The following article is a guest contribution. Nothing contained in said article was intended as legal advice nor should it be construed as legal advice. Cantor Law Group only practices law in Arizona and not California. Nothing contained in their article is intended for those with a California related divorce or family law matter.
Getting your finances in order before your divorce is very important, especially if you have a large number of assets or a lot of debt as a couple. Arizona is a community property state, so everything that was earned during the marriage belongs to both parties, while everything that each partner brought into the marriage remains their sole property.
Each party should hire an attorney to help them through the divorce and protect their interests throughout the divorce process. Some people want to skip hiring a lawyer because it can be expensive, but losing assets that are rightfully yours will cost you way more in the long run than the fees you will pay a lawyer to protect you.
One of the things that family law lawyers spend hours on is called discovery. Discovery is the process of getting all of the financial documents together so that you can look at the total picture of your finances and agree on a division of debts and assets. Get copies of as many financial documents as possible before you separate so that you won’t have to waste time and money getting copies of important financial papers.
The divorce process generally begins with mandatory disclosures. Mandatory disclosures require both parties to produce as many applicable financial documents as possible. Divorce courts require each party to submit a financial affidavit, which includes their living expenses, earnings, liabilities and assets. Many states require each party to submit an affidavit that includes copies of their taxes for the last three years, their two most recent pay stubs and a list of all sources of income.
A listing of insurance costs, daycare costs and other expenses also needs to be included, as well as a list of all outstanding debts. Make sure that all of your assets and debts are taken into account, including retirement accounts, credit card debts, investment properties, houses and more. Any antiques or collectables that you brought into the marriage should also be taken into account when you are listing assets.
Gathering all of the financial information you need can be very overwhelming, especially if you no longer live in the marital home. It is vital that you understand every aspect of your family’s finances before you divorce even if you aren’t normally the one that pays the bills. Your soon-to-be-ex may try to hide assets or debts so they are not included in the divorce. Understanding your total financial picture will make it nearly impossible for your spouse to lie about the specifics of your finances without your knowledge. Your attorney can help you gain access to any information that you are having trouble obtaining during the divorce process.
Article provided by the Arizona Divorce Lawyers at the Cantor Law Group located at 1 E Washington St, Ste 1800 Phoenix, AZ 85004. The Cantor Law Group is an AV rated Family Law Firm can be reached at 602-254-8880 and handles all aspects of Family Law from Divorce to Adoption.