Divorce is full of challenges, but few carry as much risk as those related to your finances. As such, it is critical that you understand how to effectively prepare for your divorce. Learn how to organize your personal finances, and what steps you can take to prepare for the process ahead.
Gathering Important Documents
Before you can determine what you want or may be entitled to in your divorce, you must first determine what it is that you and your spouse own. Bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, jewelry, artwork, and more are all valuable assets that you will want to document. Do not worry about whether or not those assets will be considered part of the marital estate. At this point, you are simply gathering information. Some things to look for include:
- Tax returns;
- Pay stubs;
- Mortgage statements;
- Bank statements;
- Retirement plan statements;
- Life insurance policy documents;
- Loan documents;
- And any other financial documents you can find.
In addition, you may want to take photographs of any valuables that do not have documentation. These items sometimes disappear during divorce. If that happens, you may be unable to prove that they exist. This could ultimately affect the amount of your divorce settlement. Such assets may include:
- Valuable clothing;
- Antique furniture;
- Collectible items;
- And any other valuable assets that lack documentation.
Determining What You Want
Once you know what it is that you and your spouse have, you can decide what it is that you want out of your divorce. Do you want the house, or would you rather forgo the mortgage, taxes, and insurance and split the sale price so that you can downsize into a home you can reasonably afford? Are you okay with letting your spouse keep the collection of comic books you helped him or her purchase, as long as you get to keep the jewelry he or she bought you? Whatever your wishes, write them down on a sheet of paper clearly marked with the words “To my attorney.” Doing so will protect it under attorney-client privilege.
Your Divorce Attorney and the Divorce Process
Your attorney plays a very important role in the process of your divorce. He or she will work to ensure your spouse is not trying to hide assets, help you find information that you may be missing, seek accurate values for the property and assets you and your spouse own, and negotiate a settlement offer for you. If you are unable to come to an agreement in negotiation, your attorney can work to ensure your interests are protected in court. An experienced attorney also ensures that your divorce is completed according to all provisions outlined in Illinois state law. This is a valuable service, even in amicable divorces.
At Kezy & Associates, our experienced Orland Park divorce lawyers have the skills and knowledge you need for your divorce. Dedicated to your best interests, we aggressively protect your rights and pursue the most favorable outcome possible. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 708-518-8200 to learn more.