Readying your finances for divorce is one of the most important things to do before you file the divorce petition and serve your spouse with the papers. While you need to make sure you have enough to make ends meet during the legal proceedings, it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on your post-divorce life. Our guide below can help you get up to speed on the important financial considerations.
1. Track your expenses. To get an accurate picture of the spousal support and/or child support you’ll need (if any), you must first begin tracking every dollar that goes into and comes out of the family bank accounts. Monthly income and expenses aren’t the only financial figures you’ll need to supply, though. If your divorce is contested, you will need to supply pay stubs, retirement account information, and tax returns. You and your spouse must also supply an inventory of debts and assets, with an estimate of each asset’s value.
Remember: California is a community property state. This means that all community property, which is everything either spouse obtains during the marriage, is presumed to be owned 50/50 by each spouse.
2. Start stashing away money. The good news is that you can petition for temporary spousal support or child support before your divorce is final. It’s still wise to begin putting away liquid assets in your name (and your name only) to help bridge the gap between the petition for divorce and your first temporary support payments. In addition to your legal expenses, you will probably have to live on less money — at least for a little while — once divorce is finalized. Now is the time to open your own bank account and line of credit if you don’t have both of these.
3. Make a budget. Begin your budget’s creation by putting down all the expenses you will need to pay during your divorce — rent, food, childcare, gas, and legal expenses. Next, calculate how much you will need to cover those expenses. The more cushion you have, the better.
4. Don’t completely abandon your spending habits. In a general sense, you are eligible for spousal support that will allow you to continue a lifestyle similar to the one you had prior to filing for divorce. While it’s smart to begin living a little more frugally immediately before you file for divorce, be careful about altered spending habits that continue for a long time prior to the filing. The court will analyze the year prior to your filing for divorce to help determine the lifestyle to which you are accustomed.
5. Choose your attorney — and other divorce professionals — wisely. Anthoor Law Group understands the many do-it-yourself divorce services available online. A short-term cost-saving measure, though, could easily be the most expensive mistake you’ll ever make. The best way for you to ensure that you’re getting or paying an appropriate amount of spousal support and child support is to hire an attorney. The best way to get a fair division of community property is to retain the services of a quality attorney.
Our legal team would be happy to help guide you through your divorce so your stress is minimized and your future is secure. Contact us today to set up a consultation.
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