Divorce 101: Be Prepared and Stay Prepared with Data and Document Gathering
Divorce can be an overwhelming experience both physically and emotionally. Despite your best efforts, you may feel that the circumstances and decisions made are out of your control. While this may be true for certain aspects of divorce, there are certain things that you can control. Maintaining accurate, organized and updated copies of financial documents can help accomplish this. Here are five tips on how to best stay prepared:
1. Get the details first
• Collect every piece of financial paperwork make two copies of everything before returning the paperwork to where you found it.
• Gathering complete documentation records will help build an accurate picture of the marital estate and assist in making educated, well-informed decisions.
2. Prepare accurate financial statements to help prepare your attorney including:
• Schedule of Assets and Debts – also known as a Net Worth Statement
• Income and Expense Schedule
• Include as much documentation and supplemental information as possible
Accurate schedules are the most important financial documents during preparation stages. Complete and accurate forms will allow you to negotiate from a position of strength and help you weigh your options when developing your best alternatives for settlement.
3. Have all information available and easily accessible throughout the process.
Missing information or documentation is one of the most common causes for delays and canceled settlement conferences. Both will cost you more money in attorney and expert fees when subpoenas, interrogatories and repeated formal requests for documents are required.
4. Keep your schedules and documentation updated during the process.
This will insure accurate information is available when you are weighing your options on the courthouse steps and avoid expensive 11th hour document preparation when exchange of documents is required.
5. Keep a record of EVERYTHING.
Track everything from day one including community expenses you pay, cash given to your spouse, bank statements, receipts for major purchases, etc. Credits and Reimbursements are important and often valuable financial tools in your negotiations.
Hiring an experienced CDFA will ensure a more secure, comfortable future for YOU. Make sure you sit down with us at PDM before finalizing your settlement agreement.