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Organizing financial documents before divorce

Pennsylvania couples who are considering divorce might want to do some planning and organizing before beginning the process. This can save time, money and the complications of having to gather the documents after the process begins.

Experts suggest that pre-divorce planning should begin with gathering copies of all financial documents and keeping them in a safe place. These documents might include tax returns, information on bank accounts, income information, loan documents, insurance policies, real estate documents, pensions and any other documents related to the person's financial status before and during the marriage. In a high asset divorce, there might be a significant number of documents to acquire that the other spouse might attempt to withhold once the divorce petition has been filed.

Establishing credit and banking accounts in their own name is another thing that experts recommend doing. This is best done in a different financial institution from where the couple has joint accounts. Another important step during financial planning for divorce is learning about credit history and correcting any information that might have been misreported. Part of planning should also include becoming aware of the tax situation for the filing year and how it might change once a divorce is final. Finally, gathering a support system that includes financial professionals is also recommended.

During the preparation period, a person planning a divorce might also choose to speak to a lawyer with family law experience. The lawyer can provide guidance from the beginning, helping the person identify, gather, and organize all the documents needed during the divorce process, and take the lead in negotiating an overall settlement agreement.

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