If you and your spouse are ending a long marriage, the thought of having to face property division is probably overwhelming.
The more assets you have the more complex the task of dividing them may seem. However, you can expect property division to go smoothly if you organize your finances in advance.
Collecting your financial information takes time, so begin as soon as you can. The basics include:
- Bank account statements
- Loan documents such as your mortgage, auto loans and personal loans
- Investment account statements
- Retirement account statements
- Credit card statements
- Recent pay stubs if employed
- Income tax return copies
Make a list of your assets and debts to provide to your divorce attorney and keep a copy for yourself.
List everything you spend money for. For example, your household expenses should include items such as food, clothing, transportation, childcare, home maintenance and entertainment. Although you will need to provide this information for your divorce, it will also help you plan your post-divorce budget.
Delay major financial decisions
You may think you need to change the beneficiaries listed on your life insurance policy or retirement account but hold off. Certain changes to financial decisions will occur during the divorce process.
You and your spouse will have to close your joint checking or credit card accounts at some point. Rely on the advice of your attorney who knows how or when this should happen according to state laws. Whether you have separate accounts or will continue to use joint accounts for a time, be conservative in your spending habits. This is just one more way to make property division a smoother, easier process.