Sometimes when two people are married, they each do not realize all of the assets and liabilities that they carry separately and jointly. However, if you are thinking about asking your wife for a divorce, it becomes even more crucial to know where you both stand financially in order to know what a fair divorce settlement would even look like. This is why it’s advisable to start gathering documents and other information, even before actually asking for a divorce.
The first thing to do is to get a sense of what your wife earns annually, and what her other assets are. This means things like investment accounts, checking accounts and savings accounts. Also make sure to look at those assets that you own jointly.
While collecting information related to assets, now is also a good idea to gather the facts on any debts that you may have. When looking at debts, make sure to know the real net value of your home, which would be the value after a mortgage balance and any home equity credit line balances.
When gathering all of this information, go ahead and make photocopies of any important paperwork. Even if you plan on keeping the originals in the case of a divorce, it’s still best to have an extra copy too.
If your spouse knows any of the passwords to things like your online banking, email accounts and social media sites; change those passwords now. If you need to keep the new passwords in a safe place, it’s best to have them written down and locked up in a safe and secure place with the photocopies of all of your important documents.
Lastly, while you may be tempted to go out and make a large purchase around this time, now is not the time. Rather, realize that if you do ask for a divorce and end up living on your own, you will have more bills to be responsible for. Additionally, you could even find yourself needing to take out a loan, so make sure to not be late on any payments that could end up hurting your overall credit score.
In the end, keep in mind that thousands of Missouri residents end up going through a divorce, and the more proactive you are now, the more smoothly the process could end up running.
Source: Huffington Post, “Your Five Best Moves Before You Decide to Divorce,” Brendan Lyle, May 16, 2012