California Divorce Checklist for 2024

California Divorce Checklist for 2024

It’s never easy to go through a divorce, but sometimes you need to dissolve a marriage that isn’t benefitting you any longer. Once you’ve made the difficult choice to seek a divorce, there are things you must do to prepare yourself so that the process isn’t any more challenging than it needs to be. This checklist should help ensure that you reach the best possible outcome.

Gather Important Financial Documents

A couple’s finances can be one of the greatest sources of conflict leading up to a divorce. Deciding what happens following the dissolution of the marriage is even more burdensome. Make sure you get all of the important financial records you need such as mortgage and loan documents, tax documents, bank statements, life insurance policies, titles to property and investment account records.

Itemize Your Assets

Make sure that you have a list of every asset you own under your name and jointly with your spouse. Assign a fair value to each asset when you create your list. Include things like debt, especially if the debt is under both of your names. Should your spouse have any secret accounts, inform your attorney. Your lawyer can conduct an investigation that will uncover any important information about these accounts that could impact your divorce proceedings.

Consider How You Want to Handle Custody

A divorce has a huge impact on children, so you should consider what you’re willing to settle with in regards to custody. Consider whether shared custody can be arranged and where your children will live when they stay with your spouse and you. Your children’s needs should come first when you consider custody arrangements.

Determine Where You Plan to Live

Before you begin proceedings, decide if you’re going to fight to remain in your current home or if you plan to move. It’s important to speak with a lawyer before making this critical choice, but also look around for new places to stay so you have an idea of what it’s going to cost you.

Make Changes to Your Will and Living Trust

Removing your spouse from your will and trust ensures that should something happen to you, your assets go to the person you choose instead of your ex-spouse. In most cases, this would be your children. Also, name a new executor of your estate.

Update Bank and Social Media Accounts

If you share any accounts with your spouse, change your passwords and update your information. You may want to create a new email account as well.

Have a Support Network

Whether it’s your family, friends, a therapist or your attorney, you need people to lean on during this challenging period in your life. It’s important not to isolate yourself and know that you’ve got other people to lean on who will listen and understand.

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