Divorce can be an overwhelming and all-consuming experience where emotions run high, particularly if it becomes contentious and when children are involved.

One way to take control to help you achieve the best financial outcome is getting organized before you begin the process.

Three vital steps in preparing for divorce

Besides emotional stress, divorce comes with many complexities over dividing marital assets. For you to receive your fair share, take these steps when you are contemplating ending your marriage:

Take inventory: Complete this step before telling your spouse you want a divorce. Once the subject is broached, some partners may try to conceal or transfer assets that you are entitled to receive. So first, make a checklist of all assets and debts as well as the documentation to back them up, including:

  • Banking and investment accounts
  • Insurance policies
  • Estate planning documents, such as wills or trusts
  • Mortgage and loan documents
  • Real estate deeds
  • Credit card statements
  • Pay stubs for you and your spouse
  • Retirement plan information
  • Comprehensive list of all marital and non-marital property

Organize your documents: Once you’ve located all the documentation detailing you and your spouse’s financial situation, develop a system that groups similar documents so you can quickly access the information and deliver to your attorney or other advisers. For instance, keep all homeownership information together.

Classify your assets: Once you have a comprehensive and organized list, go through each asset and debt and classify it as marital or non-marital. South Carolina is an equitable distribution state, meaning courts will divide marital assets in a “fair” manner, but that doesn’t mean it will be a 50/50 split.

Knowledge is power for reaching a fair conclusion

Taking these steps to protect your future is essential when considering a divorce. An experienced family law attorney can help you sort through the complicated process and put a sound and organized system in place. These actions not only increase your chances for a better outcome but help reduce the anxiety the process can create.