Some divorces are a surprise while the end of some marriages is a long time coming. Either way, the divorce process allows you time to clear your head and get your information and assets in order before actually filing any paperwork or appearing before a judge. Here are four ways to get organized before you head to court.
1. Answer the Important Questions
What belongs to you? What belongs to your spouse? What do you own jointly? What debts do you have? What do you owe individually and jointly? What are your sources of income? What are your living expenses? What are your financial and physical assets?
These are critical questions that everyone who is embarking on a divorce must answer. What you may think is a shared debt or asset may actually belong to only you or only your spouse. Divorce law can be complicated, but the right divorce attorney will guide you in answering these questions so that they can ensure that your settlement is fair and includes an equitable distribution of liabilities and assets. Certified divorce financial analysts can also help you get your affairs in order in preparation for your meeting with your divorce attorney as you and your spouse prepare to divide your financial lives.
2. Gather Documentation
Accurate financial data in a divorce is crucial. It’s necessary to gather together income tax returns, brokerage statements, employee benefits summaries, pay stubs, joint financial statements, as well as documentation regarding mortgages, joint credit cards, and other investments. At times, one half of the couple may not be forthcoming regarding financial matters and it may be difficult to locate the relevant information. If so, it’s important to discover why these assets are hidden. And to figure out how to pull together all the details needed to create a fair settlement.
Though Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, fault can certainly come into play, especially when infidelity, addiction, abuse, or other unsavory behavior is involved. In situations like this, digital documentation can include gathering text messages, email trails, or social media activity logs to help you get child custody, parenting time, or spousal support to swing in your favor.
3. Keep Notes
Divorce has a nasty habit of taking over your life, whether you’re in the beginning stages or close to settlement. But life will continue on as you deal with this major change and your concerns and questions can get away from you. Keep a designated notebook so that you can write down questions as they come to you – and then write down the answers after you ask the questions of your attorney, financial expert, or therapist, whichever the case may be. This should be where you also keep relevant paperwork that you need to review or reference throughout your divorce.
4. Be Patient
There is no rush to make your divorce happen. All right, maybe it feels like your divorce can’t happen soon enough, but to make the best decisions it pays to take time to do your homework, gather information, and meet with your crew of experts before making major decisions about your divorce settlement. The choices you make at this juncture will affect the rest of your life. Contact Femminineo Attorneys in Mt. Clemens, MI, to schedule your free initial interview.