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When Your Marriage Ends, Protect Your Financial Well-Being

The end of a marriage is generally a stressful and challenging period during which many changes become inevitable. While the emotional difficulties you are likely experiencing may pass in time, your divorce could have a lifelong impact on your future finances, which could prove to be especially daunting.

Perhaps you and your spouse were both contributors to paying monthly expenses, and you may be preparing to transition from a two-person income to life on your own. You undoubtedly wish to avoid financial complications following your divorce, but you may be unsure of how to proceed toward the best possible outcome for your future financial interests.

Considering the financial side of divorce

While this is likely a difficult period for you, it is also a crucial one. The following steps to avoid financial disaster during the divorce process could provide you with much-needed peace of mind:

  • Obtain financial documents: Obtaining and developing an understanding of the documentation of both your and your spouse's finances can help you prepare a budget for your new life ahead.
  • Obtain an accurate valuation of assets: Determining the value of all the marital assets is generally advisable when facing a divorce. If certain assets are undervalued or overvalued, you could receive a lesser amount in your settlement.
  • Identify tax ramifications: Each applicable asset may be subject to varying tax ratios, and it is helpful to understand how taxes will impact your situation ahead of time.
  • Consider the future: Any type of financial support you receive following your divorce may only be temporary. Understanding the duration and amount of any support to which you are entitled and how it will impact your life can help you better prepare for the future. Likewise, if you expect that you will be responsible for providing child or spousal support, it is important to account for this accurately as you make financial decisions regarding your divorce.
  • Make a budget: Your divorce could potentially reduce your income significantly, so you may want to formulate a plan to adjust to your new financial situation.

Where can I turn for advice and assistance?

Community property states, such as California, generally consider all assets to be marital property, which is subject to equal division between spouses. However, there are still certain aspects that can affect your ultimate share of the marital assets in your divorce settlement. In fact, and especially when complex assets are involved, an even division is not a foregone conclusion.

With a potentially overwhelming number of variables, you may find yourself in need of skilled guidance, but you are unsure of where to turn. With the help of an experienced attorney -- preferably one who is a certified family law specialist -- you can obtain advice and assistance that may prove invaluable before, during and after your divorce proceedings.