Couples in upper-income tax brackets may live comfortably, but they soon realize there is less to go around when the family’s earnings go towards two residences. Moreover, there are other financial concerns about their post-divorce future, perhaps involving retirement plans. These fears are enough to keep a person up at night, but they can take action.
Before your initial consultation with a family law attorney, it is best to get a detailed overview of the family’s financial status. Spouses can do this by systematically collecting all necessary information.
Breaking it down
A spouse can use these categories when organizing their financial information:
- Assets: These include the marital home (find the deed), other property, and large assets like cars, boats, collections and inventory of household items. There are also likely separate assets like an inheritance and assets owned before the marriage and not financially supported or impacted by marriage. Include a business or other asset that is less clearly defined as community property or separate property.
- Liabilities: These include credit card balances, mortgages, home equity lines of credit and other loans, as well as liens, lease payments and household expenses.
- Financial documents: These include tax information and pay stubs, financial statements (individual and joint accounts), stock portfolio, retirement accounts, employee benefits, life insurance, etc.
Include anything else of value even if it doesn’t neatly fit into any of the above categories.
It pays to prepare
There are no guaranteed outcomes when filing for divorce, but an experienced, Board-certified Family Law expert attorney can often provide insightful analysis during the initial consultation. The picture becomes significantly clearer, however, when the client provides the important financial information listed above.