Ending a marriage is one of the most devastating experiences a person can ever face. It’s hard to cope with the emotional stress along with the unknowns over the divorce process.
While some things may be beyond your control, you can take action to help ease the stress and influence the outcome by being as prepared as possible.
Three steps to prepare for divorce
Even before talking to a compassionate and experienced family law attorney, getting organized can reduce anxiety and help you start your next chapter in better financial shape. Take these three actions:
Make a checklist: The first step is taking inventory of all marital and nonmarital assets and liabilities owned by you and your spouse, such as:
- Banking and investment accounts
- Retirement funds
- Real estate holdings
- Mortgage and loan documents
- Credit card statements
- Estate planning documents
- Insurance policies
- Spouse’s paystubs and income
Be sure to make copies or have access to documents to back up your financial situation as it will save time and money later on.
Organize your paperwork: Creating a logical system for these documents can also save time and money. For instance, keeping all homeownership and mortgage paperwork together will help you, your lawyer and other advisors.
Classify your assets: Once you have logged all property and sorted accordingly, it’s beneficial to identify each asset as marital property, which is subject to equitable division in Tennessee, or separate property, which belong only to you or your spouse. Your lawyer can help you determine whether complex assets, such as retirement funds, gifts or inheritance, are deemed separate or marital assets.
Getting comfort through knowledge
Understanding your financial situation may not erase all the pain associated with a divorce. However, being organized will help take much of the anxiety out of the process and help achieve the best possible outcome, guiding you to a positive and secure future.