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Tips to increase odds of financial success after a divorce in California

Divorce can be difficult. For some couples, difficulties can arise during the property division portion of the divorce proceeding. Essentially, this part of the divorce helps determine who gets what. The issue is so contentious various media outlets throughout the country have published reports on the process and provided tips to help increase the odds of a successful outcome. One of the more recent reports was released by Huffington Post and discusses tips to help better ensure the split is structured specifically for financial success long after the divorce is finalized.

The report provided two main lessons: knowledge and foresight.

Know the financial basics

Gathering information about where savings accounts are held, how funds are invested for retirement, which accounts are separate and joint as well as what type and how much debt is present in the relationship can save a lot of time. Having this information available can also help to better ensure all assets are accounted for and lead to a more successful division.

If possible, couples in California will use this information to help develop a property division determination on their own. This split should be roughly equal. It can help to make a list of all pieces of property, note which are held separately versus jointly and provide a rough fair market value for each asset. Ideally, financial experts with The Wall Street Journal recommend finding a balance between liquid and illiquid assets. The takeaway lesson from this tip was to try to avoid one spouse getting the family home and the other getting all the stocks, bonds and retirement accounts.

Once an agreement is made, it is presented to a judge. In order to be official, the judge will need to sign off and issue a final order. If the couple cannot come to an agreement, the court may become involved.

Plan and prepare for the future

Ultimately, property from a California divorce will either be divided with a marital settlement agreement (MSA) or court judgment. MSAs can be structured in two different forms, either as a contract or a family law money judgment. This will determine what course of action is taken if an ex is not meeting his or her obligations. If structured as a family law money judgment, it can be enforced in the same manner as any money judgment. If structured as a contract, the individual would need to pursue a civil case.

Determining the right structure will vary for each situation. As a result, it is wise for those going through a divorce to contact an experienced California divorce lawyer. This legal professional will discuss your options and help develop a plan that works best for your situation.

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