Property division is an important part of the divorce process, but it is a phase you might be anticipating with a certain amount of apprehension.
The proceeding can run more smoothly than you think, but the key to a streamlined process is preparation. Here are four tips to help you get ready.
1. Pull documents together
Gathering financial documents takes time, so begin as soon as you can. The basics include:
- Recent pay stubs
- Bank account statements
- Investment account statements
- Retirement account statements
- Credit card statements
- Auto loan and mortgage documents
- Personal loan documents
- Income tax returns
- List of assets and debts
Your divorce attorney will need a set of your financial records but remember to keep copies for yourself.
2. Track your income and expenses
Your attorney will also need information about your household income and expenses. Include food, clothing, home maintenance, childcare, transportation, entertainment and anything else you pay for. Knowing how much money comes in and how much goes out will help you in planning your post-divorce budget.
3. Spend conservatively
You can continue to use your accounts, both joint and separate, but as you approach divorce, refrain from going on a spending spree. The court will expect you to spend conservatively.
4. Avoid big financial decisions
Because of the upcoming divorce, you may think about the changes you need to make with regard to the beneficiaries of your life insurance policy, your will and more. The court takes a dim view of making such changes in advance since some will occur during the divorce proceedings. Wait to make any other changes until your divorce is final.