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Planning for divorce can benefit both parties.

Planning for your divorce may seem unnecessary but it’s actually quite the opposite. Many divorces are an amicable split, so creating a plan beforehand can not only help the process, but can save money, time, and create ease for all involved.

Proper planning takes time and knowledge of the divorce process. Debra Opri and Associates can help you understand what steps to take now before you file for divorce. California is a community property state, which means that any property and debts acquired during the course of the marriage are considered “community property” and will be divided between both spouses. However, if there was a prenuptial agreement in place, this may not always be the case.

There’s usually a large mix of financials, assets and accounts shared within a marriage, and sometimes, even debt. All of these things need to be considered during the planning process of a divorce.

Financial planning for your divorce

1. Collect all financial documents

It may seem tedious but you’ll want to collect all bank statements, credit card statements, retirement account statements and tax returns. Any and all paperwork that shows your assets and finances will be needed and help the process. Make copies and keep these documents in a safe place.

2. Learn about your credit

You can request a free copy of your credit report once a year. Take advantage of this and be sure to report any errors or misinformation. Knowing your credit score can help moving forward in a divorce as ultimately you will both being setting up new personal assets outside of the marriage. Be careful that your spouse doesn’t start abusing your credit during the divorce either. You can learn about credit scores and reports from the usa.gov site.

3. Open your own bank accounts and credit cards in your name

This will allow you to have your own funds now and after the divorce. Getting a head start on this will set you up for an easier time after the divorce and give you a head start on managing finances independently.

4. Review your joint credit card account and other joint bank accounts

This will help your legal team determine if there are any hidden assets or underreporting of income during the divorce process. While the hope is both spouses are amicable in the split, we often see one or both try to hide assets, or make large purchases right before filing. Keep an eye on spending in the weeks and months up to the divorce.

5. Hire an attorney

This is one of the most important steps to take. An attorney can help you navigate the divorce process and assess your specific situation so you can create a plan that will protect your best interests. Ultimately you will both be financially responsible for the costs of the divorce, so it’s best to use an attorney together if the split is amicable.

Plan for your divorce properly

The decision to get divorced is difficult. Planning for your divorce may seem cold or unneeded, but taking steps now will help you protect yourself and make the process go smoother in the end. Do not wait to contact an experienced lawyer if you are considering divorce. Having a plan in place and skilled representation will put you on the best path for a successful future.