When you know where you and your soon-to-be-ex stand financially, you improve your chances for a fair divorce settlement.
Organizing information about marital assets and debts ahead of the property division phase of the divorce will help lower your stress level.
Identify your assets
Some marital assets are obvious: your home, your vehicles, your bank accounts. Others, such as collections, artwork and retirement plans are less obvious but just as important. Make a list of your assets and identify any that were yours alone prior to marriage. You must account for these on your list, but they will still remain your separate property after the divorce. Give the finished list to your divorce attorney and keep a copy for yourself. Each item must have a value, so you might need to add an appraiser or other outside professional to your legal team.
Collect debt information
You must also list all the debts you and your spouse owe, including mortgage payments, other loans and credit card debt. You may find it helpful to request a copy of your credit report. You will also need to provide your attorney with documentation showing household income. If your spouse is self-employed, this is a bit more difficult, but you can use bank account and financial business statements to assist in determining this kind of income.
Prepare your post-divorce budget
As a benefit of the hard work in pulling together all your financial information, you will now have a much clearer picture of your post-divorce budget. You are about to enter a new chapter of your life and you can build a solid financial foundation using the asset and debt information you collect ahead of property division.