A divorce can have a significant impact on a person’s current and future income and expenses. Therefore, someone who is thinking about ending their marriage in California should get a clear picture of their finances. The first step is to obtain information about household wages, bonuses or other income earned over the past several years. This data may be obtained by reviewing a previously filed income tax return.

It is also a good idea to find out if a spouse is entitled to money from a trust fund or compensation from a business venture at some point in the future. Finally, try to learn more about any bank, brokerage or retirement accounts that a spouse may have as this could be helpful in negotiating a divorce settlement.

Those who are planning to get divorced should also consider their future financial needs. For instance, those who have kids may need to make child support payments or contribute to a child’s college education fund. Parents may also be required to contribute to the cost of a child’s school uniforms, class trips and other incidental costs. If a parent has custody of a child, that may influence how much they are required to contribute financially. In many cases, child support payments stop after a minor turns 21.

Generally speaking, the spouse who makes more money or has access to more assets pays alimony or cedes a greater share of marital assets. However, this isn’t always the case, and an attorney may be able to protect a client’s interests during divorce settlement talks. If a couple has a prenuptial agreement, this may resolve questions related to property division or whether an individual is actually entitled to alimony or other payments.