If you are facing divorce, the thought of the property division phase of the proceedings may leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Good preparation can ease the pressure. Here are five tips that will serve to reduce stress and help you navigate property division with greater confidence.
1. Gather your documents
You will need a set of documents for your divorce attorney with copies to keep for yourself. Begin by collecting your checking and savings account, credit card and investment account statements for the past year. Add mortgage and auto loans, personal loans and retirement account statements. You will also need to provide income tax returns for the past three years. Prepare a list of marital assets and debts. Also, note anything that belongs solely to you such as a vehicle you owned prior to your marriage or inheritance you received after marriage.
2. Track your expenses
Determine what you spend money on. List your household expenses. Note your monthly income. This kind of information, while important for property division, will also be important to you in creating a budget for life after divorce.
3. Avoid making big financial decisions
Major financial changes will occur during the divorce. Meanwhile, avoid making big financial decisions such as changing the beneficiary to your life insurance or to your retirement account.
4. Spend conservatively
Do not go on a spending spree as you approach the divorce. You can use your personal or joint accounts as you usually do but spend conservatively.
5. Anticipate resistance
Even if you believe your divorce will be amicable, you and your spouse may still disagree over the value of your assets. However, having your financial house in order prior to property division will streamline the process and provide fewer paths to resistance from your spouse.