When your divorce is finalized, you probably hope to continue living in the comfortable manner to which you were accustomed during your marriage. You may have heard of friends or relatives who struggled financially after their divorces, and you want to take every precaution against that, if possible.
If you and your spouse have considerable wealth, the actions you take during property division can go far in ensuring you obtain your fair share of that wealth under California law. While you may have to make some adjustments in your living arrangements, spending habits or job situation, you can take steps during your divorce to avoid some of the common mistakes that can be detrimental to your post-divorce finances.
Don't overlook these factors
The length of your marriage can play a significant role in the division of property during divorce. If you and your spouse have been married for decades, your finances may be hopelessly entwined. Even if you had a prenuptial agreement, it is possible that your financial transactions during your marriage nullified some of the terms of that agreement. Having legal assistance can help you identify which assets are on the table for division.
However, it is important to have legal advice from someone who understands the complexities of a high-asset divorce. Some of those complexities may include the following:
- The penalties, taxes and potential of certain stocks and investments that require careful consideration to split them equally
- The potential comingling of individual assets, such as gifts and inheritances
- The benefits and drawbacks of fighting to keep the family home or other real estate
- The appreciation of property that you or your spouse owned prior to the marriage
- Each spouse's interest in a business venture
- The division of retirement funds without risking heavy tax burdens
- The changes in recent tax laws as they relate to alimony payments
- The valuation and division of unique assets, such as art or antiques
Separating marital debt is also a delicate matter. You may have helped your spouse pay off student loans while you still have your own educational debts to pay. Your spouse may have used a joint credit card for extravagant purchases, and you do not want to carry that debt into your post-divorce life. A skilled attorney can assist you in making sure you do not end up with more of the marital debt than you deserve and helping you reach your goals for a secure financial future.