California couples whose marriages are coming to an end will need to look at the financial as well as the emotional side of things. Complications might arise due to issues around child support, alimony and division of community property. One of the first things people should do during a divorce is to take stock of their own financial situation, the financial situation of their spouse and their marital assets. This may include income, debts, retirement accounts and life insurance policies.
People should also understand how their expenses will change. It might be necessary for one spouse to move into a new home while continuing to pay a portion of the mortgage. There may also be expenses couples anticipate continuing to share for some time such as saving for a child’s college education.
Some people might find it necessary to speak to a tax or financial adviser. Selling a home or dividing a jointly-owned business or retirement accounts can have complex financial and tax ramifications. Individuals must also keep in mind that it is necessary to change beneficiary designations on life insurance, retirement and similar accounts so that the ex-spouse is no longer listed.
A person who is contemplating a divorce may want to obtain the advice and counsel of a family law attorney even if it appears that the process will be amicable. Even friendly divorces may be stressful, and this can result in a person forgetting some financial aspects or making poor decisions. An attorney may be able to help keep the focus on practical matters despite the emotions that often accompany the process. In a community property state like California, it is important to determine what should be classified as marital property and what assets should be deemed separately owned.