Making a financial plan during a divorce in California can be particularly important for anyone who has not been involved in the family finances. A certified divorce financial planner is a financial professional who has been specially trained to deal with financial issues around divorce and may be helpful at this stage. This can be important in ensuring that an individual gets a fair share of the assets.

The first financial step for a person getting a divorce is to make a complete list of all assets. This includes bank accounts, retirement accounts and investment accounts. People should also get documentation relating to all of these things, including titles to property. They should gather credit card and bank account statements and tax returns. Next, they should work on putting together a post-divorce budget. They will need to think about where they will live after the divorce and what the cost will be. Some people may need child care because they are returning to work. Some may need to get new health insurance.

It may be best to be conservative about spending during this stage. Even if a person is getting spousal support, it might not start immediately. It may be necessary to divide any retirement accounts and revise estate plans, including updating beneficiary designations.

People may also want to think about what marital property they want to keep and what they are willing to give up. Although property division is supposed to be equal in a community property state like California, in practice, this can mean that each person keeps assets of equal value. Divorcing spouses may decide during negotiation that only one wants the home, so the other person may keep the retirement account. However, it is important to understand how taxes or other costs affect the value of these assets.