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About 40 percent of marriages end in divorce, according to national statistics. Divorce is not always easy because of the emotional and financial issues people often face when splitting up. However, a few tips can help to make the divorce process smoother in California.

Now that summer vacation planning is done and the kids have returned to the classroom for the fall semester, parents may be eager to start on a new plan --getting a divorce. People who have been delaying divorce may now be ready to go through with one since the economy is continuing to improve. An important first step in the process is to gather as much data as one can about the family's finances. Then, it is wise to create a comprehensive list of the family's income sources, debts and assets.

A person might also benefit from developing a list of all collectibles, art, jewelry and other valuables owned by the married couple. It may additionally behoove a divorcing individual to take pictures of these valuables just in case one of them happens to "disappear" during the divorce process. Gathering insurance documents and employee retirement account information is also critical.

When people know all of their household assets and debts, they are in a better position to negotiate on how to split them up in as fair a way as possible. If the two divorcing individuals can't agree on how to handle asset distribution, a divorce judge will address the matter for them. Either way, both parties have the right to defend their interests during a California divorce proceeding.

Source: wsj.com, "How to Plan for a Divorce", Veronica Dagher, Sept. 6, 2014

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