Of course, some people face a divorce suddenly or unexpectedly and they do not have significant time to think through and engage in pre-divorce planning. Other clients, however, spend months or even years contemplating and planning for a divorce and trying to place themselves in the best strategic financial position to ensure that their financial needs are met in an anticipated divorce process.
If you believe that our office can help you with pre-divorce planning, please reach out and schedule a consultation today at (816) 208-8130.
Generally, if you are trying to plan and prepare for a divorce, the more in-depth information you gather, the better the financial plan and strategy that can be created for you and your individual needs. When possible, it is usually best that you put together information and consult with legal counsel before asking for or even discussing your intention to seek a divorce. In many (but not all) situations, if you share your plans for a divorce with a spouse, they may make efforts to hide or block your access to important financial information, making your efforts to prepare for and organize information for an impending divorce that much more difficult.
What Kind of Information Should You Work to Gather?
When in doubt, include the information if it relates to your finances. Generally, the information should cover a three to five year period, but obviously, if there was a significant change in financial status or a large transaction, such as a sale of a business six years ago, it will be helpful to provide and share that information as well. If you have allegations or accusations that your spouse has mismanaged marital funds or financial resources, generally, a longer period of asset information will be necessary if the concerns you want to address date back for a longer period than three to five years.
At a minimum, the information you should try to put together and organize includes the following:
- Real Estate/Real Property Holdings and any mortgage or indebtedness associated with that real estate;
- Personal and business income tax returns with schedules;
- Vehicle information/titles and loans, if any;
- Information regarding any personal loans;
- Checking and savings account statements;
- Credit card statements;
- Retirement account statements and information concerning the accounts (such as plan policies and procedures and QDRO procedures);
- Any asset spreadsheets or list of property/personal property;
- Documents showing or proving ownership of property;
- Details on any pending lawsuits;
- Information on business holdings;
- A list of monthly estimated expenses and income/sources of income received;
- Any child support or spousal maintenance payments you are currently making or receiving;
- Copies of any pre-nuptial agreements or post-nuptial (also known as ante-nuptial) agreements;
- Health insurance and life insurance information;
- Immigration and naturalization paperwork if applicable;
What Will a Pre-Divorce Planning Consultation Look Like?
The primary goal of such a consultation is to answer your questions and ease your fears and worries. People often have questions about custody/child and parenting arrangements and about their financial future. Our goal is to answer all of your questions and give you a path and way forward. Our first step is to assess and ensure we understand your financial information. When you come to your consultation, bring anything you think may be applicable.
We also want to make sure we devote a portion of the time in the consultation to risk management and asset protection. Understanding concerns or weaknesses in your financial picture and how we can try to protect both, your immediate needs, as well as your long-term financial needs will give you the best security and peace of mind possible.
In summary, many clients consult with our office, sometimes multiple times over many years, before they elect to move forward with filing for or seeking a divorce. Having a plan and understanding the process and what information will be necessary is crucial to pursuing the best possible outcome for your case and situation. Please call our office today at (816) 208-8130 if we can consult with you to try to help you plan for the best possible outcome for an expected or upcoming divorce.