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Learning to navigate finances will help, before and after divorce

Marriage is not a one-size-fits-all institution. Every couple's vision of the division of labor or the work/life balance of each spouse evolves based on many different factors. Some California residents will be familiar with the situation where one spouse takes on the responsibility for all financial-related affairs. This may work just fine when there are no problems within the marriage; however, when divorce is in the cards, it can be a major hindrance to the spouse who has never dealt with that area.

At first, he or she may find themselves confused by understanding breakdowns of bank statements and utility bills. Rent or mortgage payments may be a complete mystery, together with any associated property taxes. Basic household budgeting may also be uncharted territory. Given some time and help in understanding the more simple financial elements of day-to-day life, one may gain this knowledge relatively soon in order to get a handle on more common expenditures. More complex issues, such as insurance and pension funding, require more in-depth analysis and information.

There are many areas in which insurance plays a part. One's home, health, car and life are the first items that might spring to mind; however, an individual may require additional types of insurance in certain circumstances. Retirement funds may be in the forms of stocks and shares or other investment plans, the management of which may be dealt with by one of several organizations. If insurances and retirement plans relate to joint policy holders, this is likely to be viewed as community property in California, and thus become part of the divorce negotiations.

Even if there are no joint insurances or investments in the community property assessment, all is not necessarily lost. Bringing together as much paperwork as possible that relates to all financial matters is the first step toward determining what one's divorce settlement may eventually be. It may be possible to use one's settlement as an initial investment into one's future. Ensuring that one has the appropriate advice is necessary in order to navigate long-term financial security.

Source: seattletimes.com, "Divorce leaves Mercer Island woman short on financial savvy", George Erb, June 26, 2015

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