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Smart financial moves during a divorce

California couples whose marriages are ending sometimes make mistakes that can lead to lasting financial harm. When going through a divorce, it is best to take a step back and view the case logically in order to avoid the common errors people make.

One mistake some people make is battling over small details through protracted litigation. This can cause both to have very bitter feelings while also ramping up legal fees. Trying to reach an agreement through collaborative divorce or mediation may help save money while also making the divorce go much faster.

Insisting on hanging on to the marital home can be a mistake, especially if the person staying in it will not be able to afford it after the divorce. It might be wiser to sell the home and to purchase a smaller, more affordable home instead. Similarly, the person who is moving should insist that the other person get the home refinanced in his or her own name immediately. This can prevent damaged credit if the resident fails to make the mortgage payments.

It is also important for each party to prepare a financial statement listing the value of community property as well as separately-owned assets. If there is a discrepancy, an independent appraisal may be necessary for purposes of property division. It is important to remember that a judge will in most cases order that the couple's community property be divided equally unless the parties have been able to reach an agreement that provides otherwise. Each party will want to have separate legal representation, and the attorneys can often assist in negotiating a settlement agreement that obviates the need for the court to make the decision.

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