Negotiating a divorce settlement may be a possibility for some California couples instead of going through litigation. The process may be less expensive and quicker, but it may also be more productive for people who are well-prepared.
It is important for people to fully understand their finances. This will keep them from making or accepting offers regarding spousal or child support that are unrealistic. It can also help them in working with a lawyer to determine what the best and worst case scenarios for the divorce settlement might be. An attorney can also help a person better understand California divorce law. With this understanding in mind, a person might decide that negotiations with a spouse are unlikely to be successful and may want to opt to go to court instead.
For people who do want to give negotiating a try, it may help to understand both their priorities and those of the spouse. A person might want to begin with a budget and use that to get a realistic picture of needs and wants. This can help the person create a list of priorities and may increase the likelihood of getting what is asked for.
Dividing marital property can be a difficult task. There may be both emotional and practical obstacles. For example, it might be hard for a person to give up the family home. It may also be difficult for one spouse to buy out the other, and it may be necessary to sell the home and split the proceeds. This could be challenging if the housing market is not strong. Furthermore, since California is a community property state, most of the property that the couple acquired after the marriage is shared property. This means that income earned by only one person and that person's retirement account might be considered marital property.