What Happens to My Finances in a Divorce?

Financial Advice from a Mission Viejo Divorce Attorney

When it comes to divorce, the two most highly contentious areas revolve around child custody and finances. It's important to keep in mind that the property and debts aspect of a divorce or legal separation are so complicated that the cost of making a mistake is high; therefore, it's highly recommended that you speak with a qualified lawyer before filing the papers, especially if you have anything of value or if you have significant debt.

  1. Will the court order spousal support? When a California couple legally separates or obtains a divorce, the court may order that one spouse pays the other spousal support or alimony each month. The awarding spousal support is at the judge's discretion and done on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Is California a community property or equitable distribution state? California is a community property state. This means that property the couple acquires during the marriage or partnership is "community property," which includes everything that spouses purchased or acquired during the marriage that is not a gift or an inheritance.
  3. What is community debt? Much like community property, spouses accumulate community debt as well. Meaning, both spouses are equally responsible for each other's debt acquired during the marriage.
  4. How are community property and debt divided? In California, each spouse owns one-half of the community property and each spouse is responsible for one-half of the community debt.
  5. My spouse charged up a lot of credit card debt, will I be held responsible? You may have more community debts than you realize. If your spouse got into a significant amount of debt in his or her name that you were not aware of, and if that debt was acquired during the marriage, it belongs to you too.
  6. What is separate property? Separate property refers to anything that you owned prior to the marriage. Inheritances or gifts made to one partner during the marriage are also considered separate property. For example, if you purchased a car with the money from an inheritance during the marriage, that car belongs to you because you purchased it with your separate property. Separate property is also anything that you acquire after the date of separation and this includes money that you earn.
  7. What happens to my pension? The contributions you and your spouse made to your pension before marriage are separate property, but the contributions made after the marriage and before the date of separation are community property. After the separation, these contributions are separate property again. Exactly how the pensions are divided are complicated and a lawyer's help is necessary. In some cases if you each have your own pension, you both may be able to keep your own pension.

Getting a divorce? Take control of your finances!

If you are contemplating a divorce, the best plan of action is to speak with attorney Daniel C. Hunter IV before taking any steps. At The Hunter Law Group, we understand how protecting you and your finances in the divorce process are a top priority. It's important to speak with a qualified professional before making any financial errors that would be frowned upon by the judge. The dissolution of your marriage can be a threat to your financial health and we want to help you shield your assets from the pitfalls of divorce as much as possible.

Contact our Mission Viejo divorce attorney today to learn about the various strategies that can provide you with the maximum advantage in your divorce proceedings! We can be reached at (888) 844-9281.