If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you are probably dreading the property division phase of the divorce process.
The longer your marriage endured, the more assets and debts there are to split. Here are four tips to help you prepare for property division.
1. Pull financial documents together
If you organize your financial documents well, property division will not seem as daunting. Your attorney can guide you as you prepare and will want a list of all your assets and debts. Basic documents to gather include:
- Bank statements
- Retirement account statements
- Investment statements
- Loan documents, such as your mortgage and auto loans
- Pay stubs
- Credit card statements
- Income tax return copies
2. Track your household expenses
Make a list of your household expenses. You will need this for your divorce, but the information will also help you project your future expenses and develop a post-divorce budget. Examples of household expenses include what you spend for food, clothing, transportation, childcare, home maintenance and repairs and entertainment.
3. Use care in spending
The court frowns on excessive spending in advance of a divorce. You and your spouse may have joint accounts; if so, be transparent. It is best to have an agreement about where the money is going. Spend to cover your needs but do not make extensive use of your bank account or credit cards.
4. Ask for help
No doubt you will have many questions as you approach property division. Remember that your attorney can provide answers and help you prepare so that you can enter this phase of your divorce with confidence.