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When people in California are considering a divorce, or are preparing for a negotiation of terms, one of the best things they can do is be prepared. Having an abundance of information available can only be helpful in the long term.

So how do you know what's important? While not every little receipt is necessary to keep, there are some things that are more important than others. This is especially important if one spouse or the other has made a more significant financial contribution over the years. Here is a list of some of the most important tasks to accomplish before it's too late:

  • Assemble all your paperwork. The more assets you can identify as yours, the more fairly will they be divided.
  • Establish your own accounts. Having bank and credit card accounts in just your name helps to delineate financial boundaries and ensure assets are no longer comingled.
  • Start a joint account for family expenses. Until things get sorted out, there should be a temporary system in place to be sure nothing gets missed.
  • Figure out college tuition. If you have kids who will be going to college in the future, have an idea of how to fund their education.
  • Take care of health insurance. If you're currently covered by a spouse, you'll need to arrange coverage for yourself.
  • Be aware of retirement benefits. You may require outside help to determine the value, current and future, of retirement assets.
  • Talk to experts. Speak with an experienced California family law attorney to make sure all your bases are covered.

Source: The Huffington Post, "We're Getting A Divorce, Now What?" Linda Descano, Feb. 1, 2012

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