Divorce, Debt, and Finances

Tips, Struggles and Successes navigating Divorce, Debt and Finances

Know Your Assets

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Last week we discussed "3 Financial Details You Won't Want to Miss."

To assist you in your information gathering phase, here is a checklist of possible assets you and your soon-to-be ex may have.

While not everything may apply to you and your situation, this should help you get started.

If you are seeking legal help, your attorney will most likely request this information; if you are going it alone, you definitely want to be prepared for negotiation.


Bank Accounts. Do you have separate or joint accounts? It's all up for grabs and needs to be disclosed. You will need this information:

  • Name and address of bank
  • Type of account
  • Account number
  • Current balance
  • Names on the account
  • Date the account was opened

Pension Funds. This is your retirement and is extremely important. These accounts include 401k, 403(b), military retirement, etc. You and your soon-to-be ex may both have pension funds or retirement plans; be sure to collect the below information for both:

  • Name of the plan
  • Contribution made to the plan
  • Any employer matches made to the plan
  • Percent vested in the plan
  • Years until vested
  • Lump sum collectible now
  • Monthly payments collectible now
  • Date monthly payments become available

Stocks, Bonds, IRAs, Mutual Funds. You definitely don't want to miss any of these investments. While the market isn't great today, it may be tomorrow and you don't want to lose any of what may rightfully be yours. Here is the information needed for your investments:

  • Name
  • Number
  • Purchase price
  • Face value
  • Market value
  • Current total

Certificates of Deposit (CDs).  These are often forgotten about, but are great investments. If you have any, the information necessary is below:

  • Face amount
  • Maturity date
  • Location of CD
  • Interest

Life Insurance.  Often overlooked, these policies sometimes have cash value and should be reviewed. Here is what you will need:

  • Name of Insurance company
  • Policy number
  • Face value of the policy or policies
  • Cash value of the policy or policies
  • Name of person insured

Real Estate.  Do you own a home? Rental property? Vacation home? Time share? Whether owned jointly or separately, be sure to gather the information below for each property:

  • Date of purchase
  • Purchase price
  • Amount of down payment
  • Where the down payment came from
  • What the monthly payments are if there is an outstanding loan and the amount of taxes and insurance paid
  • Any current mortgage balances
  • The present fair market value of the property

Vehicles.  Cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, RVs; they all count! Be sure to gather the information below for each one:

  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • License number
  • Fair market value
  • Balanced owed

Household Items.  This is going to be a sticky or gray area. Try not to get too hung up on this stuff unless it has sentimental value. Choose your battles. The best way to approach household items is to make a list of everything. Try to gather the below information:

  • Purchase price of item and sales receipt, if available
  • Estimated garage sale value or fair market value of all household items
  • Whether the item was purchased or received as a gift

Education. This may seem strange, but may become part of your divorce agreement; so, best to be prepared. Did you provide your spouse with an education, or did your spouse provide you with an education? If you worked so your spouse could pursue an education, provide the following information:

  • Dates when spouse was in school
  • What education was received
  • Your yearly salary while your spouse was pursuing an education
  • Yearly salary of your spouse if he/she worked
  • The source and amount of any income earned by you and your spouse

This should cover any and all assets you may have. Having all of the above information on hand will help your attorney prepare (if you are going that route) and ensure you are not missing out on anything that is rightfully yours. No one said divorce would be easy, but being prepared will certainly make things easier in the long run.

Related Posts:

Divorce and Debt, an Introduction to a New Series

Divorce & Debt - Divorced and re-entering the workforce???

5 Smart Financial Moves to Make after Divorce

Suzanne Cramer

Suzanne is a certified credit counselor working in our Ask the Expert forums as a coach and a Social Media Specialist for CareOne. Suzanne writes for our Divorce, Debt and Finances and A Straight Talk on Debt blogs. Ask her questions, share your story or just follow Suzanne on her journey as she discusses dealing with divorce, debt, and finances. Follow Suzanne on Twitter: ADivorcedMom and Ask CareOne where she shares the latest debt industry news and tips to keep your finances in check.

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  • Going through a divorce is certainly financially draining, but it can also cause severe emotional distress.

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