Megan Stirrat, a wealth management advisor in Irvine, answers:
The first financial shock to face is the cost of the divorce itself. You’re already splitting assets; when you add a messy divorce with high legal fees, it becomes a considerable financial and emotional drain. It’s vital to have someone on your side who has a handle on a financial exit strategy that meets your needs.
Start with a complete inventory to help you understand what you are entitled to receive or retain. Assets should include retirement plans, savings and checking accounts, properties and pensions, business interests, and inheritances. In addition, list any financial obligations or debts that you and your spouse may have incurred. You should document each item by gathering tax returns, paycheck stubs, wills, trust instruments, bank and credit card statements, insurance policies, property deeds, and brokerage account documents. Financial housekeeping is essential during a divorce, arming you with the knowledge needed to make the right financial decisions.