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Protecting your property division rights during divorce

When spouses in California and other states across the nation decide it is best to divorce, they also need to decide what is best for their future. In doing that, divorcing spouses need to consider what their post-divorce life will look like and what properties they seek to be included in it.

No matter how painful the process is, spouses need to consider their independent goals. This can help them better plan their actions throughout the process. This includes taking some strategic steps, such as including professionals to help guide them and provide safeguards. A legal professional can help a spouse determine their property division rights and what is rightfully theirs. A financial advisor can help assess what property and assets are involved as well as their worth.

Whether it is you or your spouse that files for divorce, it is important to take certain steps immediately. This includes taking an inventory of the marital assets. This includes assets such as checking accounts, real property, investments and retirement accounts. Next, it is important to obtain your credit score. This can give you a realistic picture of you current financial situation and what it could look like post-divorce.

Making a household budget is imperative, especially if you seek to keep the family home. Understanding all the costs associated with owning the home will help you better understand if you can afford to keep the home or if you could seek alimony in order to take ownership of the home.

Other important steps to take include opening a checking and savings account and credit card in your own name, understanding the tax impact certain assets might have, determining whether spousal and child support will be requested and deciding whether college planning for you, your spouse or your children is a factor. Finally, divorced spouses need to take the time to update or modify their wills, beneficiaries and life insurance. If an ex-spouse was named as a beneficiary, this needs to be altered in order to avoid future estate planning issues.

Divorce is stressful, and it comes with some rather difficult decisions. No matter how much we want to avoid it, it is a reality that must be faced in order to sever a marriage. Thus, it is crucial that divorcing spouses note their rights and how to best navigate the process.

Source: Investopedia.com, "Take These Steps to Protect Yourself in a Divorce," Michael Kane, Aug. 16, 2017

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