Divorce can be a sad and challenging time. So much so that some Texans want to get it over with as soon as possible. However, speed should never replace thoughtful preparation to ensure you receive your fair share of marital assets.
Besides the emotional stress the process can create, the complexities of dividing marital property aren’t easy. An experienced family law attorney can help guide you through the process, but it’s vital to your future well-being to do some homework on your own.
Discovering and cataloging marital assets
If your spouse has handled the family checkbook and taken care of most or all financial matters during the marriage, you may not know where to look for marital assets and debts. But, with a little digging, you can gather the documentation you need for the following items:
- Banking and investment accounts
- Retirement funds, such as IRAs, pensions and 401(k)s
- Insurance policies
- Wills, trusts and other estate planning documents
- Real estate deeds
- Mortgage and other loan documents
- Credit card statements
- Business ownership papers
- Personal financial statements and balance sheets
- Lists of all marital and nonmarital property
- At least three years of tax returns
It can also help to locate other financial documents, such as prepaid funeral arrangements, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements and long-term care insurance policies.
Organization equals peace of mind
Having this information on hand for your attorney will not only save time and money but help you receive an equitable share of marital property. Your lawyer understands how complex assets, such as retirement accounts and business interests, are divided in the Lone Star State.
It is advisable to do this inventory before speaking to your spouse about divorce. In some cases, unscrupulous partners will attempt to hide or transfer assets or deny that they exist. You will not only protect your future financial health but can take a measure of control over the process.