Getting a divorce can be a stressful and unsettling experience, but there are ways you can take control of the situation. Determining the accurate figures of your family finances can be a complicated undertaking, but it is important to have this information as it impacts your final divorce settlement agreement. The Courts will use your financial statements when deciding division of property, spousal maintenance, and child support, so it’s critical to have the accurate numbers. Here are key things to keep in mind as you plan for your divorce.
1. Get a copy of your credit report
Once you have decided that you are ready for the divorce process, you should immediately get copies of your credit report. This is especially important if you need to know the balance of your mortgage and home equity loan. Make sure to get the credit reports for all accounts, whether those are in joint names or individual names.
2. List all your assets
If you are anticipating a divorce, make copies of the statements for all of your bank accounts, retirement accounts and investment accounts. Just like the credit reports, it doesn’t matter if these accounts are in joint names or individual names. As long as assets were acquired during the marriage, these assets are subject to equitable distribution.
3. Know your incomes
Knowing exactly what your incomes are will help determine the interests and dividends you are entitled to when the divorce is finalized. As a general rule, you should make a copy of at least the last three years of income returns. If you or your spouse own a business, it is a good idea to make sure you have up-to-date company tax returns, income and loss statements, and all pertinent company financial documents.
4. Keep track of monthly expenses
Divorce is not only an emotional ordeal, but also a financial one. To help prepare you for the wave of bills you will have to pay, you need to get a handle on your monthly budget. This will help you see where you are overspending and where you can cut back, so that your extra money can be put into savings.
Getting the exact figures for your income, expenses, assets and liabilities can feel overwhelming, but this preparation will give you the information you need to begin the process of divorce. Your attorney will need this information to be able to negotiate on your behalf and to finalize your case.