Chances are, you planned your wedding down to the last penny: the banquet hall, the menu, the flowers. Sadly, it is time for your divorce. Watch every penny now, too.
Emotions are running high when dividing marital assets during a divorce. A methodical approach, while not always easy, is what you should strive for.
What to plan
Preparation is key in all financial matters, including divorce. The work you do now benefits you in the long run. It can relieve some of your stress and also give you a head start on achieving favorable results in court.
Make a checklist of assets, accounts, etc. Your list should include:
- Documents detailing personal financial accounts
- An inventory of marital and non-marital property
- Bank and investment account documentation
- Real estate deeds
- Mortgage and loan documents
- Credit card statements
- Wills and trusts
- Insurance policies
Collect related paperwork that has an impact on your finances. Topics include estate planning, prepaid funeral arrangements, and prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.
How to plan
Organize your documents for easy access. Group them by category. If your accountant asks to see paperwork about home ownership, you should have the documents on hand. Providing a complete picture of your assets facilitates the process.
Classify your assets as separate property or marital/community property. Assemble vital information about all assets. How and when was the property acquired? Was it a gift? Was it your personal property before your marriage, or was it purchased together with your spouse?
The goal of the court is dividing your property in a fair manner. The more information you provide the court, the better your odds of receiving a fair share of the assets.
What to expect
No matter how well you plan for your divorce, surprises await. Your spouse may present a better argument in court, or you may make an innocent mistake that causes you to lose valuable assets. Do everything you can, but be prepared for things not to work out exactly according to plan.