If you are facing or considering a Texas divorce, financial issues are likely one of your top concerns. You may not, however, realize just how deep you will need to dig to ensure that your financial situation accurately represented and documented. Using a financial checklist can help you make better informed financial decisions throughout the divorce process.
Gather Your Financial Documents
Start at the very beginning by compiling your important financial documents together in one place, including:
- Your tax returns for at least the previous three years (along with any other relevant IRS-related documents, instruments, tools, or invoices)
- Your will and any trusts (along with all attachments)
- Invoices and/or current bills from all your marital liabilities, such as your mortgage, credit cards, car loans, personal loans, and anything else
- Current documentation of all of your marital property, which should include your home and any vacation or timeshare properties
- Current documentation of all your vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, RVs, boats, trailers, and mobile homes
- Current documentation of all your cash assets, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, commercial accounts, credit union holdings, IRAs, CDs, pension plans, and any other kind of retirement account
- An accurate representation of your financial portfolio in its entirety
Providing your divorce attorney with this financial documentation will allow him or her to develop an accurate working knowledge of your marital and personal finances and to strategize about how best to protect your financial rights throughout the divorce process and beyond.
Document Your Separate Property
In the State of Texas, the property that you accrue together as a married couple is generally considered marital property, which should be divided in a manner that is considered just and right in the event of a divorce. That property that belonged to you when you entered the marriage and that you kept separate throughout the marriage will generally remain yours alone upon divorce. Things like your inheritance, family heirlooms, and gifts to you alone can also be classified as separate. Establishing that property is separate is an element of your divorce that can become very complicated very quickly – especially in high asset divorces and divorces that involve businesses – and working closely with an experienced divorce attorney is imperative.
Additional Financial Considerations
In addition to the basic financial documentation discussed, you will need to consider the full scope of your finances, which can include extras like the following:
- Insurance policies
- Business inventories
- Debts held by your spouse alone
- Valuable household furnishings, furniture, and fixtures
- Valuable equipment and tools
- Items in a safe deposit box
- Items in a storage facility
- Travel awards
- Burial plots