Divorce can easily become one of the most tumultuous, stressful times in your life—emotionally, physically, and financially. During a divorce, emotions can range from relief to devastation.
There is no wrong way to feel when it comes to the end of your marriage, but you must remain vigilant about staying focused during the entire process. Particularly in the very beginning, you might miss out on key items that could ensure future financial stability –because you let your emotions clouded your viewpoint.
To take control of the situation early on, making preparations is one of the most significant things you can do. Whether you plan to meet with a divorce attorney or a certified divorce financial analyst, you should have all of your critical documents in order. A good divorce financial planner will tell you to get your paperwork together before you file for divorce.
How do you know what you should prepare? To make sure you are gathering everything you may need, a divorce checklist is below. And to ensure that you have all of the most critical documents on hand, it is broken into manageable pieces.
Divorce Financial Checklist Documents
It will be more difficult for a divorce financial planner to get an accurate idea of your marital money matters without having the pertinent information. Keep in mind that these professionals are specifically trained to help you navigate a successful settlement and secure a financially stable future. Without all of the relevant data to review, you could miss out on your share of significant assets, investments, or accounts.
You will need to keep in mind that documents should cover your long-term history, not just the most recent transactions. The gold standard is to cover five years’ worth of data with your documentation. Perhaps this information is unavailable, or the marriage did not survive this long. If so, three years’ worth of data should suffice to help your team assemble a settlement that you will be satisfied with.
Which financial documents are the most important to put together first? The divorce financial checklist will give you the most thorough rundown of the most commonly requested items:
- Income Tax ReturnsPersonal tax returns
- Partnership and corporate tax returns
- W-2 forms
- 1099 forms
- K-1 forms
- Amendments to returns
- Employment Records
- Pay stubs
- Benefits information
- Financial Records
- Bank statements
- Monthly expense reports
- Investment properties and rental (or lease) agreements
- Financial statements prepared for banks or loans
- Loans or other forms of debt (including mortgage information)
- Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements
- Investment Account StatementsBrokerage accounts
- Money market funds
- Mutual funds
- Other investment accounts
- Information about Retirement Savings Accounts
- Wills and Trust Agreements
- Personal Records
Your financial information is not the only consideration that a divorce financial planner will need to take into account. Your personal data, including significant details regarding your marriage and any children involved, can also assist the planner with helping draft an appropriate settlement that all parties will be satisfied with.
One of the most important steps to take before divorce is to understand what each person in the marriage brought to the union. Take a look at the checklist below to get an idea of the important documents you need to round up for your divorce attorney or divorce financial planner:
- Date of marriage
- Date of birth and social security numbers for you and your spouse
- Date of birth and social security numbers for any involved children
- Information on previous marriages, including divorce decrees
- List of property acquired before and during your marriage
- Insurance policies
- Life insurance
- Car insurance
- Homeowners insurance
- Other types of policies
- Personal property (including jewelry, artwork, collection, and antiques) acquired before or during your marriage
- Safety deposit boxes and their contents
- Judgments and pleadings that either spouse was party to
Final Divorce Settlement Checklist
Before you consider heading to your divorce attorney to initiate the end of your marriage, it is critical to be prepared for what happens afterward. By following these steps before filing for divorce, you will gain some sense of control over an otherwise emotionally charged and draining situation.
This divorce checklist will help you assemble documentation at your own pace. Then you will be ready for whatever your divorce financial planner may need. In addition, gathering up documents to prove and support your current marital financial situation allows you to more adequately prepare for your future.
By completing an accurate assessment of your lifestyle, income, and expenditures, a divorce financial planner can help you prepare for your future as a newly single individual. If you utilize this divorce financial checklist, you will more clearly see what you could be entitled to during your divorce (with a greater degree of accuracy).