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Know your finances before divorcing

Not all couples in California share the job of managing the finances. In fact, it is not unusual for there to be a division of labor when it comes to managing the household income. One spouse may handle day-to-day spending, like paying for groceries and utilities, while the other may manage long-term financial accounts and products, such as mortgages, retirement funds, and investments.

Unfortunately, ignorance is not always bliss when it comes to financial matters. When a couple divorces, both day-to-day and long-term financial assets and obligations become a matter of consideration. In some cases, the spouse who does not manage major financial accounts may be unaware of the couple's true financial situation. This can make it difficult for that spouse to negotiate an equitable distribution of marital property.

While financial literacy is important for everyone, individuals who are considering divorce should take steps to make sure that they fully understand their financial situation. This means reviewing credit reports, mortgages and all financial accounts. This information is very important when deciding how to handle assets after divorce.

People who are considering divorce may wish to speak with an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer may be able to request documentation so that both attorney and client have a better understanding of the client's family finances. This is particularly important if the client suspects that his or her spouse has been hiding assets or lying about financial matters.

From there an attorney may be able to advise legal strategies for ensuring the financial well-being of the client. This may include selling the home and dividing the assets, requesting a share of retirement accounts and pensions and even asking for spousal maintenance.

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