When divorce lies ahead, you will likely struggle with the reality plus the finality of it when the matter of property division comes up. Now you have further stress and uncertainty to deal with.
Here are four tips to help you prepare for property division and make the divorce process easier to bear.
1. Gather financial information
Both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse should have a complete set of financial documents. Keep one copy in a safe place and give your attorney the other copy.
2. Identify assets and assign values
Your list of assets should include your separate assets, those you owned before marrying and those you received in your name only during the marriage; for example, an inheritance you received from Uncle Harry, who recently passed away. Every asset must have an assigned value. Keep in mind, however, that as the property division process begins, the court considers all assets marital in nature until processing all available information.
3. Deal with credit cards
Before the divorce process begins, it is a good idea to close joint credit card accounts and begin establishing credit in your own name.
4. Manage your bank accounts
You and your spouse should also open separate bank accounts. If you have a joint account you want to keep for the time being, your attorney should prepare a written agreement stating the purpose and how you intend to use the funds. Checks written from the joint account should contain both signatures.
Splitting up marital assets in the property division phase of a divorce can become a complicated task, especially with significant assets. The better prepared you are going in, the better off you will be at the end. Also, you will find the whole divorce process considerably easier and less stressful than you anticipated.