Men and Women in Transition during a divorce - The Planning Stage
Divorce is not something that is decided in one moment. Instead, there may be months or years of the decline of a marriage. When a divorce becomes inevitable, planning for the transition from married to single can help minimize some of the financial uncertainty and alleviate some stress.
Begin looking for financial documentsYou need to start gathering your financial documents so you can evaluate your assets, liabilities and understand the financial position you*re in. Just the task of gathering papers helps push you out of lethargy. And it doesn*t require any critical thinking. Critical thinking is very difficult when you are filled with emotion knowing that your marriage is now over.
The value of getting organized is immense. You*re preparing yourself for the next stage and helping yourself work through the process and hopefully beginning the healing process. Gathering the documents may take a few months, which is fine. The more information you can find, the better it is for you to analyze your financial position and figure out what you may and may not be able to do.
Where do you look for these financial documents? Some of the information
may be at your fingertips, but some might require sleuthing. Start looking in the obvious places * where you and your spouse keep important papers in the house and in your safe-deposit box, if you have one. But also watch the mail, and be alert to anything from insurance companies, credit-card companies, banks, brokerage firms, and mutual-fund companies. Go to your employer for work-related documents, such as what you currently have in your pension account. Ask your accountant, attorney and financial advisors for copies of any financial information they have, such as prior tax returns or documents on ownership of property.
Where to look for the information?Some of the information may be at your fingertips, but some might require some digging.
1) Start looking in the obvious places * where you and your spouse keep important papers in the house and in your safe-deposit box, if you have one.
2) Watch the mail, and be alert to anything from insurance companies, credit-card companies, banks, brokerage firms, and mutual-fund companies.
3) Go to your employer for work-related documents, such as what you currently have in your pension account.
4) Ask your accountant, attorney and financial advisors for copies of any financial information they have, such as prior tax returns or documents on ownership of property.
What should you look for?Here is a general list of items you should look for when searching for financial documents:
1) Bank Statements
2) Retirement Statements - 401k, IRAs, securities statements
3) Company and military retirement plan statements
4) All documents tied to the marital home such as Deeds, Mortgages, loans against the property, any recent appraisals of the fair market value
5) Insurance policies
6) Automobile and other vehicle titles, purchase agreements, loan associated with the vehicles
7) Trust fund information
8) Business interests - any documents, including financials tied to a business you own or in which you or your spouse are invested
9 Partnership agreements in any business or business venture
10 Stock and mutual fund accounts
11) Last two to three years of your joint tax returns
12) Any liabilities that you or your spouse owe such as credit cards and loans
Educate yourself on your legal rights as they pertain to equitable distribution, support and alimonyMost states are considered *equitable distribution states*. *Equitable* does not necessarily mean *equal*. From the court*s vantage point, what is equitable is based on a number of factors, such as. . .
* how long the marriage lasted
* what each person brought to the marriage
* how much each can or does earn
* who has the responsibility for the children
* how much retraining one spouse may need to reenter the work force
* how much debt has been accumulated and by whom
Division of property, however, is rarely based on whose name is on the deed or whose money was used to purchase the asset. If a previously owned asset gained value during the length of the marriage, that increase in value is considered marital property subject to equitable distribution.