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Strategies in divorce, part 2: What to do before you file?

Have you come to the ultimate decision that your marriage is beyond repair? Two of the most contentious issues are related to children and property division.

It is important to do some homework about your financial situation before filing for divorce. This is a critical step that many forget about in the emotion of the moment. You need to realize that once you leave the house, it may become more difficult to access information that can be instrumental to the outcome of your case.

If you have not been the family bookkeeper, you need to try to access and copy important documents such as bank statements, stock portfolios and retirement accounts. Take photos of assets, creating lists so nothing is forgotten in the potentially heated battle to come.

After hiring an attorney but before serving divorce paperwork, do the following:

  • Be snoopy. Track your spouse's spending habits. Are there any new credit cards or requests for loans or other types of debt? Review credit reports, loan applications and tax returns for sources of income.
  • Learn all you can about the family finances. If you are not the person in charge of the family finances, find out where the money is coming from and going to.

Figuring out accurate income can be difficult if a spouse is self employed. Expensing various costs to the business may have allowed you to lead a lifestyle that could not be supported by claimed income. In some cases, it becomes necessary to bring in forensic accountants to sort it all out.

The attorneys of Harris Cook, LLP, know how to safeguard your financial future. From our first meeting we provide results-oriented representation. We are pragmatic and can find an approach that protects your interests while accomplishing your goals.

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