Some California couples may be deciding that the best way to start the New Year is to dissolve a marriage that has no hope for a happy future. When a couple has reached that point, there are several steps that each spouse should take before filing to end the marriage to make sure the financial split is done fairly.
First, each person should make sure that he or she has three to five years’ worth of copies of important financial records, such as bank accounts, retirement accounts, mortgages and tax returns. These should be kept in a safe place. Second, a bank account in only the individual’s name begins a separate financial record and credit rating. The person can even move half the balance from a joint account into his or her own bank account.
Third, identify the items that are solely one spouse’s or the other’s. These are items like family heirlooms and assets that were brought into the marriage by one of the parties. Fourth, start identifying marital assets and determining their value; each partner should decide which of the marital assets he or she is interested in retaining.
Another important step for each partner to do after they have documented, secured and valued their assets but before they file for divorce is to seek the input of a lawyer. A lawyer may be able to assure that the asset division process is handled fairly and according to the law. A lawyer may also be able to provide valuable input if among the items to be divided are hard-to-value items such as businesses, real estate, artwork or retirement accounts.
Source: Go Ranking Rates, “How to Perfectly Plan Your Divorce to Protect Your Assets“, Amanda Garcia, January 08, 2014