The ending of a marriage is never easy, even in the most amicable of situations. Although emotional, it is important to stay logical. Divorce is more than just the end of a relationship; it is also the end of a financial partnership. As such, it is important to take steps to protect your interests and better ensure a smooth transition after you finalize the process.
But what does this mean? How do we protect our interests during this legal process? The following tips can help.
#1: Get valuations
It is important to have a good idea of the worth of all marital assets. This will help to better ensure the asset division portion of the divorce process moves forward in an efficient manner. Include all pieces of real estate, including the family home, as well as vehicles and other assets.
When it comes to certain assets, like business interests, it may be a good idea to get more than one valuation to better ensure an accurate estimate.
#2: Consider retirement
It may seem a world away, or you may hope to transition into retirement in the near future. Either way, it is important to take retirement assets into consideration during the divorce. These assets compound early in our careers and that wealth gets progressively harder to duplicate as we age.
Do not underestimate the value of these assets. It is also important to note that the division of these assets often requires more than just a divorce settlement agreement. The provider may require additional legal documents, like a qualified domestic relations order, before it will split the asset.
#3: Check for hidden assets
Unfortunate, but true. There is the possibility that your soon to be ex attempted to hide assets so that they are not a part of the divorce. Some tips to check for assets include:
- Check for bank transfers. Check to see if there were transfers from joint accounts to a family member, friend or an unknown account. Scrutinize any questionable transaction.
- Search for oversea accounts. It is possible that your future ex may attempt to hide assets in foreign bank accounts.
- Review documents. Look for anything concerning in credit card reports or tax documents. When reviewing tax documents, carefully review areas like itemized deductions or reported interest and dividends for things you may not have accounted for in your list of assets.
- Account for tangible assets. This can include cash, jewelry, valuable artwork and other high value items. Check safe deposit boxes, personal safes, and other locations and make sure you can account for all of these assets.
In some cases, a forensic accountant is advisable.