Need A Divorce Planning Checklist?
How you manage your divorce will significantly impact the rest of your future. So, building the right team of experts to support you through the process and to help ensure your protection is essential. Not only is it important to have a professional support system, it’s also important to have personal support.
Here is a list of professional team members: divorce attorney, mediator, accountant, financial planner, appraiser of assets including personal property and real estate, psychologist, therapist/counselor and trusted family and friends. Now that you have your team put together, follow this checklist.
- Consult a marital and family law attorney in your state. Do not rely on counseling from your real estate attorney, an attorney from another state or the Internet. If children are involved, ask about state child-support guidelines.
- An estate-planning attorney can help revise your will, change medical directive and powers of attorney, update beneficiary designations and review the rules of trusts.
- Personal therapy for yourself and children, if involved, is suggested. Be sure to create a parenting plan.
- Discuss with your financial professional if you should consider a part-time job or request a promotion. In some cases, it’s even best to be unemployed.
- Discuss with your attorney changing or closing bank accounts or credit cards.
- Obtain tax returns (ideally the last three years).
- Explore the tax impact of critical choices, such as alimony, spousal support, selling your home or liquidating 401(k) plans or stocks.
Cleaning Out the Closet…
Assemble the following important documents:
- Bank and brokerage statements, 401(k) plans and IRAs, insurance policies, mortgages and promissory notes, property titles.
- List of assets and liabilities—value assets, determine community and separate assets, , identify liabilities.
- Create a budget by reviewing your spending habits and keep in mind your financial and personal changes.
- Get a health insurance quote if your current coverage is under your spouse’s policy.
- Obtain your credit report and monitor credit card activity.
- Change passwords on computers, cell phones and Internet accounts.
- Think carefully about copying or taking possession of contents of hard drives and removable storage drives. Your spouse might do the same.
- Have a business evaluation completed if either you or your spouse own a privately held company.
Bottom line: it's imperative to keep your financial and legal documents in order when going through a divorce. Having a transparent view on your financial health is critical to long-term success, and will help avoid any unwanted debt.
About the Author: Kevin Fernandez is an Agent for New York Life Insurance Company and Registered Representative for NYLIFE Securities LLC (Member FINRA/SIPC), a Licensed Insurance Agency. Fernandez Financial Group LLC is not owned or operated by NYLIFE Securities LLC or its affiliates. Neither New York Life Insurance Company, nor its agents, provides tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax, legal or accounting professional before making any decisions.