On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in divorce on Friday, August 31, 2018.
Sometimes, couples put off divorce when they think they can’t afford it. If the union is a contentious one, that may not always be the best course. Downloading divorce papers from an online site may not be a good choice either, however. Somewhere in the middle is an answer for couples who want a divorce but are worried about the cost.
Money is an issue in any divorce, but being hands-on and getting organized financially can help you save a great deal, according to U.S. News & World Report. Sometimes, however, it is easier to have attorneys track down legal documents, especially if you are unsure what you need.
To start, you need to come to a good understanding of your finances to build a financial affidavit. This document includes your wages, assets, debts and all of your living expenses, including rent, groceries, utilities, groceries, etc. If your spouse handles the financial side of things, now is a good time not only to get your feet wet but dive into all of your financial statements so that you can understand the entire picture. Here are some of the documents you need to gather:
- Life insurance policies
- Three months of pay stubs, all recent
- Bank and credit card statements
- Current 1099 and W-2 forms
- Retirement plans and contributions
You also need to gather loan applications, lease agreements and any deeds, as well as tax returns for the past three years. You may run into some snags trying to collect these documents, such as password-protected accounts or accounts that are only in the name of your spouse. Consult your attorney when this happens, as he or she can and should assist you in what is called the discovery process. It may take a simple phone call or even a letter from your attorney to your spouse’s attorney to resolve any issues.
If you have children together, do not forget to include their food, clothing and shelter in your expenses. Also remember to include valuable collectibles, jewelry and art. For larger items such as cars, homes and some jewelry, you may need to have it appraised. Finally, do not neglect to check your credit report for any outstanding accounts, missed payments or other items you may not know about. It is a good idea to close joint accounts and begin separate checking and savings accounts.
The information in this article is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice.