In an excellent article in U.S. News, Leslie Thompson states that women who worry about their financial future post-divorce need three documents, in particular, to best secure that future: tax returns, lifestyle analysis, and net-worth statement.
Why tax returns?
The tax return has all the information about the couple’s finances, and if the woman has been “in the dark” on certain financial aspects, the tax return will shed light. If the return includes a variety of schedules for businesses and investments, it might be necessary to hire an accountant or certified financial planner to review and see what other supplementary documents would be needed to determine the full extent of a financial portfolio.
What is a lifestyle analysis?
A lifestyle analysis has you sort through all of your monthly expenses and classify them based on the degree of necessity. This serves a two-fold purpose: it allows you to have a minimum budget in case of downsizing, and also gives you a solid number if you are looking for maintenance and trying to maintain the lifestyle you had during the marriage.
Why a net-worth statement?
Net worth is simply your assets, liabilities, and capital. Having it listed will help you understand if you have valuation issues on certain assets or investments, and it will also reveal how much debt you may or may not be carrying. It will give you and your financial advisor a good sense of where you stand, what you would want to take with you in the divorce, and what you might need to worry about moving forward.
Information is power, and these documents are quite powerful in preparing for a successful divorce and a solid financial future.
If you have questions about divorce, contact us – we can help.