One of the most crucial tasks in a divorce is protecting your finances. Divorce is a state law matter and you need to understand how your state’s law will apply to you and your specific case. In this blog post, we will concentrate on information about the financial aspects of a divorce.
The division of marital property in a divorce
Community property law provides the standards and terms for dividing marital property during a divorce. All property acquired during the course of the marriage and owned by you and your spouse at the time of the divorce is considered community property. Consequently, these properties are subject to being divided between you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. All other assets and properties acquired prior to marriage, with proof of separate ownership by the individual, are separate property. You and your spouse will both have the chance to provide evidence and present your arguments and claims about which is separate property and which is not and will then be subject to division.
At the start of the divorce, your attorney will ask that you fill out paperwork categorizing which property belongs to whom. You will also list any debts acquired during the marriage. This document is called an “inventory and appraisement.” Accurate and complete documentation is beneficial while negotiating for your share in the division of the community property estate. Start taking notes and pictures of assets and possessions in your home. Take a picture of every room in your house and the inventory in any safe. Sometimes possessions “disappear” during the divorce process, so it is important to be thorough with the documentation process. Taking the time to document everything can protect you in the event that your spouse is trying to hide any assets from you.
After thorough documentation, assess the value of each property. This step allows the court to place a value on each asset, debt, or item of property to be divided. Next, take a look at your credit report and distinguish which credit accounts are in your name. It happens quite often that one spouse opens a credit card account in the other spouse’s name without that spouse’s knowledge. You don’t want to have credit card accounts opened in your name which you know nothing about. Protecting your finances is not limited to taking what is rightfully yours. It also means being protected from responsibility for debts which are not yours. Debts play a huge part in the divorce process, just like assets and properties do.
Be mindful and plan to protect your finances
When considering filing for divorce, you need to have a plan that covers the start of the process through life after divorce. Working with your lawyer to reach your short-term and long-term goals is essential to help you get through the divorce process. Consider your age, health, employment status, and retirement goals when planning. You also need to reevaluate your goals every now and then, depending on the particular circumstances and elements unfolding during the process. Have a solid plan that will support a fair outcome for your important goals and be ready to compromise on some objectives that are not as important to you and will not support your priorities. As much as possible, work with your spouse as a team to keep from having to rely on the judge to settle the community property estate division for you. Consider mediation to settle what is mutually beneficial to you and your spouse. For instance, if you are an older person, you would rather hang on to most of your retirement savings than argue over other assets and properties with a similar value. If you are younger, you would look to avoid acquiring any additional debts and liabilities. You would focus more on dividing fairly the existing debts and liabilities between you and your spouse. It is crucial that you have valid documentation showing you are not responsible for any credit card or business debts and liabilities.
Consult the Right Family Law Attorney to Protecting Your Finances In A Divorce
It is crucial to find the right attorney that will fit the specific circumstances of your case to get the best outcome at the conclusion of your divorce. Having the right attorney will help you plan and develop strategies to accomplish your goals. While speaking with an attorney, make sure you are honest about your goals. This will allow them to represent you in the most effective way possible.
If you are considering divorce, speak with one of our divorce attorneys so you can understand your options and put yourself on the right track for a successful life post-divorce.