Organize financial information to streamline property division

If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you may be dreading the property division phase of your divorce proceedings.

Your finances will take the spotlight during property division. Becoming well-organized can make the process less stressful and easier to manage.

Pull your financial records together

Gathering financial information is usually a time-consuming process, so begin early. Your divorce attorney will need a list of your assets and debts plus copies of your financial documents. The basics include:

  • Checking and savings account statements
  • Loan documents such as your mortgage, car loan and any personal loans
  • Retirement account statements
  • Investment account statements
  • Recent pay stubs
  • Credit card statements
  • Income tax returns
Track your expenses

List anything you spend money for food, clothing, childcare, transportation, home maintenance, household bills, entertainment and any other costs. In your divorce, the judge will use this information to determine how to split assets and debts. You will find it is also helpful in planning your post-divorce budget.

Avoid making major financial decisions

You may want to make some financial decisions such as altering the beneficiary designation on your life insurance policy. Remember that financial changes are part of the divorce process, so it is best to wait until your divorce is final.

Ask for help

You do not have to go through a divorce without support. Your attorney can advise you and provide a wealth of information. But you might also consider adding more outside help to your legal team, such as an accountant or financial advisor. Seeking answers and relying on professional expertise are all part of the financial preparation that will help you streamline the property division phase of your divorce.