When people decide to get divorced, they often think that the first, and for many the only, thing they need to do is hire a lawyer to represent them. And while a lawyer can definitely help to guide divorcing spouses, California residents should also take note that learning about their financial situation, and hiring a financial adviser, if needed, might be just as important when beginning the divorce process.
One of the first things a person should do when planning a divorce is to learn about and completely understand their financial situation. This means acquiring intimate knowledge of the shared assets and debts as well as the role the ex-spouse played in managing them. This will be preparation for life post-divorce and is a major step towards later financial health. It will also prepare the person for the negotiations that are likely to come when the ex-spouses begin the division of marital assets. If there are things the individual doesn't understand about finances, the next step would be to hire a financial adviser who can explain them and guide them through the process.
Another thing a divorcing individual should do is terminate joint accounts, such as bank or credit accounts, and change the passwords on formerly shared social media accounts, for example. A person undergoing a divorce should also think about their child custody strategy, including where and with whom the child will live and what the ideal visitation schedule would be.
Finally, a divorcing person should clearly know the date of separation, which can vary from state to state, as does the legislation governing divorces. While some couples are able to divorce without legal representation, a family law lawyer might best explain the local legislation affecting the divorce and the rights each person has during the process.