How to Prepare for Your Divorce
Going through a divorce can be an incredibly stressful, emotional process. You may feel like every aspect of your marriage and financial life is scrutinized. You will be asked to provide an overwhelming amount of information about the most personal aspects of your life. However, a little preparation can help ease the burden and allow you to be better prepared for what comes next. The following checklist is intended to serve as a starting point to help you gather documents and information that will likely be necessary along the way.
Gather the following information about each of your family members:
- Birthdates and birth certificates
- Contact information for both spouses
- Social Security numbers
- Marriage date and location
- Details about any prenuptial agreements
- Judgements and pleadings that involve either spouse
- Proof of state residency
- Information about both spouses’ employers – name, address, phone number, length of employment and salary
- Current custody arrangements
- A list of property owned by each spouse prior to the marriage
- A list of any gifts or inheritances acquired by either spouse during the marriage
Ideally, the following documentation will cover five years of financial history in order to provide the most complete financial picture possible:
- Income tax returns
- Employment records
- Insurance policies, including life, disability, homeowners, auto, etc.
- Bank statements for yourself, spouse and children
- Loan information
- Investment account statements
- Retirement savings and pension account statements
- Estate planning documents such as wills and trust agreements
- Social Security statements
- Home information such as value and mortgage history
- Vehicle information
- Personal property such as jewelry, artwork and antiques
- If either spouse is self-employed, business financial statements, tax returns and any business valuation documents
In addition to gathering documents and information, you should also take the following steps to secure your finances during the divorce process:
- Close any joint lines of credit.
- Update beneficiaries on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies.
- Update your marital status and address (if necessary) on tax records, professional licenses, utility bills and health insurance.
- Begin the process of building a credit history in your name.
At Creative Planning we understand how overwhelming it can be to go through a divorce. That is why we focus on helping you move forward with confidence and security by working with you to determine your financial need, gain an understanding of your options and make decisions that are in the best interest of you and your family.