Missouri residents who are planning to file for divorce have a lot of tasks ahead of them. It can be an extremely complicated process to separate a couple’s financial lives, especially if they were married for many years.
If you know that you are facing the end of your marriage, you can begin preparing for property division negotiations. The earlier you start gathering paperwork, the more time you will have to find hidden assets and assess your goals. Many married spouses are in the dark about their finances, and ignorance is a bad position to be in during negotiations.
Determine what you have and what you owe
The first step in preparing for your divorce is to determine what you and your soon-to-be-ex have to divide. Write down all of your assets and debts and determine what is marital property and what is separate property.
Marital property is generally anything that you or your spouse acquired after the date of marriage, although there are exceptions such as inheritances that are kept separate. Since marital property is all that will be divided in your divorce, it is essential that you separate your personal property from the marital property.
It’s not enough just to be aware of the assets and debts. You should also gather copies of recent bank statements, credit card statements and income statements so that you have proof. Evidence of your income and your spouse’s income will also be important to have.
Start building your own credit
Ideally, it’s best to pay off and close all of the joint credit accounts that you have with your spouse. If you and your spouse cannot afford to pay off all of your shared debt, it may have to be divided in the divorce settlement. It’s never too early to start building your own credit, though. You may want to take out a credit card of your own.