For many people, the decision to end a marriage is not a sudden one, but one that is made after a period of time where there has been a gradual erosion of a relationship. However, once the decision is made—or even before, if it is one that you are considering—steps should be taken to gather all legal and financial information and documentation needed to ensure that you receive the best possible divorce settlement.
Even if you are the one who is seeking the divorce, you will most likely find yourself navigating through an emotional roller coaster over your decision. As difficult as it may be, try to avoid allowing these emotions to rule your behavior. Seeking out the services of a professional therapist often helps in staying focused, even more so than confiding in family and friends. A therapist is unbiased and can help guide you through working through the feelings you are dealing with about the divorce. What you share with the therapist is also confidential, unlike sharing with a friend who may repeat what you tell him or her and the information gets back to your spouse.
Review Your Assets and Debts
Before the divorce process begins, you should also research the status of any assets and/or property you and your spouse own. Did you have a prenuptial agreement drawn up before you were married? If not, what kind of ownership documentation do you have for any property that you and your spouse have?
Additionally, having documents regarding all assets, as well as any debts that have been incurred, is critical. Start by making a list of all of your joint—as well as separate—financial accounts. This not only includes checking and saving accounts, but also all retirement, pension, and investment accounts. Gather the most recent copies of each account’s statement.
The same is true for marital debts. Make a list of all the outstanding financial obligations you have and gather copies of those recent statements. This debt can include mortgages, credit cards, vehicle loans, personal loans, utility bills, etc.
Collect Previous Tax Documents
Finally, you will want to collect the last three years’ income tax returns, if possible, and any recent pay stubs, W2’s and/or 1099s for you and your spouse.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you are preparing for a divorce, finding an attorney that you feel comfortable and secure with is crucial. Contacting an experienced Will County divorce attorney is the first step. Please call Mevorah Law Offices LLC at 815-726-9200 today to set up your free initial consultation.