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Financial information to gather prior to property division

It is not uncommon for one spouse in a marriage to handle all financial affairs, potentially leaving the other spouse at a disadvantage in the event of a divorce. The uninformed spouse may want to prepare himself or herself in advance. It may be a good idea to gather all the relevant information as soon as a divorce is mentioned. California is a community property state, meaning that all assets acquired during the marriage are community property. It is, therefore, important to collect all information relating to assets of both spouses and to be prepared for the process of property division.

Information that will be required includes details and approximate balances of all bank accounts, whether joint or separate, along with details and cash values of all life insurance -- both personal and those held by employers. Furthermore, it is important to gather all information related to retirement accounts that could be with multiple companies and would include statements on IRAs, 403(b)s and 401(k)s. If the couple has mutual-fund and stock investments, either separately or jointly, recent statements will provide the necessary information, and the same goes for savings and pension plans.

Mortgage information will be available on monthly statements, showing the amount still owed and the value of equity held. When a couple has a mortgage loan and an equity loan on their home, the relevant documents will be required. Similarly, the financial records of additional assets such as recreational vehicles and properties could be obtained from the accounts of lending institutions. Not to be forgotten is a list of all other valuable items such as collectibles, antiques, jewelry and other costly items. Last, but equally important, are real estate investments, business interests and tax returns for the last two years, in order to confirm income and deductions, along with financial holdings and profits.

Some of the information may be easy to find, but others may require extra effort. Watching the mail may produce information from several companies, including credit card holders, bank accounts, insurance companies and brokerage firms. Work-related information can be obtained from employers. California couples that are heading for divorce may benefit from obtaining the services of a team of professional advisors to guide them through preparations for property division.

Source: ahwatukee.com, "Facing divorce? Organize your finances now", Kim Devoss, July 23, 2014

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
Fax: 916-498-0127
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