The Pre-Divorce Checklist
A Pre Divorce checklist will help you prepare for the turbulent times ahead. In a marriage, it is not uncommon for one of the spouses to take care of all the financial activity of the family. If you are the financially non-informed spouse, it is important for you to photo copy everything. Don’t keep the original documents because the other spouse is entitled to these documents as well. If you do withhold these records, sooner or later you will be asked to provide them to the other spouse, which may cost you even more in legal fees.
It may be advisable to keep these records outside of the home, perhaps at a trusted friend’s home. If your spouse is not aware of your intention to divorce, keeping a separate set of documents in your home may cause questions you do not want to yet answer.
If you are not able to locate copies of these documents, they can be obtained by contacting your banker, broker, financial advisor or the service providers of your household expenses such as phone company, electric company, gas company and water company.
It is recommended to collect a minimum of three years of documents. It would be better to collect five years. This is one of those cases where more is better.
Learn More: 4 Financial Planning Steps for Divorce
Documents you will need to help with a property settlement:
- Income tax returns
- Retirement savings plans (be sure to include statements from prior employers as well)
- IRA and ROTH IRA statements
- Employment Pay Stubs
- Employee Stock Option Statement
- Pension Statements
- If a business is involved get copies of financial statementso Balance Sheet
- List of Assets and Liabilities
- Income Statement – identifies sources of income and expenses
- Cash Flow Statement
- Bank accounts (checking, savings and certificates of deposit (CD)
- Brokerage statements (some mutual fund investments are held outside of a brokerage account)
- Credit Card Statements
- Insurance Policies
- Home Owner (Renter)
- General Liability
- Health Insurance and Work Related Benefits
- Real Estate Records (Your Home, Vacation home or Other Investments)
- Create a list of personal property. Items such as furniture, clothing, jewelry, art and collectables, electronics, DVDs/CDs/Records/Tapes, tools, etc. If you can take pictures of these items.
You will be required to create a budget and/or a spending plan. This information will be used to help determine the amounts for child support and spousal support. Recommendation here is to collect statements for the past twelve months.