When a spouse decides to move forward with ending a marriage in California, the first reaction is often to hire an attorney. While that is certainly important, recent advice suggests that obtaining financial guidance may be nearly as important as one moves toward dissolving a marriage. Multiple studies show that women, in particular, tend to know less about financial issues and lack the confidence to take control of their financial futures. When it comes to divorce, these factors can combine to threaten one's financial stability.
In order to protect one's financial interests, it is important gain knowledge of one's assets and liabilities. This involves taking a close look at any shared bank accounts, credit cards, and even utility bills in an effort to determine where one stands financially before beginning the divorce process. When it comes time to negotiate a division of marital property, understanding what assets are available is key to reaching a desirable settlement.
The next step is to build a carefully determined budget, and then stick to it. Almost everyone who gets divorced will have a different financial status than they did while married, and one's spending and saving goals need to shift according to those changes. It is essential to know what one's cost of living will be once the split is finalized and whether it will be possible to cover those expenses after the divorce.
Transitioning from married to single involves a lot of issues that must be handled in a relatively short period of time. Understanding where to start and how to proceed is important, as the decisions that will be made at the onset of a divorce can have serious and lasting effects in the years to come. As with most financial matters, being well-informed is the most important aspect, and will greatly color the eventual outcome of a California divorce.
Source: USA Today, "Before divorce, you should get financially prepared," Hadley Malcolm, Sept. 9, 2012