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Joseph R. Zoucha, Attorney & Counselor at Law

Avoiding the steep price tag that often comes with divorce

Divorce comes at a cost for all parties, even when both parties agree amicably, work through issues and reach a fair agreement. The end of a marriage requires financial adjustments, and sometimes, one or both parties can feel the impact of this process for years after it is all final. It's smart to be cautious and careful regarding property division, even before getting married.

One woman's unfortunate situation can serve as an example to you regarding why you could benefit from thinking ahead, either before you walk down the aisle or before you file divorce papers. It's dangerous to assume that California property laws will protect you or that divorce will never happen. Her erroneous assumptions led to a loss of around $1 million from her retirement savings. Thankfully, it's possible to avoid the same mistakes.

What can you do? 

Many couples find it beneficial to draft a prenuptial agreement. This can be a smart step even when a couple does not think that they have enough money or valuable assets to justify this step. This type of agreement can provide protection and peace of mind for individuals and couples of all income levels. It can also help avoid unpleasant property division surprises and fights in the event of a divorce in the future. 

This particular woman owned a valuable home before she married, but she did not think a prenuptial agreement was necessary. After marrying and making the choice to refinance the home to support her father, the couple decided to divorce. Even though it was hers before marriage, she had to sell the home and split the proceeds. Some of the simple ways that people can avoid the same problems include:

  • Plan for the possibility of divorce, even before getting married.
  • Learn about how property division laws work and familiarize yourself with your rights.
  • Seek the guidance of a financial professional to make sure you are making choices that are smart and beneficial long-term. 

These are only a few of the things you can do to protect your financial well-being either before you get married or before you file for divorce. No matter where you are in your personal relationship with your partner or with your retirement savings, it's always smart to look ahead.

You may want to seek an evaluation of your case so you can understand what to expect from property division in a divorce or why a premarital agreement could be a smart step for you.

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