Deciding to divorce is typically not a decision people make on a whim. Often, it comes after months or years of a struggling marriage or a marriage-testing event that leaves spouses (and their relationship) broken. In other words, it usually does not happen overnight.
Because of this, it is possible to do some preparation that can make the divorce process — if it does, in fact, come to that — a little easier. This is especially important when it comes to the financial elements of divorce.
Well-informed can mean well-prepared
The financial element of divorce can be particularly complicated and stressful. Each spouse wants what they feel they deserve, and wants to ensure that the ultimate settlement is fair. To make this easier, inform yourself of your family finances.
Make sure that you understand what money is coming into the marriage and where the money is going. Review bank statements, examine tax returns, and talk to a financial professional. This can take time and diligence, so do not wait until after someone files for divorce to start learning about your finances.
Know who owns what
In California, generally everything earned or in debt after two people marry belongs to the community, or the couple. Upon divorce, courts divide marital property equally between parties. As such, you should know what belongs to the community and what does not.
Places to find this information include purchase agreements, titles and prenuptial agreements. And keep in mind that debts are just like property, so be sure you know about any loans that you or your spouse has taken out during the marriage.
Consult an attorney
All off this can seem overwhelming, especially if you have not made the final decision of whether you will divorce. However, you do not have to figure this out alone, and you have the right to be informed about your marital assets and liabilities.
Reaching out to an attorney can help you better understand your rights and the property division laws in California. With legal guidance, you can secure the information you need so you can feel confident and prepared in the event of a divorce.