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Planning to divorce? Time to get organized

You've decided you want a divorce. You realize it's going to be emotionally taxing but even more so, you realize that it's going to include a lot of paperwork. When it comes to the emotional part, friends, family and possibly a psychologist may be good resources to turn to. And when it comes to the paperwork, turn to your lawyer. He or she can be the guiding light through the process, taking it from a stressful, complicated mess to an organized set of instructions.

Your lawyer will likely tell you what you need in terms of paperwork. To start, it's important to figure out your income. Not just yours, but all sources of income between the two of you. This will play a big role in the calculation of child support payments and alimony. Tax returns are a good resource when it comes to looking for income sources.

Tax returns are also a good place to look for assets. You will need to know what you have in your bank accounts, retirement accounts, and various other types of accounts. You also need to take into consideration your collectibles, real estate, life insurance policies and personal property.

On the flip side of the coin, you need to figure out your liabilities or debts. These can include outstanding loans, such as car loans, mortgages and student loans, as well as credit card bills. Finally, it will be important to calculate your expenses. You will need to not only look at your current levels of spending, but also anticipate future expenses. Realizing that your standard of living may be lower in the future can help a person outline a realistic spending plan.

Getting organized before starting the divorce process in Florida can play a key role in reaching a positive outcome once everything is said and done.

Source: CNBC, “Getting divorced? Get organized first,” Valerie Adelman, Mar. 9, 2014

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