Undergoing the process of divorce is already hard enough. You should not stress yourself more by not thinking all of it through. You must be prepared so that you have everything that you need to make the whole course as manageable as possible.
Even if you are on an emotional roller coaster right now, you still have to stay focused on the matter. Here are tips on making your divorce preparation checklist:
The Ultimate Divorce Preparation Checklist
1. Financial Records
Divorce can be caused by a lot of factors. One of the main reasons why many couples divorce is money. According to the survey conducted by MagnifyMoney.com in 2017, 21 percent of the respondents said that it was finances that caused them to file for divorce.
It is even said in the survey that the more money a couple has, the higher the likelihood that it is the cause of the divorce. Among divorced couples who earned more than $100,000, thirty-three percent said that money is the reason for the split. For those who earned $50,000 or less, 18 percent admitted that their finances caused their breakup in marriage.
When it comes to the actual divorce, you also need to talk about the right settlement financially. The only way to make it easier for you both is to put together all the necessary financial records that you can get.
This is your divorce financial checklist. Some of the documents that you should collect include income statements, income tax returns, bank statements, insurance plans, pension plans, employment documents, business statement of accounts, debts, wills, trusts, kids’ bank accounts, and other family investments.
Some spouses may not divulge all bank accounts or statements to you. If your husband or wife is secretive, then it can be a little more difficult to find out your total financial status in your marriage.
If you are the one planning to divorce your spouse, you can find out about his or her other investments and financial portfolio by being inquisitive of possible sources of income. You can ask him or her of possible emergency funds just in case. It may not be concrete data, but knowing the money sources can give you a glimpse of where to look and what to look for.
You will also have to keep an eye on all the debts that your spouse has. You would not want to be blindsided with credit card bills or loans that you know nothing about.
Financial information is not only important to know about the equal distribution of money between the couple. Having this data can also help you plan for your future. You can determine your budget after the divorce and make necessary changes.
2. Asset Information
An asset is simply defined as anything with monetary value. It can be tangible or intangible. Tangible assets include real properties and personal items. Real properties include land and house structures. Personal properties are your cars, machines, and other devices. Intangible properties include trademarks and rights.
You must know that different states have specific laws regarding the distribution of assets. During the marriage, it is not a problem since you can both use a property anytime. But when you are filing for divorce, ownership becomes critical.
Two terms that you must know are common law property and community property. If you live in a common law property state, it means that anything you buy in your name will be owned only by you. However, you buy a property and put both your names on the ownership, then your spouse has a right to the property.Upon divorce, the court will decide on how to settle the marital property.
If you are in a community property state, like California or Texas, then everything that you purchase after marriage will be owned by the couple. This means that the ownership of the property is split in the middle. All properties bought before the marriage are solely owned by the individual.
You should list all of your own assets, your other half’s assets, and the ones that you purchased during the marriage. Depending on the state that you are in, you can easily know how you will settle the asset distribution.
The assets that you should include are your marital homes, individual real properties, vehicles, and other personal properties, like paintings and jewelry.
3. Child’s Documents
One of the most difficult settlements that the couple needs to make is childcare. This is quite challenging because custody and child support will be determined.
For this aspect of the divorce, you should talk to each other about who will take custody of the kids. You will also need to determine child visitations, financial support, and other expenses. Even dependents in taxes must be identified.
You must think long-term when dealing with this portion of the divorce. Even educational plans must be recognized. Are you planning to set up a bank account for your kid? Are you both going to put money into the account? You must settle it with the child’s welfare in mind so that his future will not be affected even after the divorce is finalized.
4. Personal Records
Because you are going through a legal and public process that involves changing your status and your government benefits and requirements, you will need to prepare a checklist of various personal records. The financial planner will also need these records to help him make the right adjustments and budgets.
Personal records that must be collected include social security numbers, birthdates, all bank accounts, marriage documents, previous marriage documents, divorce information, previous settlement records, prenuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements, and any other court judgments toward your spouse and insurances that each of you have.
5. Important Issues to Be Listed
If you are the one filing for divorce, you must actually have evidence and proof for the court to allow and approve it. This must be documented and presented to ensure that the divorce has substance and has enough verification.
You have various legal grounds for divorce. For at-fault divorce, the main causes are bigamy, adultery or cheating, desertion, mental incapacity, marriage between close relatives, impotence at the time of marriage, drugs or substance abuse, fraud, alcohol addiction, and mental illness.
When you are filing for no-fault divorce, you may state irreconcilable differences, incompatibility, or irretrievable breakdown.
You have to remember that filing for at-fault divorce is the kind of divorce that needs proof. Be prepared to gather documentation as evidence for what caused the marriage to fall or falter.
No-fault divorces do not require any physical verification. It is a formal way of saying to the court that you feel that your differences have caused your marriage to be broken.
6. All the Information that Will Be Revised
It would not hurt to be prepared after the divorce. Because you are going to use your maiden name, you will need to change your IDs and other state documents. It will make the process easier if you get all the records ready so that you can file for a name change after completing all the required procedures for the divorce.
Look into your personal documents and see which ones need to be changed. This may include bank accounts, insurance policies, healthcare benefits, powers of attorney, wills, credit card accounts, and other monetary accounts.
If you will still live in the same marital home, you must also request for a new P.O. Box number so that your ex-spouse will not accidentally read your mail. It is also your way of protecting any finance-related mail that is sent to your home.
It is also recommended that you use a safety deposit box so that all your important documents and financial assets will be safeguarded and prevented from being mishandled by your partner.
By having your own personal checklist, you can ensure that all the documents and information needed for the divorce are set and taken care of. With the records well-prepared, you can make the process smooth and without conflicts.
You can also ensure that all the properties and assets will be equally settled.Your children will be shielded from the emotional stress caused by the divorce if you take care of their support and custody as early as possible.
Rest assured that the progression will be speedier and you can move on quickly to the next chapter of your life.