Going through a divorce is far from easy. Aside from dealing with your emotions about your divorce and helping your children cope, you also are concerned about how your divorce will impact you financially. How will you and your spouse divide your assets? What information will your attorney need about your assets to get started?
Preparing for divorce
One of the most important aspects in beginning your divorce process is to prepare for your first meeting with your divorce attorney. You should bring the following financial documents with you, to help your attorney understand the assets involved in the divorce:
- Your tax returns for the past three years
- You and your spouse’s bank statements for the past three months
- You and your spouse’s retirement and investment account statements
- Financial information about the business you or your spouse own
- You and your spouse’s credit card statements or other debt information
- Your mortgage and other property ownership information
- A list of valuable items you and your spouse own (vehicles, furniture, jewelry, art or sporting goods)
After you gather information about your assets, you should think about what assets you want to keep. Is keeping the family home more important to you than keeping other investments? Are you willing to give up more of your retirement accounts to get more of your business assets?
Understanding your divorce options
You also need to understand your options in divorce. Are you and your spouse on the same page and seeking an uncontested divorce? Might you be open to divorce mediation, which can save you time and money when finalizing your divorce? Will you and your spouse pursue joint custody of your children?
You should do some research on your divorce options so you can further discuss them with your attorney.
Questions about divorce
Finally, you should draft a list of questions for your attorney, so you don’t forget to cover topics you are concerned about or need clarification on. More than likely, you will have questions for your attorney at your next meeting and throughout the process.
Meeting with your attorney for the first time will help you know what steps you will take next in your divorce process. You can be better prepared for how you and your spouse will split your assets and can gain insight into what assets you might receive. You also will better establish your relationship with your attorney, who you will be working closely with until your divorce is final.