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Linda D. States

How to financially plan for a divorce

Taking steps to prepare financially for divorce even before it is underway may help some people in California through the process. For people who do not have an income or manage the family finances, some steps may be critical such as applying for an individual line of credit. This is something a person who has always shared joint accounts with a spouse may want to do before leaving the marriage.

People might also want to gather all financial documents and make copies of them. Later, if the divorce become acrimonious and these documents are in the spouse's control, it might become much more difficult to obtain them. People may also want to get copies of credit reports and correct any erroneous information before the divorce is underway. This can also be an opportunity to review joint accounts and ensure that a spouse is not misusing them. If the couple also shares a joint bank account, a person might want to open an individual one.

It is also important to be prepared for how taxes may change. A divorce financial adviser might be able to advise a person on whether taxes will be due on assets sold or divided during the divorce. An attorney and a therapist might also be helpful professionals at this time.

A person who has not worked outside the home or whose income is much lower than that of the other spouse might want to talk to an attorney about what a divorce may mean financially. Since California is a community property state, unless the couple has signed a prenuptial agreement, the lower-earning spouse should still be able to claim half of most assets acquired after marriage. The spouse may also be entitled to receive temporary alimony.

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