Once you decide to get a divorce, you may face many questions that would never normally arise. All of a sudden, you have to determine who pays which bills, if you can continue living in your home, and how your tax situation will change. Finances during and after divorce can be incredibly confusing, so we’ve put together a list of some of the most frequently asked questions to serve as a starting point.
If you don’t see an answer to a pressing question you have, give us a call at (310) 777-0231. Also if you are considering filing for a divorce or if you are already involved in a divorce and in need of expert legal counsel, contact an experienced San Diego divorce lawyer at our Boyd Law office for a free legal consultation.
Question: What do divorcees forget to look at when settling the terms of a divorce?
Answer: Remember to explore all financial assets after a divorce, including social security, stock options, company benefits, and savings for your children. Each spouse has a duty to present all assets for a fair assessment. Hiding and purposefully misrepresenting assets during a divorce is illegal.
Q: How do taxes affect the valuation of assets during settlement negotiations?
A: Do look at the after-tax value of property and other taxable assets before agreeing to a settlement structure. Some assets qualify for tax-exemptions, which may change the total value considered during the settlement process.
Q: Who is responsible for paying the bills during a divorce?
A: For any type of bill (including credit card charges), the person indicated on the account is responsible for payment. If you and your spouse pay jointly, you both have an obligation to ensure payment agreements are met. When dividing assets, consider whether you will continue to pay debts jointly or separate certain accounts.
Q: How can I determine if I should fight to keep a house?
A: Some individuals want to keep a property for their children or to stay close to work. However, keeping a house as a single adult will look different financially. Make sure you can afford all of the costs associated with home ownership before deciding to ask for the house.
Q: Am I eligible for spousal support payments?
A: In California, the courts determine spousal support based on individual need, the other spouse’s ability pay, how long the marriage lasted, and other factors, such as health issues, that may affect payment viability.
Q: Are there any assets I can keep that are not considered marital property?
A: Anything you signed up for or acquired during a marriage is potential marital property, even if yours is the only name on the paperwork. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may safeguard certain assets.
Q: I was a stay-at-home-spouse and never worked. Will I have any opportunity to secure Social Security Benefits?
A: Depending on the length of your marriage, you may qualify for half of your spouse’s benefits. You need to be married for 10 years or longer to obtain the benefit. The benefit will not affect your spouse’s benefits and is automatically granted to those who qualify.
Q: I received a post-secondary degree while married. Could my degree become part of a divorce or marital settlement agreement?
A: If one spouse financed the other’s schooling, the investment may play a role in how the divorce is settled. This question is complex, and we highly advise talking to an experienced divorce attorney about your individual circumstances. The courts may look at the expenses associated with an education as well as the value or earning ability associated with the degree.
Q: My spouse used marital property to secure a loan. If he or she defaults, can the bank come after my portion of the property?
A: The credit provider can seize the assets as long as they serve as the collateral and are held jointly. To remedy the situation, consider talking with a finance professional about potential asset protection strategies like refinancing the loan so it does not include both names and transferring the property title to your name.