Divorce takes a major toll on the marital and separate assets of each person going through the process. Because of this, people can be very focused on maximizing their financial settlement. However, this can be extremely difficult if you do not have the information you need to fight for what you deserve.
If you don't know what is considered marital property or how much money (and debt) is eligible for distribution, you can be at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to negotiating or fighting for a fair portion of your marital estate. In other words, knowledge is powerful in property division, so it is crucial that you arm yourself with information and the following financial documents.
- Bank account numbers and balances
- Tax returns for the past few years
- Credit card statements
- Retirement accounts
- Car payments and other loans that are being paid off
- Recent pay stubs for you and your ex
- Lists of average monthly expenses
- Utility bills
- Insurance policies
- Bills for child care, school and extracurricular activities
These documents can provide a comprehensive look at your marital (and separate) assets. They can also reveal any potential issues with undisclosed assets or missing funds.
Having accurate financial information as you head into divorce is critical. Without it, you could wind up with less than you deserve. You could also learn later that you are on the hook for your ex's debts that you didn't know about.
However, it can be difficult to collect all the pertinent financial documentation you need, particularly if you were not actively managing the finances during your marriage.
Under these circumstances, it can be a good idea to speak with an attorney about where to look and how to collect the financial information you need for the equitable distribution of your property. With legal support and a comprehensive look at your finances, you can be in a good position to negotiate the settlement you deserve.