Be prepared with our Divorce Financial Checklist! If you’re contemplating a divorce, you’re likely overwhelmed by all of the emotions and uncertainty about the future associated with such a move. However, to get the most for your money and from your lawyer’s time, it’s important to get together all of your relevant financial information before you sit down with your attorney or Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.
Powers of attorney. If you or your spouse have power of attorney for a family member or friend who is ill, incapacitated or otherwise can’t handle his or her own affairs, you’ll need to bring this documentation with you to your meeting with your divorce lawyer.
Information on real property owned prior to your marriage. You’ll also need documentation on any real property that you or your spouse brought into the marriage or that you owned together prior to your marriage, even if that property has since been sold or otherwise transferred. If you no longer own this property, bring information about how it was disposed of (sold, gifted, foreclosed on.)
Partnership and joint venture agreements. If either of these apply to you, you’ll need to advise your lawyer and bring copies of the relevant paperwork. This applies to any such agreement that was in force during your marriage, even if the agreement is no longer valid.
Your current household budget. Bring a detailed outline of your current monthly household income and expenses before the divorce, making sure to include things like utilities, insurance, taxes and home maintenance. Bring copies of utility and other monthly bills.
Your proposed (post-divorce) budget. You should also prepare a proposed budget for yourself and your children, if applicable, based on your most likely living arrangements after the divorce. While some of these figures will be educated guesses, it’s a useful exercise to let your attorney know your needs and to get you thinking about how you are going to cover your expenses.
Medical savings account information. If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) account to pay health care expenses before taxes, this balance and account information also need to be disclosed.
Promissory notes. If a friend or family member has loaned you money and you’ve signed a note agreeing to repay them by a specific date, bring a copy of these notes. Any such notes signed within the last five years need to be disclosed.
Employment contracts. If you or your spouse has entered into any employment contracts within the past five years, this also needs to be disclosed, whether or not the work has been performed. If the contracts were verbal, write down a description of each, including the parties and the work that was done or that is expected.
Memberships. Country club and other memberships are considered assets also. Be sure to advise your lawyer and bring documentation about memberships to gyms, country clubs, private clubs, spas and/or fraternal clubs that you or your spouse have belonged to during the last five years of your marriage. You’ll also need all of your monthly statements for that period.
Court judgments. If you or your spouse have been awarded money or required to pay money as a result of a court judgment, you need to bring copies of the court orders. This applies to any such court judgments during the entire course of your marriage.
Any other liabilities. If you have any other expenses, debts or one-time bills that haven’t been paid, bring invoices, letters of obligation or other documentation regarding these liabilities.
To learn more about what type of documentation you need to move forward with your divorce and/or to make an appointment, call us today at 972.473.4700.