If you are considering a divorce, there are many issues that you will need to resolve in the process. Finances are one of the most controversial areas of concern, and one that requires particular attention. Financially preparing for divorce will help to make the divorce process easier and less stressful. There are a few things that you can do now to help ensure that things go more smoothly later.

Know Your Assets

It is often the case that one spouse is in charge of paying the bills during the marriage. The other spouse may not have a very good handle on the finances, or even the various accounts that they have. When you prepare for divorce you will need to become more familiar with your assets. In Arizona, with exceptions for gifts and inheritance, property and assets that were acquired during the marriage belong to both parties and are to be divided in an equitable manner in a divorce. Make a list of all of your assets, including your property, such as your marital home.  Identifying financial accounts with the name of the institution and the last four digits of the account is always helpful for later identification as part of the divorce.

Gather Information

You will need to gather important information about all of your various assets and debts. Get a current copy of bank statements from all savings, checking, or money market accounts you may have. This will give you a snapshot of your finances at this point in time. You also need to review copies of credit card and loan statements. If you have a mortgage, you should review the important data including the amount still owed, the amount of equity you have in your home, and the monthly payment amount. You also need to think about pension or retirement accounts.

Learn Details

Understanding your monthly cash flow is just one aspect of your finances. You will need to get more in-depth information in order to ensure a fair divorce settlement. While it is important to know the mortgage information about your home, it is equally necessary to find out the current value of your home. This could make a big difference in the choices you make and the distribution of money during the divorce. You could have your home appraised, but short of that, you could get a pretty good idea of your home’s value by looking at how much money similar homes in your neighborhood have been sold for in recent months.

It is also essential to get detailed information on the pension plans and retirement accounts of both you and your spouse. These will need to be reviewed and spouses may be entitled to some portion of these funds. Finances are one of the most difficult areas to resolve during a divorce. It is helpful to get some early guidance from an experienced divorce attorney to protect your rights.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Financially Preparing for Divorce, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Steven H. Everts at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.