Getting a divorce is not only expensive in the short-term, but it can also have a long-term financial impact if you don't make any financial preparations. In other words, you should focus on planning in an effort to keep your life on track as much as possible.
A California divorce is often a complex issue, both financially and emotionally. Clearly, every divorce is unique and will not always turn out as expected.
However, there are some steps you can take that can reduce or eliminate the financial stress typically associated with getting a divorce.
So, let's start will a quick review of a common question of how much does a divorce cost? The simple answer is that it depends on the divorce.
The final price tag on any divorce will vary greatly, but the average cost is between $10,000 and $20,000, but can quickly exceed this amount.
The divorce expenses will mostly include attorney fees and court costs, but there are also other associated fees that could apply such as divorce mediation.
If you're considering getting a divorce in California, there are some initial financial strategies to help you avoid a lot of aggravation later.
You would be wise to have face-to-face-meetings with your divorce and family law attorney to review the circumstances of your divorce in order to develop a financial strategy moving forward.
In order to give readers a better understanding of how to financially prepare for a divorce, our Los Angeles family law attorneys are providing a review below.
Plan Ahead Financially Before Filing for a Divorce
After you spouse learns that you are planning to file for a divorce, they might attempt to cut you off financially. You should plan in advance for this possibility.
If your spouse moves out of the family home, you might be in a position where you can't meet all the financial obligations, such as the mortgage or rent. You need to plan ahead on whether you might need a court order for support.
You need to know that you are entitled to one-half of the income in your joint bank accounts and you might consider transferring half of the income into a separate account in your name.
However, you need to remember that you will be required to reveal the funds you take from community accounts after the divorce is file.
California family courts require full disclosure of all assets and debts owned jointly, along with separate property.
Gather Documentation About Assets and Debts
Once you make that decision to get a divorce, you need to make copies of important documents as soon as possible.
Financial documentation is especially important so you will know about all the assets and debts.
In many marriages, one spouse handles all the finances while the other handles all household matters.
This arrangement normally works well, but could leave one spouse in the dark during the divorce process of what are the relevant documents.
You need to gather the following documentation:
- Checking and saving account statements
- Credit card statements
- Retirement and investment account statements
- Employee benefits
- Mortgage and auto loans statements
- Tax returns and W-2's
- Property tax bills
- Recent pay stubs
- Insurance policies
- Credit report
You should be aware that once the divorce process begins, some of these documents might become conveniently unavailable. It would be wise to prepare for some resistance from your spouse.
Get Financial Advice from an Expert
It would be wise to consider getting some help from a financial advisor. If you were in a marriage where your spouse handled all the household financial issues, you will now become responsible for the daily tasks they were performing.
You will now most likely transition from joint income to a single income household. This alone can prove difficult, especially when children are involved.
Now that your spouse is no longer in the picture, you will need to know how to pay the monthly bills. The more you educate yourself about the financial situation, the process will become much easier.
A financial advisor can help you prepare for now and the long-term which will make your transition to a single family income more manageable.
Other Financial Steps to Take in a Divorce
There are some other practical steps to take to plan financially for your divorce.
However, every divorce is unique and specific advice should come from professionals who are familiar with the details of your case.
Here are some additional tips that can help you plan financially:
- Open separate accounts in your name
- Keep track of your expenses
- Spend conservatively
- Delay big financial decisions
- Know what name is attached to important accounts
- Prepare to make sacrifices financially
- Prepare a monthly budget
Obviously, it would also be in your best interest financially to remain on friendly terms with your spouse.
You should make every reasonable effort to make an agreement to work together through the divorce process.
The chances are that you probably won't come out of the divorce with everything you wanted.
So, you need to find common ground with your spouse and prioritize what's most important to you.
Try to be fair and pick your battles wisely, especially if children are involved. You need to mentally accept that your life is going to change and there will be a period of adjustment.
Get Help from a Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer
Planning financially for a divorce can be often seem overwhelming, but if you start early, the process will normally go much smoother.
If you have made the decision to seek a divorce and need more information about divorce proceedings in the state of California, our family lawyers can help you.
We handle all type of California divorce-related issues, including child custody and support, child relocation and visitation rights, divorce mediation, father's rights, domestic violence, restraining orders, prenuptial agreements, and property division.
Furman & Zavatsky are Los Angeles divorce and family law attorneys who represent clients throughout Southern California, including LA County, Ventura County, and the San Fernando Valley.
We are located at 15821 Ventura Blvd #690 Encino, CA 91436. Contact our office for a free case consultation at (818) 528-3471.