If you are facing divorce, you are likely somewhat apprehensive about the property division phase of the proceeding.
Preparing in advance can make the process go more smoothly and help you set the stage for life after divorce. Here are four tips to assist you in accomplishing basic preparation.
- List your assets
Make a list of all your assets. This will include everything from your residence and any other real property to vehicles, boats, jewelry, furnishings, valuable collections and financial accounts. You will provide this list to your attorney along with a list of any separate assets, meaning property that is yours alone that you owned before marriage or through a gift or an inheritance. As part of the property division process, every asset must have a value. Therefore, to the extent possible, note the present value of each asset and when and where you purchased it. Include copies of any current real estate appraisals.
- Determine what you owe
Property division is not only about assets, it is also about debts. The court will split anything that you and your spouse according to which of you is more able to pay. Begin researching your marital debt by requesting a copy of your credit report. Next, obtain statements showing the balance owed on each open account; and again, provide this information to your attorney.
- Compare lists
Gathering information about your assets and debts takes time, but you want to ensure that everything is out on the table. The marital assets on your list should match those on the list your spouse prepares. If you sense an irregularity, or if something appears to be missing, you may need the investigative help of an appraiser or forensic accountant.
- Prepare a post-divorce budget
Once you have put your lists of assets and debts together, you can face the property division phase of your divorce with less anxiety and more confidence. You will have a good idea of your post-divorce financial needs, which will go a long way toward helping you establish a workable budget. You are about to enter a new chapter in your life, and you will benefit by preparing wisely.