Things You Can Do in Preparation of a Divorce

This checklist was created to help you organize your affairs before or during a divorce. Your individual situation will dictate other items which may need to be addressed. We suggest discussing your plans with your “divorce team”: your legal, financial, and tax advisers. The time to get these professionals involved is at the beginning stages of divorce, but it’s never to late to get started. Your financial advisor will be able to help you prioritize your financial goals throughout the divorce process.

Financial Documents and Assets

List account numbers and pertinent information about financial accounts and assets. Label the accounts by ownership: individually owned, jointly owned, and assets acquired prior to marriage.

  • Bank accounts, including checking, savings, and children’s accounts

  • Loan and debt records, including credit cards, student loans and mortgages

  • Investment accounts and stocks, including retirement plans, 529 plans, and UGMA/UTMA accounts

  • Income tax returns, past 3 -5 years

  • Business income tax returns, past 3 – 5 years

  • Proof of current income and your spouse’s current income

  • Employment records and contracts

  • Benefits statements, including pension plan information

  • Estate documents, including wills and trust agreements

  • Social Security statements

  • Bills, including utilities bills, tuition, unreimbursed medical, extracurricular for kids

  • Monthly budget worksheet

  • Insurance information, including health & life insurance and homeowners, umbrella, and auto policies

  • Real estate appraisals

  • Marital home information and other real estate details

  • Vehicle information, including titles and registration

  • Personal property, including jewelry, artwork, collections, and antiques

Child Care Documents and Plans

List parenting items that are most important to you, as well as priorities for the future.

  • Visitation arrangement

  • Custody agreement

  • Insurance expenses

  • Claiming dependents on taxes

  • Education expenses, including private school and college tuition

  • Wedding costs

Other Important Information

List of other details that are important in your life, or your children’s life.

  • Children’s information, including birthday and social security number

  • Marriage date and original certificate

  • Birthdates and social security numbers for both spouses

  • Previous marriage information, including divorce decrees

  • Pre- and post-nuptial agreements

  • Separation agreement

  • Judgements and pleadings involved with either spouse

Pertinent Issues

List any issues or circumstances that influenced your divorce.

  • Extenuating circumstances that led up to divorce, such as adultery, abuse, bullying, substance abuse, and mental illness or instability

  • Documentation and proof of the circumstances

Consider Taking Action Now

You should strongly consider taking action on these items prior to finalizing your divorce.

  • Update life insurance policies

  • Open a bank account in your own name and begin saving for legal fees and other expenses

  • Update or create estate planning documents, including will, power of attorney, and health care proxy

  • Take out a credit card in your own name

  • Obtain a P.O. Box to keep your private documents safe

Take away:

Getting organized and educated about your overall financial life will help you make it to the end of the divorce process efficiently. It will also help you get to an outcome that is most beneficial for you. For more information about how Modera can help get you started, please reach out to our team of advisors. Or contact us at advice@moderawealth.com.

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