Through the divorce process, the assets and debts that have accumulated during the marriage will be divided between the two spouses. The starting point for divorces in Summit County is that all money, assets, and debts will be divided equally (unless the marriage is unusually short in duration). The income previously used to pay the expenses of your household will have to somehow stretch to pay for two. If you and your spouse cannot agree on how to do this, then the court will make the decision based upon the evidence. In order to prepare for the financial aspect of your divorce, it is necessary to identify all of the sources and amounts of income, all of the assets and their value, and all of the debts and their balances.
If you are considering divorce, I encourage you to locate and make a copy of the documents that identify the following before the legal case is filed (and before anyone moves out of the house), as it often becomes more difficult to obtain this documentation later on:
1. Complete federal income tax returns for the past three years with all schedules, W-2s, 1099s.
2. Income (paystubs, direct deposit statements, salary letter, employment contracts) with breakdown of overtime, commissions, and bonuses for the past three years.
3. Cost of daycare.
4. Cost of health insurance, including cost for just the children’s portion of the premium.
5. Real estate deeds, land contracts, options to purchase, leases, timeshares, cost of improvements, balance on mortgage at date of marriage, present mortgage, recent appraisals, financing/refinancing applications.
6. Titles to vehicles, boats, motors, trailers, campers, aircraft, ATVs, personal watercraft, motorcycles.
7. Financial and brokerage account statements for past year.
8. Life insurance policies with proof of cash surrender value, history of loans against the policies, and present beneficiary designation.
9. Health insurance policies, cards, booklets.
10. Pending or settled lawsuits or government claims (workers’ compensation, social security, etc).
11. Trust documents.
12. Notes receivable or loans to others.
13. Stocks, bonds, savings bonds or stock, stock options, other investment vehicles.
14. Most recent statement on all retirement benefits including IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, SEPs, Keoghs, government pensions, employer-provided pensions, as well as loans against them, value at date of marriage.
15. Tax returns and financial statements of all business interests.
16. Itemization of contents of house.
17. All other assets such as judgments, airline miles, gift certificates, deferred compensation, unused vacation or sick pay, etc.
18. Any documentation that your spouse has dissipated assets.
19. Documentation that your spouse has transferred funds or property with a value of $500 or more.
20. Current Social Security statement.
21. Balance on all debts including mortgages, vehicles, credit cards, store accounts, and utilities, including balances owed at date of marriage.
22. Credit card statements on all accounts for past six months.
23. Credit applications.
24. Bankruptcy documentation from any case filed in past seven years.
25. Safe deposit box documentation and entry cards.
26. Prenuptial agreements.
27. Any prior divorce decrees and qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) of either party.