California is one state that places a number of restrictions on parenting rights and finances when a couple files for divorce. The specifics of these laws vary by location, but in general, people should keep the guidelines below in mind and may want to consult an attorney for further information.
People should not sell any property or clean out bank accounts when a divorce is in progress. They may use funds for regular expenses, but anything above and beyond that might be subject to reimbursement. If one spouse provides medical insurance for the other, that spouse may be required to continue doing so for a certain period of time. These are all ways to keep spouses from retaliating against one another.
There may also be limits on what parents are permitted to do. For example, actress Angelina Jolie wanted to take her children to London with her when she was filming a movie there, but since she was still embroiled in a custody battle with Brad Pitt, it was not that straightforward. Courts are concerned about children being taken out of the country during a custody battle because they may not be returned. Parents might even be prohibited from taking children out of the state without a written agreement. Violating this agreement could lead to law enforcement involvement and might jeopardize a parent's bid for custody.
People should also be aware that in California, a community property state, even assets they consider to be their own may be considered shared marital property by courts. It is best to proceed with caution during a divorce. Keeping communication open and making sure any deviations from what is legally required is put in writing is important. In contentious divorces, people may want to communicate only through their attorneys, but even in more informal negotiations, making sure that there are formal agreements in place may be important.