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Question & Answers with Attorney and Author Juliet Laycoe



Note: This article is written in collaboration with attorney and author Juliet Laycoe. It’s not a topic I typically tackle, though preparation is important if you’re not yet divorced but moving in that direction.  Please note that nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice or a substitute for legal or therapeutic help.


Juliet, why is preparation for divorce important?


Life is unpredictable.  While we cannot prepare for every event or situation, we can prepare for a lot.  Preparation is key in mitigating risk and certain decisions faced in a divorce involve an element of risk. For example, deciding on a financial settlement when you are not fully aware of your finances is risky. Being prepared in a divorce helps you make intelligent and informed decisions about your future. In fact, not being prepared is one of my top three divorce mistakes


Where should someone start with  preparation?


Know what income you receive and what you spend each month. If this seems like a tall order, start by reviewing your bank statements.  Do the same with credit card statements.  Examine all deposits, charges and expenses.


What other financial documents should they collect?


Gather tax returns, retirement and investment statements, property tax and/or home mortgage statements. 


Your attorney will likely ask for these so collect them now and familiarize yourself. You need to know what you owe, own and earn. Studying these documents will help you.


What about a credit report?


Obtain a credit report for yourself. A credit report shows current and past debt obligations associated with your name and social security number.  If you do not recognize any of the creditors or debts listed on your report, you should contact the creditor directly for more information. 


What other financial information should be considered?


Know what type of insurance policies you have in place and what you will no longer have in place after divorce.


Do you have health, dental or vision insurance?  Auto insurance?  Life insurance?  Become familiar with the existing benefits under each plan.  If you have been putting off a specific medical or dental procedure, you may want to get it done before you change coverage. 


 

Juliet, thank you for this informative guide. It'll be helpful for anyone who is not yet divorced but is moving in that direction.

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