Getting records together for your new divorce solicitor or mediator is a first step in the divorce process.
Sometimes one’s financial state seems to be a jumble of loans and assets and the solicitor will have to get a general idea of the situation.
A financial advisor may be called in to sort out the records and give the solicitors an idea of the assets involved in the case.
Do your part by getting copies of bank statements, loan papers, taxes and whatever else you can lay your hands on to get the ball rolling with your divorce.
Your solicitor or mediator may give you a list of what is needed for your initial encounter. The following information will get you started on what data to bring with you.
The best advice is to bring everything to your first meeting with your divorce lawyer including:
- Financial records include taxes paid, both personal and business.
- All loans, including student ones are needed. Did either set of parents loan money for example, as a house down payment or for a credit card bill?
- The amount of your rent or mortgage (plus balance owed on the mortgage).
- Do either of you pay anything for children from previous relationships?
- List all bank accounts/investments/pension plans with their account numbers and balances. Do either of you have any automatic deductions withdrawn from pay checks? Jot down any stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. Do either of your work places contribute to investments or retirement plans?
- Could there be an off shore account or does some money appear to be missing?
Next, think about some other assets that you have either jointly or individually. List assets with approximate net worth:
- Vehicles with model and year
- Value of property including marital home. Mention any bolt holes and holiday homes, including timeshares
- Art and any big ticket items
Jewellery and gifts may be exempt from this list, but check with your solicitor.
The next part is for giving background information to the various divorce professionals and may be helpful in considering shared care, and in determining maintenance. Our custody evaluator also wanted a copy of this report and I may have gotten physical custody partially as a result. A Cafcass officer may ask for it too.
- Write up the history of your marriage with the highlights. Was there any type of abuse? Do the spouses or children have any chronic illnesses, drug or alcohol usage, or a police record?
- Did either spouse have affairs? Was there any neglect?
- Is a child a special needs one, who requires much specialized care?
- Is anyone in ongoing therapy?
- What is both of your recent work histories? Did one spouse leave a lucrative career to stay home to raise the kids? That spouse may need training/education to get back in the workforce.
Think about what expenses you and the children have which may affect maintenance and child support payments. This list also indicates your standard of living or life style, so be sure to include travelling and personal upkeep costs.
- List children’s expenses such as tuition, tutoring, activities, sports, camps, class trips, clothing and general expenditures.
- What do you spend on weekly groceries, eating out, entertainment and various activities?
- List all memberships, club or organization fees, charity donations, subscriptions and any incidentals.
- List payments for utilities, internet, phone, TV and routine bills.
- Do you have any job expenses such as transportation, uniforms or anything else?
The point is to mention all expenses and to have your solicitor understand your complete financial picture. The marital history can affect the distribution of assets or visitation schedule, particularly if abuse was present.
Wendi Schuller is a nurse, hypnotherapist and is certified in Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP).
Her most recent book is The Global Guide to Divorce and she has over 200 published articles.
She is a guest on radio programs in the US and UK. Her website is globalguidetodivorce.com.