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When to Start Financial Preparations for Divorce

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If you decide to initiate the divorce process, take the time to research all your finances thoroughly. Once your intent to divorce is verbalized, the emotional roller coaster begins. Hopefully it doesn’t include the hiding of assets or deceitful misrepresentation. 

Even if you don’t understand what you’re looking at, finding information can be very helpful for you.  Your lawyer and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst will know what to do with it all.

See a basic divorce preparation checklist below:

  • 3 Years Tax of Returns. They show income from assets that exist, capital gains/losses on assets sold, brokerage fees deducted on portfolios, taxes paid on properties, and many items like that in addition to income.
  • Track Spending for 3 Months. It is super important to understand what your expenses are, and therefore what you need to live on when it comes to paying or receiving alimony and child support.  If you can track your expenses for 3 months, this will give you a strong predictable yearly cash flow. Try Mint.com too, where you can automatically import all of your transactions from bank accounts and credit cards. Keep children’s expenses separate.
  • Collect Financial Statements. Insurance statements, bank statements, investment statements, retirement plans for the household – which means both parties.
  • Collect Debt Statements. Mortgages, car loans, student loans, lines of credit, credit card statements – for both parties
  • Find Your Employer Benefit Packages. You receive them when you start a job and they are updated every year. Some benefits such as stock options come in letters yearly.
  • Know where to find pay stubs. They show all the deductions made.
  • Print Social Security and Pension statements. They help answer what will you have for retirement.
  • Collect Credit Reports and Scores. You can get 1 free report a year from each of TransUnionExperian, and Equifax.
  • List Other Assets. Such as frequent flyer miles

Related: The 3 Biggest Financial Mistakes You Can Make at Divorce

Just Start by Opening the Mail

If you are not financially inclined, after reading this list you may prefer a root canal or hiding under the bed.  I get it.  This information is so important to ensure nothing is missed when you divide your assets.  Once a couple starts talking about divorce feelings of paranoia, fear, anger, sadness and many other emotions set in.  Bad behavior such as trying to hide assets or long-term bonuses may occur; or stress simply stops you both from thinking clearly.  Whether you have worked in the home or outside of the home, you deserve your share as an integral part of the marriage. The more information available, the more likely that will happen.

So just start by creating a file. Open the mail. Go online and print off statements. Divorce document preparation is easy once you start. Every time you do, you’re taking care of yourself. It’s amazing how much you can collect once you begin.

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