Know What Your Marriage Is Worth
Divorce and Money
If you want to end your marriage with equality, you must know what assets and debts your partnership has. You may have kept good records all along. In that case, congratulations. You are already managing your divorce. But if you haven’t – if you don’t know what you and your partner share, start preparing for divorce right now by tracking down the information you need to manage your transition. Remember that you have a right as an equal partner to all the information listed below.
Don’t leave the job to anybody else.
- Review all mail and keep a list of return address. Look out for mail from insurance companies, credit card companies, banks and courts. Make photocopies if you can.
- Read any documents you are asked to sign, including tax records.
- NEVER sign any blank form.
- Make copies of what you sign.
- Visit safe-deposit boxes and make a list of the contents.
- Consider renting your own safe-deposit box for storing valuables and important papers.
- Rent a post office box or have a trusted relative or friend receive your personal mail if you are considering divorce but still living with your spouse with access to your mail.
- Make copies of the following and be sure to update as appropriate:
- Bank statements and cancelled checks
- Household expenses
- Brokerage account statements
- Credit cards, statements or applications
- Loan documents and statement
- Tax filings and refunds
- Royalty statements and advances
- Wills and trusts agreements
- Mortgage applications and repayment records
- Insurance policies
- Safe-deposit box information
- Information about your spouse’s income, benefits, pension plans, fringe benefits
- Medical and dental plans
- Information about your or your spouse’s business
- Marriage certificate and any prior divorce certificates
- Children’s schooling and child care costs
- Passports and immigration documents
- Children’s birth certificates
- Children’s after-school activity costs
- Church and charitable donations
- Expense records for leisure activities and vacations
- Clothing expense
- Laundry and cleaning expenses, including household help
- Transportation costs (public transit, car payments, gas, insurance, garaging, maintenance)
- Medical expenses (doctors, dentists, therapists, physical therapy, prescriptions, equipment, eyeglasses)
Keep the originals or copies in a safe place in your home or office, in a safe-deposit box or with a trusted family member.