You may have felt like your marriage has been over for quite some time, but there’s one thing stopping you from making the move: you don’t think you can afford to make it on your own.
If there are kids involved, the financial woes seem even worse. Not only are you worried about the financial impact ten years down the road, but what about the time between today and a finalized divorce?
If you’re a woman who chose to stay at home with the kids, this all might seem implausible. But there are ways you can move on with your life without sacrificing your lifestyle.
Tip 1 – Hire an experienced divorce lawyer
Hiring an experienced attorney is the first step for you to keep what is yours. Every aspect of your divorce presents an opportunity for him or her to keep your finances at a level that allows you to keep up the lifestyle you enjoyed while married. Your attorney helps negotiate alimony and division of property agreements. In a divorce, they fight on your behalf to get you spousal support so you can maintain your marital lifestyle.
Tip 2 – Work with a financial planner
Many times couples discuss their impending divorce and pledge to keep it amicable. But when discussions and negotiations turn to finances and division of marital assets, amicably becomes acrimonious. A financial planner can help you determine all of your assets including:
· Your home and other real property
· Retirement accounts
· Stock options
The results of your consultation with a financial planner can help a divorce attorney make sure you receive what is due to you.
Tip 3 – Keep the things you want
California is a “community property” state. This means that all assets that came to a couple after marriage and before separation are split evenly between the divorcing couple. But, there are ways to protect these assets from the split. Property is exempt from community property if:
1. It came into your possession before your marriage
2. It was a gift to you alone during the marriage – for example, your parents bought you a diamond bracelet for your birthday.
3. The property in question was from the sale of property you acquired before marriage
4. You got the property after you separated from your husband.
If the property in question is community property, you can negotiate a way to keep it. It could be a home, a car or a treasured work of art. California community property laws require that marital assets be evenly divided, but how you split them doesn’t concern the court as long as the dollar value is fairly equal. The agreement is not valid until the court gives its approval.
With some careful planning, you can afford the happiness you deserve.