If you're considering divorce, there are some steps that must be taken before you consult with an attorney or file any documents.
And this tax season, as you go through your financial paperwork to prepare for tax filing, do yourself a favor and start gathering the information you'd need if you decide to divorce. You'll be saving yourself time down the road but also some emotional stress since the focus here is on taxes and not your marriage.
Like just about anything in life, divorce requires preparation. And by doing it now, you'll save yourself the trouble and worry down the road and also might see a better financial outcome.
Here are some suggestions about gathering documents for a divorce.
Start by making an accounting of your assets, including all of your accounts. You should fill a file folder with documents that include:
- Bank, retirement and investment account statements
- Real estate deeds and mortgage documents
- Credit card statements
- Estate planning tools, such as wills, trusts and insurance policies
From there, dig into the file folder and organize the documents you've collected. For example, you could keep all bank statements together and all home records together. As new statements come in, you also will have a place to put them. This will put records at your fingertips should your attorney or adviser need them.
Then, figure out if your assets are separate property or marital property, and make a list. Your attorney will want to know how you acquired an asset. Did you buy it yourself before you were married? Did you buy it together? Was it a gift or an inheritance?
Divorce isn't easy but being prepared could take away some of the anxiety involved. If, or when, you decide to consult with a divorce attorney, you will have just what you need to move forward.