If you are about to divorce, it is essential to start preparing your finances as soon as you can. California is a community property state. You need to divide most property acquired while married. Gifts or inheritance remain separate property and do not need dividing.
Understanding your finances is critical in a divorce
If your spouse refuses to give you access to financial information, you can request it via court. Here are some things to get copies of:
- Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements: These stipulate exceptions to the general property division rules.
- Bank statements: Watch out for any unexplained movements of money. It could be your spouse has tried to reduce the amount they need to share with you.
- Wage slips: What each of you earns will play a role in determining child support. Earnings during a marriage are also considered community property.
- Your mortgage: Your home is a significant asset. You need to understand what it is worth and how much is outstanding on it.
- Loan statements: You will need to divide most but not all debts in a divorce.
- Credit card statements: Money owed on the cards is another debt to take into account.
- Life insurance: You may want to change the designated beneficiary once you divorce.
- Pension plans: Contributions made to pensions before marriage are separate property. Those made while married are community property. Working out entitlement to funds in a spouse’s pension plan is complex.
The more information you gather, the better. Even if you do not understand it all, it will allow your attorney to understand your situation better. It will help you secure the divorce deal you need.