My firm specializes in divorce and family law. I believe that preparation is essential especially when it comes to property division. If you are contemplating divorce, what should you do to prepare?
1. If you have children, think about the best parenting schedule or visitation schedule that would work for them.
2. Think about joint child custody versus sole child custody.
3. Make sure you know what you are your spouse bring in for income. This is important for child support and spousal support.
4. Collect two to five years of your joint or individual Tax Returns.
5. Try to obtain recent pay stubs for both of you if possible.
6. If you own real estate, go on Zillow. Find out how much your house or condo is worth!
7. Try to get a copy of your most recent mortgage statement. How much do you owe on it? Maybe you owe more than it is worth.
8. Even if you don’t want to sell, knowing what it can sell for is important for property division and deciding who gets the house!
9. Print out your most recent retirement statements. Retirement accounts are marital property too! They are included in Property Division.
10. Where does your money go? Where does his or her money go? Get copies of your most recent bank statements.
11 In this day and age, most of us have credit cards. Property has to be divided and debt has to be divided too!
12. Print out at least a year of credit card statements. Maybe your spouse charged things that had nothing to do with you or your family.
13. Finally and most importantly, think of ways of not stressing out during this process.
14. Select family and friends who you can confide in and who will support you in what you are about to do. Divorce is never easy.
If you can’t get all the paperwork suggested, don’t worry. You are not alone. Many times one partner controls the finances. Your lawyer can get those documents not available to you. That is something we do well.