If you are considering divorce, these 3 actions are essential for reaching a divorce settlement efficiently and amicably, while keeping you in charge of the outcome.
1. Obtain a copy of your credit report to identify of all debts in either your name or that of your spouse.
- You can simply access http://www.annualcreditreport.com and order a copy from each of the three reporting agencies once per year free of charge.
2. Make a list of all assets that are either in your name or the name of your spouse and identify the corresponding values.
- Include assets that were acquired in either name during the marriage, including bank accounts, investment accounts, approximate fair market value of your home, cash surrender values of life insurance policies, include any businesses (though you need not include a value), jewelry with any appraisals, artwork, antiques, any collections such as baseball cards, coins, etc., and any other personal property of significant value.
- Include assets in either of your names that are potentially exempt from being divided, such as premarital assets, gifts, or inheritances, to help round out the big picture of what you might have available after the divorce.
3. Prepare an expense worksheet identifying each type of household expense and the monthly amount.
- Ideally, create a worksheet in a program like Excel, such as the one here that covers the most relevant household expenses.
- To get started, if your bills are paid online, simply access your online banking to get a list of the bills that are paid each month and the corresponding amounts.
- Review one or 2 years of checking account and credit card statements for utility charges such as phone, internet, gas and electric, water, cell phone, alarm service, and Cable TV.
- If there is a wide fluctuation in monthly expenses for each category or for expenses that are paid periodically over the year, average the expenses over a year and divide by 12 months.
Taking these 3 actions will put you in a position to successfully negotiate a divorce settlement that works for both you and your spouse.
For more information about creating your own spending plan for before and after divorce, feel free to call me at 973-292-9090.