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Preparing for post-divorce financial disputes before the divorce

One of the biggest factors in a California divorce is money. Financial issues can cause stress between the parties, lead to spiraling disagreements and spark other problems that make the marriage untenable. Often, however, even in cases where the couple has navigated all their issues and parted ways, finances can still cause disagreements long after the divorce has been completed. Understanding what possible financial landmines can undo even the most amicable divorce agreement can be useful to being proactive and preventing them beforehand.

Looking toward the future and accounting for possibilities inevitably misses certain steps. For example, with a child support agreement, there are always new costs that were not considered such as various camps the child might want to attend, purchasing a vehicle and going to college. Agreeing on how to pay for unexpected costs can avoid going point-by-point as they arise. In some cases, the parents can go 50-50; in others, they cannot. A basic agreement can avoid rancor in the immediate and distant future. Prioritizing is a smart strategy. For one spouse, a child taking part in an extracurricular activity could be non-negotiable while for the other parent, it is an unnecessary cost. The parent who wants this while the other does not could agree to pay for it.

At the end of a marriage, the breakdown in communication is frequently cited as why the couple wants to divorce. Even in divorces with lingering issues after an extended dispute, it is possible to discuss certain matters in a calm and polite way. The situation will not be settled by repeating past battles. There might have been a negotiated agreement in which the new dispute can be categorized. Getting this in writing is preferable to a handshake agreement as it can be settled more quickly. The children can also take part in these discussions if they are of age and of sufficient maturity. Everyone contributing to costs for items or activities the child wants can be beneficial.

Inevitably, couples will find themselves unable to agree on what should be paid for and who should pay for it. Since every situation differs, having legal assistance to discuss the matter before the divorce is finalized is preferable. If the case has been settled, it is also possible to deal with the case. One factor that should not be ignored is the need for legal assistance. A law firm that specializes in divorce and mediation can help.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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