If you are facing divorce, you probably view the upcoming property division phase of the process with a certain amount of dread.

Preparation is key. Here are three tips to help you organize your financial life and approach property division with greater confidence.

Gather your financial documents

As soon as you know divorce is on the horizon, begin gathering your financial records. The basics will include:

  • Income tax returns for the past three years
  • Checking and savings account statements for the past year
  • Retirement account statements for the past year
  • Investment account statements for the past year
  • Credit card statements for the past year
  • Recent pay stubs
  • List of marital assets and debts
  • List of separate assets and debts belonging to you alone

Track your expenses

While you are putting your financial documents together, this is a good time to begin tracking your expenses, such as what you pay for food, clothing, home maintenance, child care, transportation and anything else for which you spend money. This information will also serve you well when you prepare your post-divorce budget.

Avoid making big financial decisions

You and your spouse can continue to use your accounts as you usually do. The court will determine major financial changes during the divorce process.

Look ahead

Refrain from making big financial decisions until the divorce is over. Provide the list of assets and debts and associated financial documents to your attorney, keeping copies for yourself. Becoming well-organized will not only help you manage property division but assist with a more positive outlook as you enter the next chapter of your life.