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A fresh start and the benefit of foresight in divorce proceedings

Whether one consciously buys into the idea of New Year's resolutions or not, it is a fact that many people see January as a fresh start. For some this may mean relatively low-key changes in diet or fitness, while others may feel that it is time to pursue a completely new life. California residents whose resolutions include a divorce may wish to give serious consideration as to how the division of marital assets affects them. A major change in marital status will not only affect one in the short term, but also in the years to come.

As one begins the divorce process, it is important to put together a complete picture of all income and expenditures. Income may be derived from a variety of sources, such as salaries, stocks or retirement plans. It is also essential to have a breakdown of debts and expenditures, both personal and jointly held. These may seem obvious considerations, but it is easy to forget an item here or there once one begins to look at the bigger picture.

Less obvious, and with potentially further-reaching consequences, are things like pensions, life insurance and medical insurance. Knowing the values and terms of such investments or benefits is crucial in order to allow one to understand the effects the divorce will truly have. If there are children involved, they will also be affected, thus, requiring additional consideration when discussing finances. One's post-divorce income may be significantly reduced; therefore, one may wish to have contingency plans in place.

Being prepared is a key element of successfully navigating any change. Seeking appropriate advice and guidance may help one to understand the implications, both legal and otherwise, of any decisions. Professional guidance, such as that obtained through mediation, can also assist a couple with obtaining a mutually beneficial settlement, allowing both parties to move forward. For California residents initiating divorce proceedings, a little foresight may save both time and money.

Source: The Huffington Post, "My 2015 New Year's Resolution Is My Divorce", Jim Halfens, Jan. 14, 2015

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