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Divorce is expensive. This may be an obvious statement to many, but most do not realize just how costly divorce is until they go through it themselves. Unfortunately, if you and your spouse accumulated significant assets during your California marriage, or if you and/or your spouse were high wage earners, your separation may be even costlier.

As FindLaw warns, for couples who built substantial wealth together, the division of assets process may be contentious and confusing. You can help make your high asset divorce a little less of both by heeding three simple bits of advice.

First and foremost, hire an attorney who specializes in high asset divorces in California. Even if you are hypervigilant about your finances and everything you own, if you and your spouse own multiple properties, stock or business holdings, substantial requirement accounts, life insurance policies, and annuities and other assets, it may be wise to allow an attorney to help you identify all assets. A lawyer can also help you determine to which marital property you are entitled.

After hiring an attorney, you should inventory all marital and separate assets. Though you will uncover obvious items such as vacation homes, vehicles, boats, businesses and estates, do not forget about the smaller, less obvious items. Think jewelry, artwork, laptops, furniture, firearms and other collectibles. Make a list of every item then categorize each as “marital,” “separate” or “unknown.” For marital and unknown property, consider hiring a professional appraiser to assess each item and put a monetary value on them.

Finally, consider keeping court filings private. Though the courts make contested divorce records available for the general public, you can ask the courts about sealing certain documents so that only involved parties have access them.

You should not construe the content in this post as legal advice. It is for informational purposes only.