Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional.
Modern married couples are more independent and yet more “together” than ever. Research shows married Millennials get married consciously, and marry later. They like to maintain their independence and respect their pre-marital identities. They take the financial side of marriage seriously and often make prenups. They have internalized the lessons they learned from their baby boomer parents that marriage isn’t always forever. However, there is still one way in which Millennial married partners might be gambling with their futures. Research shows that many hold separate bank accounts rather than joint ones. Many might assume that this keeps their finances separate when they get a divorce. Unfortunately this is not the case.
We are West Coast Mediators who often work with couples with busy and complex lives living in cities like San Diego and LA. We also work with couples nationwide using Zoom, Facetime etc. When you live in a community property state like California, separate accounts will not protect you. This is because the law dictates that most property earned during the marriage is marital property. In other states, where equitable division is the law, money that you think is yours can still be proved as marital property if it is used for joint purposes. When you get divorced, rather than trying to fight to hold on to all that you earned during the marriage, it’s better to accept that your divorce is a business deal you make so that you can both disentangle yourself from the marriage with minimum impact. If there is an imbalance in earning power this can mean that the courts will require you to take temporary responsibility for your spouse until they are able to fully support themselves. Rather than fight this reality, especially if you are going through a California divorce, you can mediate to work out the best settlement for both of you. Mediating your divorce can actually maximize your common assets and help you plan so that your finances quickly recover after divorce. Conflict is more likely to dent your common resources than protect your interests. For example, if you are fighting over assets like the house, this can reduce your ability to take advantage of market and investment opportunities.
A Divorce Tailored to Your Needs
If you go up against California law you may be forced to divide your property in legally mandated ways. One advantage of mediation is that you can actually craft your divorce settlement to waive some requirements of California law with both parties’ consent. If you are a dual earning couple with no kids it’s possible you are actually OK with not sharing the separate property you earned during the marriage when you part ways. Every divorce is different and mediation allows you to take the route that is right for you. Separate accounts may not protect you against conflict in your divorce, but being proactive and choosing mediation can do that. If you chose to have separate accounts during your marriage, likely you will want to choose a route that helps you plan for an independent future once your marriage is over.
Who We Are and How We Can Help
We are California mediators who are caring, well-educated and skilled in applied financial mathematics, the law psychoanalysis, and game theory. We strive to efficiently comprehend your situation and its opportunities for sustainable and agreeable resolution. This may include a review of your parenting plan, spousal support calculations, community property equalization, settlement agreement, and all other aspects of your case. We can either confidentially present you with a private analysis, or mediate the conflict with both of you until resolved. Any resolution you come to will be informed by a deeper analysis of the conflict that can be psychoanalytic and/or more financially-focused. Conflict analysis can result in a more optimized understanding of the net community property, which adds value to the overall estate, benefiting you both. Our specially trained divorce mediator-accountants can also help reveal and investigate the proven financial facts of a divorce to make a full financial appraisal of your divorce and to suggest creative solutions for financial planning after divorce. Our high-level divorce mediation services are tailored to the needs of people with complex lives, such as creative professionals and entrepreneurs, or dual earners who work in companies with stock and benefit plans. We can intervene to break litigation deadlocks when divorces are already underway. We work with individuals from several cultures and countries, and can help with national and international relocation issues associated with divorce. Our remote mediations are safe, socially distant and completely confidential, secured by two private servers. We are available 7 days a week and at urgent notice. Please contact us to see how we can help.