If you and your spouse are ending your marriage, you will soon face the property division phase of your divorce.
The more assets you have, the more complex property division can become, but you can help smooth the way by organizing your finances in advance.
Pull documents together
Gathering your financial documents takes time, so begin working on this task as soon as you can. Your divorce attorney will need this information but keep copies of everything for yourself. Examples of the information you need include:
- Bank account statements
- Retirement account statements
- Investment account statements
- Credit card statements
- Loan documents such as your mortgage, car loan and any personal loans
- Recent pay stubs
Make a list of your marital assets and debts, including any assets that could either be marital or separate property. For example, the vintage Mustang you purchased prior to the marriage is likely a separate asset for you to keep after the divorce.
Track your expenses
The benefits of tracking your expenses are two-fold. First, the information is necessary for your divorce. Second, understanding where your money goes will be enormously helpful when you set up your new post-divorce budget. Include such items as food, clothing, entertainment, household bills, home maintenance, transportation, childcare and anything else that qualifies as an expense.
You will have questions. Do not hesitate to ask for guidance from professionals, including accountants, financial advisers or business appraisers. With their help and your own advanced planning, you can avoid missteps and approach property division with greater confidence.