A divorce can change everything. All the things you may have placed your trust in are now on the line. In the middle of dealing with your present emotions, you may have many concerns about what your future will look like, and rightly so. Will you have to move? What will child custody look like? How will you manage the holidays?
Perhaps one of the most concerning elements of a divorce is worrying about your financial future. Even if you are comfortable now, that could all change once you sign the papers. The outcome of a divorce may seem simple since California’s community property laws direct the equal division of marital property. However, there are certain actions that could complicate that for you.
Don’t let emotions cloud your vision
As soon as you realize divorce is in your future, you would be wise to gather as much financial documentation as you can. Make copies of social security statements, bank statements and investments for both you and your spouse, and gather as much information as you can about your mortgage and home improvement projects. These and other financial documents will help ensure you are getting a fair share of assets and debts. If you wait, you may have a difficult time finding the information.
Other important steps to take to minimize your financial struggles after divorce include the following:
- Learn about the tax implications of assets like retirement accounts and investments, which may affect the actual value of the asset after the divorce.
- Understand whether spousal support will benefit you in light of the recent changes in tax laws.
- Close any joint credit accounts and remove your spouse as an authorized user to prevent your spouse from adding more debt.
- Pay off as much joint debt as possible since creditors will hold both of you responsible even if a divorce order assigns certain debts to one spouse.
- Keep your social media comments to a minimum, especially anything that concerns your divorce or your financial situation.
- Consider using an alternative method of divorce, such as mediation, which can be much less expensive than litigation.
These are only a few of the steps you can take to reduce the stress of your divorce and improve the chances of a favorable outcome. By consulting with an attorney as early as possible in the process, you can learn of other ways to meet your goals and have an advocate to protect your rights and advise you of the most appropriate steps to take along the way.