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Steps to protect financial interests in a divorce

Many Californians who want to divorce start the process during the beginning of the year. Some wait to get through the holidays and then rush to file without taking some basic steps to protect themselves.

Before filing for divorce, people may first want to meet with financial professionals to learn about the financial implications of their divorce. People will also want to carefully list all assets, accounts and debts both they and their spouse have. This may help them to make sure that they do not miss listing something later on that should have otherwise been divided.

It is also a good idea for people to open their own bank account before filing. In some cases, an estranged spouse will empty out a joint bank account. People should also try not to withdraw retirement funds to pay debts or their divorce costs. Doing so may mean that they will have a difficult time retiring comfortably in the future. Running a credit report to identify all jointly held liabilities is a good idea. They can then contact the creditors to see if they can close the jointly held accounts to disentangle themselves financially.

Property division can be one of the most contentious issues in a divorce case. By carefully thinking through the entire asset and liability picture and then taking steps to protect their financial interests, people may make their divorce proceed more smoothly. They may want to get help from a family law attorney with filing the petition and in subsequently entering into negotiations for a comprehensive settlement agreement that covers other applicable divorce legal issues as well.

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