Divorce is a major event for any couple, and the idea of facing property division can seem overwhelming.
Preparation is key. Here are four tips to help you get your finances in order so you can approach the task of dividing assets with greater confidence.
1. Gather documents
Organizing your finances takes time, so begin gathering documents as soon as you can. Begin with the basics:
- Bank account statements
- Credit card statements
- Retirement account statements
- Investment account statements
- Loan documents including your mortgage
- Recent pay stubs
Prepare a list of your assets and debts. Your attorney will need a copy and you should keep a copy for yourself.
2. Track expenses
Where does the money go? Track your income and expenses. Include anything you spend money for: food, clothing, home maintenance, childcare, transportation, medical expenses and more.
3. Spend carefully
The court takes a dim view of profligate spending on the part of those facing divorce. You can continue using your accounts, even if they are joint accounts. However, take a conservative approach to spending as you approach property division. At the same time, delay making big financial decisions until the divorce is behind you.
4. Request professional help
The more assets you have, the more onerous the job of dividing those assets will seem. Remember that you do not need to face property division alone. Help is nearby. Seek guidance from professionals such as an accountant, a financial adviser, and, of course, your attorney. They can answer your questions, provide support and help you approach property division with fewer qualms, knowing you have taken steps to prepare for this phase of your divorce.