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Financial steps to take before a divorce

There are steps that Orange County couples who are ending their marriage can take when they are contemplating a divorce that might give them a better idea of what their financial situation will look like after the divorce. Friends and family members might offer advice, but it might not be appropriate for every situation. Professionals, such as attorneys and certified divorce financial analysts, are likely to offer more reliable counsel.

It is important for people to understand spending in their household and what their assets and debts are. They might want to gather financial documentation including tax returns, pay stubs, credit card bills and bank statements. This will give them a picture of how property might be divided in the divorce as well. A budget can help people understand their present financial needs and anticipate future ones.

The other spouse may be difficult to work with in some divorces. This could include a reluctance to share information. Having the documents may help in these circumstances, but in some cases, it might be necessary to go through the court system to get the necessary information. Even if the other spouse is behaving in an obstructionist way, this is not the right time to make any major financial decisions including changing a will or beneficiary designations.

According to community property laws in California, most assets and debts acquired after a couple marries are considered the property of both individuals. This means that if there is a retirement account that only one person contributed to, the account might still be considered the property of both people. Investments or business ownership may make this property division particularly complex, and thus an estranged couple in this type of a situation might want to meet with their respective attorneys and see how an agreement could be negotiated.

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