If you are thinking about a potential divorce, you understandably have quite a lot on your mind, ranging from emotional questions about finding love again, to familial issues of how your children will cope with the divorce and where they will live following a divorce, to practical questions such as whether you will remain in your home or move to a new location. But what is often most critical in a divorce is how your financial picture will look both during and after the divorce. Here are several steps you should be taking to prepare your finances for a divorce.
Understand What Your Assets Are
Now is the time to take a complete accounting of all of the property and assets that you own and do an honest assessment of what they are worth and your need for them. Savings and checking accounts might be easy to pin down, but think also about debts and assets you might not normally consider, including:
- Family heirlooms (especially those held by other family members)
- Retirement benefits
- Trust funds
- Investment holdings
- Credit card debt
- Vehicle debt
- Student loan debt
Furthermore, consider whether these debts or assets are in your name alone or with your spouse. You can save time and money by presenting this information in full to a family law attorney when the time comes.
Identify and Locate Your Spouse’s Assets
What’s potentially even more important is understanding what your spouse’s assets include. In a divorce, your spouse is required to fully present all assets to the court so that community property assets can be split 50/50 and separate assets can be considered in determining issues such as spousal support or child support. Oftentimes, unscrupulous spouses will try to hide assets once they understand a divorce is pending, so the earlier you can take steps to locate and identify assets held by your spouse, the better. Such holdings include:
- Property held at an office
- Business investments
- Accounts held in your spouse’s name only
- Assets given to friends or family leading up to a divorce (these are subject to division)
- Property held at a vacation home or other location
Prepare a Realistic Budget For Your Post-Divorce Life
If you have been married for a long time and at least partially dependent on a spouse’s income or shared contributions to expenses, you should take the time to put together a realistic budget for what you will need to maintain your standard of living on your own. Think about rent costs, utilities, health insurance, vehicle costs, and any other expenses you will have. By putting together an accurate and complete list of your expenses, you can present a more compelling case to a court or opposing counsel for a fair spousal support agreement.
Get Answers to Your California Divorce Questions
If you are considering the potential implications that a divorce might have on your finances, speaking with an experienced California family law attorney can provide you with guidance on your particular circumstance, whether you decide to actually pursue a divorce or not. To schedule a consultation regarding any questions about divorce in California, contact one of the family law attorneys at Kearney | Baker today at 626-768-2945.