How To Prepare For a Divorce When It Comes to Property
One of the most difficult times a person can face in their life is when they are facing a divorce. A question I am asked very often is “What can I do to prepare?” First, I will focus on the question of property.
What is property? Well, it includes pretty much everything but the kids, including the family pets! Of course, the first thing most people think about are the house and vehicles. Property also includes bank accounts, retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, etc. Although it is hard to think about this as property, debts are also included, such as credit cards, personal notes, mortgages, car loans, lines of credit, etc. Often forgotten are cars driven by older children, college loans, and other expenses for the children, especially college-age children.
What is the first thing you should do to prepare for dealing with the property? Information is power, so start gathering information. Gather statements and make copies. Download statements from every account you have access to. Make sure to keep this information on a usb drive or some other digital platform so that it will not be accidently erased or be lost. Look for your car titles and the loans that go with them. Download credit card statements. DO NOT hide or destroy documents. This kind of activity will only look bad if you end up in court. Gather as much information as possible.
Next, gather information about your monthly bills. Clients are often quite surprised about how much their monthly expenses really are. Again gather or download, information in regard to all of your bills such as electricity, gas, water, cell phones, internet, cable or streaming, charitable contributions, and any other expense you can think of.
Also, gather income information such as income tax returns and the W-2’s, 1099’s etc. that go with them, paystubs, direct deposit information. This information is critical.
I know that this seems overwhelming. That is why it is important to meet with someone that has the experience in this field who can assist you through the whole process.