The Law Offices of
Dawn K. Gull

Providing Family Law Representation In Allegheny And Butler Counties

Dawn K. Gull

Headed for divorce? Here’s where to start gathering up documents

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2021 | Divorce |

The U.S.’s current divorce rate continues to hover at around 50%. Many divorce attorneys and financial planners often see what happens when a wife who has let her spouse handle the family finances gets blindsided by a divorce.

One financial planner recently listed the three documents that women (or men) should gather together when they suspect that their spouse is planning to file for divorce to put themselves in a stronger negotiating position. 

Look for old tax returns

While you may think that you know about everything that your spouse owns, there is a possible chance that you do not. A tax return can provide a treasure trove of information, including how much income your spouse makes, whether the money comes from the primary job and salary that you know about or some additional bonus, commissions or rental income that you don’t. A tax return may also shed light on other bank accounts or properties that your spouse owns that you didn’t know about. 

Can’t find the tax returns? You may find it refreshing to learn that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers you an option for requesting old tax returns, and you can make use of that option. 

Build an inventory of assets and liabilities

You’ll need to start building a statement of your net worth by inventorying your liabilities and assets once you determine that a divorce is imminent.

You may find it helpful to pull your credit report to remind you of any debts that you’ve forgotten. You’ll also want to make sure to include valuable assets such as retirement, investment, savings and checking accounts when documenting your assets. You mustn’t forget to include your collector’s items on this list. You may want to take them and have them appraised if you don’t know their value. 

You should begin a lifestyle analysis

Another document that you’ll want to begin building once you know that you’re facing a divorce is a lifestyle analysis. You’ll want to list both your regularly one-time and recurring expenses in this document. You may want to look at your bank statements to aid you in determining what your costs are each month. 

One document that virtually everyone must submit to the court when filing for divorce is a financial affidavit. The documents mentioned above will help you enumerate your assets, liabilities, expenses and income in the affidavit. An attorney in Wexford can advise you of any additional steps that you may want to take to protect your financial interests here in Pennsylvania.