Take stock of assets prior to filing for divorce

Couples tend to start building wealth early in their marriages. This could result in considerable assets when they are ready to retire. However, California couples who get divorced before they exhaust those investment funds may have to divide those assets when they separate.

It’s important for both spouses to understand the investment products they own. In many relationships, one spouse handles most of the financial matters. This could put the other one at a disadvantage if the marriage ends. Whether a spouse actively manages the family investments or not, they should know the addresses and values of all real estate they own as well as the financial institutions and balances of all of the couple’s retirement accounts. This is true for both joint and separate property.

Each type of asset is divided differently during a divorce. For example, a couple may need to sell a joint property in order to split the value. A retirement plan such as an employment-based 401(k) or individual retirement account could be divided with a qualified domestic relations order. This document allows divorcing couples to divide their retirement accounts without penalty. An attorney may help a divorcing client determine which option is ideal for their unique situation.

Although divorce may be emotionally draining, ignoring financial matters could be devastating to a person’s future, especially if they are getting close to retirement age. An experienced divorce attorney may help a client determine which assets they are entitled to and assist them with dividing those assets fairly. It’s important to remember that assets are not necessarily divided equally. Many factors, including children, income and ownership of separate property, could affect the divorce settlement.

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