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Getting Your Finances in Order Before Filing for Divorce

Much of the stress associated with divorce concerns money. From property division to child support to spousal support (alimony), there are many financial issues to resolve. Proactively organizing your financial records ahead of your Michigan divorce can ease some of the pain of divorce.

The process of gathering financial information may itself feel overwhelming, but you can break things down into categories that you can tackle in any order you wish. The main idea is to produce a file that contains information about all or most of these items.

  1. Tax, employment and income-related information you’ll need to gather includes:
    • Proof of income for yours and your spouse’s jobs, including bonuses, incentive pay plans and all other income from any source
    • Federal and state tax returns for the past five years
    • Business tax returns, if a family business is involved
    • Explanation of employee benefits you and your spouse receive
    • Self-employment documents, including financial statements, loan applications and expense reports
  1. Real estate documentation is another category. Your divorce lawyer will need to see, for example:
    • Titles/deeds for your family home and any other residences you own (lake cabins, vacation homes, etc.).
    • Appraisals done on your property within the past three years
    • IRS Form 2119 for any home(s) you sold
    • Copies of most recent mortgage statement(s)
    • Copies of statements for all other loans and lines of credit
    • Ownership documents for any rental properties you own
  1. You’ll need documentation of financial assets owned by you and your spouse or held in the names of minor children. These can include:
    • Statements for checking and savings accounts
    • Insurance policies including life, homeowners, disability and auto
    • Copies of all statements involving investments, whether held in a 401(k) plan or any other type of retirement or non-retirement account
    • All information about debts, such as credit cards, student loans, personal loans and business loans
  1. Personal property information will also need to be organized. This includes:
    • Ownership records of jewelry, antiques, art and collectibles, along with a description of each item and, if you have it, a copy of any insurance schedules that cover these types of items
    • Titles for any vehicles, boats, trailers, motor homes and essentially anything with an engine. It’s also a good idea to include any loan documents/loan payoffs available for these vehicles
    • Other personal items. You do not need to list all furniture and household goods you own, but if some are particularly valuable, assemble the records of their purchase.

All of this property will be relevant to the process of asset division. Once you have these items in hand, you can turn them over to your Michigan divorce lawyer and hopefully reduce some of the time and expense of having your lawyer gather this information for you.

Please call 833-671-4445 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation at Dawson Family Law, PLLC. My office is conveniently located one-half mile south of M-59 (Hall Road) in Sterling Heights.

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  • Sterling Heights Office
    43805 Van Dyke Avenue
    Sterling Heights, Michigan 48314
    Phone: 586-731-7400
    Fax: 586-731-6370
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