Getting Divorced? Get Your Financial Facts

One key way to protect your finances from taking a post-marriage dive is to know your full financial picture. You can’t make the best decisions if you don’t have all the information.

With some preparation and organization…and sometimes a little digging…you’ll have the facts you need to make informed choices about your financial life going forward.

If you haven’t had much to do with the finances before, this can all seem really overwhelming. When you start getting your financial facts in order, you’ll begin to take control and gain confidence. Don’t worry if some things don’t make sense to you right now – as you work through the steps, the financial picture will become clearer.

The goal here is to help you navigate the financial pieces of your divorce to create a more secure financial foundation for yourself and your family.

These steps will put you on the path to financial fitness. Do what you can, when you can, and don’t try to tackle the whole list – or even the whole step – at once.

  • Gather your financial paperwork
    • bank statements (for ALL accounts: checking, saving, CDs, kids’ accounts)
    • credit card bills
    • tax returns (for the last 5 years)
    • most recent paystubs
    • brokerage statements
    • insurance policies (life, auto, homeowners/renters, disability, etc.)
    • retirement account documents
    • real estate records (closing statements, property tax bills, mortgage agreement, current mortgage statement, etc.)
    • business records (financial statements, tax returns, bank statements, legal agreements, etc.)
  • Sort your financial paperwork by type
  • Organize each type by date (newest first)
  • Make copies of ownership documents (car title, deed to your house, etc.)
  • Create a personal property inventory for your household items, with categories such as:
    • Furniture
    • Artwork
    • Appliances
    • Entertainment
    • Decorations
    • Jewelry
    • Kitchenware
  • Make a list of all separate and joint debts, including this information:
    • Account number
    • Who the money is owed to (the creditor)
    • Balance due
    • Monthly payment
    • Who owes the money (you, your ex, joint)
  • Create a net worth statement

With this information, you’ll be able to analyze the pre- and post-marriage financial situation. If it’s too much to figure out on your own, enlist your accountant or financial advisor.

When you have this clear financial picture, you’ll be able to enter divorce negotiations from a position of knowledge and strength, so you can establish a more stable financial foundation for yourself and your family.

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