If you and your spouse have decided to divorce, property division is the next hurdle you face.
Just the thought of dividing your marital property may seem overwhelming, but with good preparation, you can streamline an often-complex process and reap additional benefits.
1. Pull documents together
Gathering financial records can take time, so begin as soon as possible. The basic items your divorce attorney will need include:
- Checking and savings account statements
- Income tax returns
- Credit card statements
- Retirement account statements
- Investment account statements
- Recent pay stubs
Make a list of all your separate and marital assets and debts. Your attorney will need a copy but remember to keep one for yourself.
3. Track your expenses
Start tracking your income and expenses. Include anything you spend money for, such as food, clothing, childcare, transportation and home repairs. Although you will need it for property division, this information will benefit you in the next phase of your life. It will help you create and maintain a workable budget.
3. Postpone big financial decisions
As a cautionary note, spend conservatively as you approach divorce. The court frowns on frivolous spending. Also, wait until the divorce is behind you to make big financial decisions. For example, you may want to make beneficiary changes to your will and your retirement accounts, but the court may address some of these matters during the divorce, so it is best to wait.
4. Seek help
Remember that you do not have to face property division without help. Your attorney can assist you in sorting through the information the process requires. Putting together a complete picture of your current finances will prepare you for property division and the post-divorce future that awaits you.