Whether a marriage lasts less than five years or many decades, the legal aspects of parting ways with a spouse can be complicated. California operates under community property division laws. This means that filing for divorce typically results in a 50/50 split of all marital property and debt. Property proceedings can have both immediate and far-reaching financial implications.

Many people make mistakes that wind up causing significant financial loss in divorce. Learning more about this topic might help avoid a similar fate. There are several key factors to keep in mind when heading to court to pursue a fair settlement. The first thing is to be knowledgeable about the current list of assets and liabilities to be able to make informed decisions.

It doesn’t always pay to keep the house in a divorce

Many spouses try to hang on to the marital home as a post-divorce asset, although this is often a mistake that can spark financial distress. A spouse who is thinking of keeping the house will want to make sure he or she can handle all expenses that go with it, such as mortgage payments, maintenance and repairs, property taxes, and more. Another big mistake spouses make as they prepare for a divorce settlement is failing to consider their pensions, retirement benefits and life insurance policies.

Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to update some of these plans, such as a term life insurance policy, where a policyholder can simply remove an ex’s name as the beneficiary. Other issues are more complex, such as the potential future value of a pension or an insurance policy with a cash value. It is always best to seek experienced financial and legal guidance to ensure that a fair divorce settlement is achieved and to avoid oversights and errors that can cause financial loss.