If you’ve made the difficult decision to divorce, a number of decisions will eventually have to be made. Your attorney will help guide you through the process, but some of the steps will be up to you. Broken down and take one at a time, the steps will be more manageable and less overwhelming.
One of the first things you should do is to begin gathering information on your assets and debts. This will include marital debts and property as well as those that are solely yours or your spouses.
Assets include more than just your home and bank accounts. Your attorney may advise you on what items to include in your asset inventory. Basically, anything of value should be included, such as:
• Cash, checking and savings accounts
• Stocks, bonds, CDs and mutual funds
• Retirement accounts and pension plans
• Money owed to you or your spouse
• Real estate
• Vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, boats and motor homes
• Household furniture
• Life insurance policies
• Personal property including jewelry, art and collections
• Businesses owned individually or jointly by you or your spouse
Other assets are often overlooked. Depending on your state of residence, some items beyond the obvious might be considered marital property and thus be subject to division, including frequent flyer miles, valuable season tickets for cultural or sports events, stock options, bonuses and accumulated vacation and sick pay, and intellectual property, copyrights and patents.
Your attorney will need documentation of all assets, including deeds to your home and other property, tax returns, wills and trusts, insurance policies, mortgage statements, retirement account statements, and documents related to any business in which you or your spouse have an interest.
Similarly, record all debts for which you and your spouse are responsible. One goal of negotiating a settlement includes assigning debt. Your final settlement agreement will spell out which partner is responsible for which debts. Although creditors can still hold you responsible for any debts your spouse defaults on, having the liability included in the agreement gives you the right to seek restitution from your spouse.
Division of assets, especially when business interests, stock options and retirement plans are involved, can be extremely complicated, and the laws governing property distribution vary from state to state. Trust the guidance of your attorney the financial consultants that may be part of your team to recommend an equitable course of action.
Georgia divorce attorney David McLeod is available to answer your divorce law questions. The McLeod Law Firm, P.C. provides quality legal representation for its clients across North Georgia including Hall County: Clermont, Flowery Branch, Gainesville, Lula, Murrayville, and Oakwood; Banks County: Gillsville, Homer, Maysville, and Commerce; Barrow County: Winder; Dawson County: Dawsonville; Forsyth County: Cumming; Gwinnett County:Buford; White County: Cleveland and Helen; Lumpkin County: Dahlonega; Habersham County: Baldwin, Clarkesville, Cornelia and Demorest; Jackson County: Jefferson, Braselton, Hoschton, Pendergrass and Talmo, GA.