Divorce Attorney Scott J. Stadler

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Top 10 Things to Do Before Hiring a Lawyer

A little pre-divorce financial planning can go a long way towards making the divorce itself run more smoothly as well as providing you with additional protection. Doing your own homework can also save you money in legal fees.

  1. Mail
    Review all mail coming into your house. It is important to know the addresses of brokerage houses, insurances companies, credit card issuers, banks, etc.
  2. Change of Address
    Have your mail sent to an address other that the marital home for your privacy and to ensure you receive it. For example, a post office box or home of a close friend or relative. File a change of address notice with the post office.
  3. Bank Account and Brokerage Accounts
    Review all monthly bank statements and brokerage statements and make copies for your records.
  4. Investment and Retirement Portfolio
    Obtain copies of all investment and retirement account statements.
  5. Tax Returns
    Make complete copies of tax returns for the last three years. If you do not have them you can request a transcript of your tax returns from the I.R.S. by completing form 4506.
  6. Safe Deposit Box
    Make a written inventory and review the contents of any safe deposit box. List the contents including cash and jewelry.
  7. Business Interests
    Be familiar with your spouse’s business interests. Become involved and be aware of financial information regarding the business and obtain as much information and documents as you can.
  8. Marital Assets and Debts
    Obtain statements for all assets and liabilities. It is important to determine whether the assets of liabilities were acquired prior to or during the marriage.
  9. Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
    Obtain copies of any documents that you signed with your spouse before and after you got married.
  10. Inheritances
    Keep all inheritance separate from the marital estate. Do not put an inheritance into joint names. Obtain documentation to show the inheritance to you.

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