The cost of supporting a family and managing finances can be a challenge in Williamsburg, Poquoson and other communities in the popular Hampton Roads region of Virginia. The high cost of living can put a strain on a family’s budget and lead to conflicts within a marriage. In fact, conflicts among couples over finances rank as the leading causes of couples retaining divorce law firms to end their marriages.
Couples making the decision to end their marriage may need to make changes to the way they handle finances during and after the divorce process to avoid a continuation of their money problems. It takes planning and preparation to make a successful transition into a life with only one income instead of two. Here are some tips for handling finances that can be applied during a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce.
Gather Financial Documents
People contemplating a divorce should not wait until they consult with divorce attorneys to begin gathering financial records to get an overview of what assets they have available to them and what debts they owe. Some of the documents someone should gather include:
- Statements for all joint and individual checking, savings and money market accounts.
- Statements for all retirement accounts.
- Statements for all investment and brokerage accounts.
- Statements for all credit cards.
- Pay stubs for at least the past six months.
- Deeds, titles and other ownership documents for all assets purchased or acquired during the marriage.
- Deeds, titles and ownership documents for all assets acquired prior to the marriage or during the marriage as gifts from third parties or inheritances.
- State and federal income tax returns for the three-year period preceding the divorce.
- Balance sheets, profit-and-loss statements, and other records pertaining to ownership of a business by either or both spouses.
- Statements of mortgages, auto loans, business loans and other indebtedness acquired by the parties during the marriage.
- Statements of mortgages, auto loans, business loans and other indebtedness brought into the marriage by each of the parties.
A review of the documents provides the information people going through a divorce need to make short- and long-term decisions about handling their finances.