If you're getting divorced for the first time, you're up against
the vast unknown. Even if you've heard your divorced friends talk
about their divorces, you may not remember the details. Besides, divorces
are like snowflakes, each one is unique.
While getting divorced will help you get a fresh start, it can be ruinous
if you don't play your cards right. Check out these secrets from our
divorce attorneys to help protect your assets and your sanity during the divorce process.
1. The marital assets are fair game.
Under California's community property laws, most assets accumulated
during the marriage are "marital assets" and therefore divisible,
regardless of whose name is on the asset. So, if you got a separate bank
account during the marriage, it's subject to division.
2. Make that big purchase before filing.
Need to make a big purchase, such as a new car? Beware, the courts issue
automatic financial restraining orders that prohibit spouses from making
big purchases while the divorce is pending in the court. We advise you
to buy any big items before you file for divorce.
3. Gather the financial documents before filing.
If you plan to file for divorce, don't rush your thought process.
You need to take your time collecting evidence before you walk out the
door. Take pictures of your assets, take note of all important numbers,
and copy all bank, loan, and account statements. Be prepared before you
head to court.
4. Don't even think about hiding assets.
Your first instinct may be to hide assets, but that would be messing with
the law. If the court discovers hidden assets, all of your credibility
goes out the window. Instead, declare all assets upfront.
5. Yes, alimony is "tax deductible."
Spousal support is tax deductible for the paying spouse, however, the
receiving spouse must report it as taxable income. Note: alimony is not
child support, which is not taxable or tax deductible.
6. Cover your back, don't count on spousal support.
If your spouse is currently supporting you, consider freshening up your
job skills before you file for divorce. Even if you're awarded
spousal support, you don't want to depend too much on it, especially if your kids
are school-aged, and you're not disabled or retired.
Need more divorce advice? Call Claery & Hammond, LLPtoday.