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Mistakes to avoid when considering a California divorce

California residents who are considering filing for divorce should anticipate a challenging time between the initial filing and the final divorce settlement. There will be many decisions to make and changes to adjust to during this time, and the implications of those choices will have long-lasting effects on all involved. It is imperative that spouses move through the divorce process with an eye toward the eventual outcome, and make decisions accordingly.

One common mistake made at the onset of divorce is not having access to important documents. It is a good practice to make copies of all legal records and financial documents before the divorce is filed. Items to include are wills, vehicle titles, property deeds, brokerage statements and insurance policies.

It is also necessary to take a full accounting of all assets and debts, regardless of whether they are owned jointly or separately. By knowing where the family finances stand, spouses are better able to predict what they will end up with at the end of the divorce process, and can plan accordingly. This is also the right time to work out a comprehensive budget of one's expenses following the split, in order to ensure that there will be sufficient income or assets to cover those expenses.

While it can seem overwhelming to tackle so many financial issues at once, it is important to keep in mind that the decisions made now are the building blocks of one's future security. By emerging from a California divorce with a fair and equitable settlement, each party is in a good position to begin anew, and construct a life that suits their own needs and desires. Careful planning and active participation in the process are key to achieving a successful end and a new beginning.

Source: Forbes, "Three Types of Financial Mistakes Divorcing Women Make (And How to Avoid Them)," Jeff Landers, Nov. 27, 2012

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