Heading For Divorce: 3 Ways To Ensure Your Finances Are Protected

If you're considering a divorce, you're going to need to make sure that your finances are protected. This is particularly true if your spouse was responsible for the finances during your marriage. You might not have your own copies of the financial documents. That can be a problem during the settlement negotiations when assets and debts are being divided. Before you sit down with your divorce attorney, you need to have copies of the following financial records.

Credit Obligations

If you and your spouse have outstanding loans, including your mortgage, it's important that you have copies of those loan documents. The information should include the original value of the loan, as well as the amount currently left owing. When debts are divided up, copies of credit obligations will help ensure that you aren't left with the obligation to repair the bulk of the marital debt. You should also keep track of your credit obligations to ensure that your spouse doesn't max out credit cards right before the divorce.

Income Tax Returns

If you don't know where your income tax returns are, you need to find them. Those tax forms are the key to understanding the income that was generated during your marriage. If your spouse is refusing to give you access to those records, contact the IRS. Let them know which years you're interested in and they will provide you with transcripts for those tax years. For a complete picture of your finances, you should have copies of at least the last five years tax returns.

Other Tax Documents

You may think that your income taxes are the only tax records you'll need. However, if you own real estate or a business, you'll also need those tax documents. Your real estate tax records will show the current market value of the property you own. The tax records for your business will show the current earnings or losses that your business has experienced over the past year. These records are particularly important if you'll be liquidating property as part of the divorce settlement. If you're not aware of the value of your property or business, you risk being short-changed in the settlement.

Now that you're getting ready to sit down with a divorce attorney, you'll need to make sure you're prepared to protect your financial stability. The information provided above will help ensure that you leave your marriage with your finances secure.