It’s no secret that a divorce can be tough. There are emotional, financial and legal issues to consider. Before you decide to move forward with your divorce, it’s important to go through a pre-divorce financial checklist. Doing this will make it easier when the time comes to separate your assets and know what you need.
So, what do you really need to do to start on your financial checklist?
The first thing is to get in touch with an attorney. You should find an attorney that you are comfortable with and that is a good fit for you. It’s a smart choice to interview not only a single attorney, but instead two or three to get a feel for who you want to work with.
After that, it’s time to look at your checkbook. If you were the one who managed it, then that will be a little easier. However, if not, you still need to get ahold of it. Once you start looking into your finances, you want to:
- Think about how many accounts you have.
- Gather up your tax returns for the last several years.
- Get at least three months of reports on your bank accounts, investment accounts and other financial accounts.
- Look for retirement plans. If there is an employee retirement plan or pension, you should take information about it to your attorney.
Other financial documents to take to a meeting with your attorney include mortgage statements, pay stubs and any others you can think of right off the bat.
A third step, which is really important for most people, is to set aside time to talk to a good therapist as you prepare for divorce. Yes, a divorce is a legal process, but there are emotional issues that often have to be worked through. You will need more people on your team than just an attorney, so having a therapist, your attorney, a financial advisor or others in place is typical.
The Collaborative Divorce process with a divorce team is the way to go, because it’s helpful to have people on the team who are experts. They make each other’s jobs easier, which in turn makes your divorce easier, too.