one of the aspects I love about my job.  The PEOPLE!  I get to meet some many interesting people and they challenge me daily.  No day in my line of work is the same.  Today I could be planning for a family who owns a small business and tomorrow working with a women going through a painful divorce.  Listening and building financial plans and strategies around personal needs is why many of my clients have said they do business with me and have stayed with me. 

Another reason I love my job… I get to truly HELP people.  I get to make a living and provide for my family while helping others.  Over my career I have felt a need to dive deeper into financial planning and working with high net worth individuals who have greater planning and investing needs.  Listed below I have highlighted a few of the areas I specialize in:

·      Women in transition (divorce/ death)

·      Corporate Executives

·      Young Entrepreneurs

·      Small Business Owners

·      Family with Special Needs Members

·      Complex Retirement and Estate Planning Needs

Currently I live in Brentwood and really enjoy the West Side of Los Angeles.  I am actively involved with the Junior League of Los Angeles.  I have a passion for trying new things and new experiences.  So, in my free time I love traveling and scuba diving.  I also am interested in learning French, taking pilot’s lessons and dancing the tango!