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Gather financial information before seeking a divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2020 | high asset divorce |

Deciding when to end a marriage can be one of the most devastating experiences of your life. However, it’s essential that you take every step possible to put yourself in the best financial position for your new life.

Achieving a fair outcome with your soon-to-be-ex often depends upon the actions you take before filing or even hiring a divorce attorney. The good news is, getting organized and being pro-active can help ease some of the pain.

Focus on these three financial areas

Doing some homework, and possibly a little detective work, can go a long way to help you understand your financial situation, especially if your spouse has handled the checkbook during your marriage. At first, this might seem overwhelming, but focus on these three areas for gathering information:

Assets: These items include all property owned by both spouses:

  • Family home, including the deed
  • Household inventory list
  • Other real estate holdings, such as vacation homes or rental properties
  • Cars, planes, boats and any other vehicles
  • Lists and receipts of all marital and nonmarital property for both spouses

Debts: The second step is finding all liabilities owed by both spouses:

  • Mortgages and home equity lines
  • Outstanding personal loans
  • Credit card balances held jointly or individually
  • Lease payments
  • Household expenses

Financial records: Next, make copies of all these documents:

  • Joint and separate financial statements
  • At least the last three years of tax returns
  • Wills and trusts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Bank account and investment statements
  • Most recent paystubs
  • Life insurance policies, personal and from employers

Getting a head start

Ending a marriage can cause extreme personal distress, but it’s also crucial to understand the business side of a divorce, especially for high-net-worth couples. Having this information in hand to give to an experienced attorney can reduce the time, cost and stress that divorce often brings.