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Preparing finances for a divorce

California residents that are getting a divorce should be aware of the negative impact the process can have on their finances. However, there are some things individuals can do to protect themselves and mitigate the financial effects of divorce.

Having financial accounts that are solely in their name is essential for individuals who are seeking a divorce. It may be wise for people to go to financial institutions that are different from the ones their spouses use to avoid mistakes or confusion. Credit that is obtained before a divorce may result in someone obtaining a higher credit limit as it will be determined by the combined income of both spouses. A person should open a personal bank account that only he or she can access. Doing so can offer someone privacy and a method for paying for his or her own expenses, which can include divorce-related costs.

Keeping an accurate record of all of the financial accounts, both joint and individual, also is important. Details that should be noted include a list of account numbers, authorized users, balances and contact information for each creditor or bank. A record also should be made of retirement plans, vehicles, jewelry, furniture, insurance policies and brokerage accounts as well as all debts that are owned individually or jointly.

It may be prudent to hire a divorce financial analyst, who may help devise a strategy to properly separate one's finances from his or her spouse's. Accountants, financial planners and attorneys may assist in locating hidden financial assets, determining the impact of certain financial actions, appraising assets and mediating or negotiating financial settlement terms between ex-spouses.

An attorney that practices family law may advise his or her clients about the best legal strategy to use in divorces involving significant assets. Litigation may be necessary to obtain favorable settlement terms concerning the division of property, such as real estate or business assets. Negotiation may be suggested when it comes to retirement plans and certain types of individual property.

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