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Getting the most out of the property division process

California is a community property state, which means that the law assumes that both parties own marital assets equally. However, each asset does not necessarily have to be divided. It may be more advantageous to trade one asset for another depending on an individual's financial needs after the divorce. The bottom line is that it takes thought and preparation to get the most out of the property division process.

Possibly the most important aspect of any satisfactory settlement is the ability of the parties to come to an agreement civilly. If emotions are allowed to rule the negotiations, the parties will not get far. When that happens, a judge may be making crucial decisions about each person's future, and those decisions may not put either of the parties in financial positions that allow them to be secure after their divorce.

In order to understand what it will take to be as financially secure as possible, a thorough review of a couple's marital assets and liabilities will be necessary. Having the information and understanding it are often two different things. It may be necessary to obtain some help to make sense of it and prepare a strategy for the negotiations.

California couples who are divorcing may find the property division process daunting. Nothing less than their independent futures are at stake. Therefore, it is important to put aside the emotional turmoil that led to the divorce and focus on coming to an agreement that satisfies both parties and gives each the opportunity to start a new life with some financial stability.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, "How to Handle Investments When You Divorce", Lou Carlozo, Nov. 16, 2015

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