California couples wanting to protect their finances during divorce might want to consider taking steps to limit fiscal damage prior to filing court papers. Keeping a sense of awareness and maintaining essential records can go a long way toward getting a fair monetary settlement for spouses who may consider themselves at an economic disadvantage during a marital break-up.
Even if one partner handles most of the finances, it's important for both spouses to gather individual records. Having a clear picture of marital finances is key to getting an equitable division of assets. Of particular importance are real property holdings, joint investment accounts and retirement accounts. Keeping account and tax records in a safe place can also save a great deal of time and money during a divorce. Furthermore, closing joint credit accounts and requesting credit reports can help capture a true financial picture and limit exposure to the other spouse's credit-based spending after a divorce is filed.
During a divorce, spouses must be transparent to avoid accusations of hiding marital assets. However, a joint account makes saving money for post-marriage life and legal expenses much easier. A good rule of thumb is having money for at least three months of expenses and legal fees in hand before filing.
Confidential legal and financial communications are key, so securing a post office box or other safe mailing address for banking and attorney correspondence is prudent. If valuable property might be taken or destroyed by the other spouse, finding secure storage until a court rules on its disposition is also wise.
Planning for post-divorce finances can get complicated. This is particularly true in a high-asset divorce. However, consulting with a qualified family law attorney to plan strategic approaches to property division can make the process easier.