Divorce is typically not a split second decision. Rather, people tend to think about the possibility of divorce and if this is something they really want to go through for quite some time before actually filing.
The time when one is in the thinking process is also a great time to start gathering information. Simply gathering financial records and documentation does not necessarily even mean that someone must go through with the divorce. Rather, it just means he or she is prepared for if the time comes.
Gathering Your Records
The first step in the process is gathering records and retaining copies of everything. This includes anything that sets a financial record of the family's income, assets and debts. Some items you will need include:
- Tax returns for the past two to three years
- Insurance documents
- Retirement information
- Credit reports for you and your spouse
- Paycheck stubs for you and your spouse
- A record of any valuables, including jewelry and art
If you have not done so already, now is also the time to start tracking expenses. As you gather this information, make copies of everything. If you end up filing for divorce, this information will be used to review your cost of living.
Seeking outside help
When attempting to gather financial data, you may soon realize you are just not able to find all of the information you need. Maybe your wife was the person who maintained the finances? Or maybe it was the husband who handled all of the insurance and retirement account information? In cases where this information is just not readily available, for whatever reasons, you will want to work with an attorney.
At Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law, we focus on all aspects of divorce, including the initial planning stage. We will work with you to create a strategic plan for moving forward. If you need help getting access to financial records, we will refer you to a trusted financial adviser or accountant, who can help uncover all necessary documents. If you decide to move forward with your divorce, we will guide you through the process, every step of the way.