California couples who are getting a divorce might want to consider trying a more collaborative approach to property division instead of heading straight for litigation. This could leave them with more financial stability in the long run, and with some divorces costing upwards of $15,000, it could be worth trying to keep those expenses down.
The first step for a person who plans to try negotiating a divorce settlement is to assemble a team that can offer practical and emotional support. This team may be made up of an attorney and family members, but it might also include a financial planner and other professionals.
People do not have to rush into a settlement, and in fact, doing so could be bad for them both financially and emotionally. It is better for them to take the time needed to weigh the options. One error people commonly make is thinking only about what to do about major assets such as cars and the house. There will be many smaller things that need consideration as well, such as what to do about medical insurance for their children.
California is a community property state, and this means that if either person has acquired assets since the marriage, those are generally considered shared. These are supposed to be split equally, but negotiation gives couples the opportunity to divide property in a way that suits them. For example, one person might want to keep one type of investment account while the other may keep the retirement account. When assessing the value of these accounts, people should make sure they consider whether there will be taxes on withdrawals or other expenses that affect that value.