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Gathering documents prior to division of marital assets

Spouses who are in the early stages of divorce should know that in order to begin the property division process, it is necessary to gain a comprehensive understanding of the full range of marital wealth. It is impossible to reach a fair outcome in the division of marital assets if a spouse is unaware of exactly what those assets may be. While this may sound like common sense, there are many Colorado families in which one partner plays little to no role in managing the family's finances.

The best place to begin is by gathering documentation of the income of both parties. This includes pay stub information, which will show the monthly expenditures on insurance and retirement. If a spouse has an employment contract, that should also be included, as the contents may outline bonus structures or profit sharing plans. Finally, gather copies of recent tax returns in order to check that the all aspects of income have been identified.

Next, collect statements for all active accounts. This includes bank accounts, retirement accounts and investment accounts. Be sure to obtain recent statements that will show the current value of those vehicles. This is an area where caution should be taken that assets are not overlooked -- it is easy to forget about a pension from an old job or a savings account that is not often used.

Finally, spouses should gather documents that lay out the full range of debt held by both parties. This includes debt that may be separate, such as student loans, as well as debt that was taken on as a couple, such as credit cards or lines of credit with banking institutions. Here again, be sure to obtain recent statements in order to get an accurate picture of all outstanding debt.

Armed with this information, Colorado spouses are ready to move forward with the division of marital assets. By working with a divorce attorney, it is possible to take all of this information and structure a negotiation strategy. It may take a degree of time and effort to gather this documentation, but the end result is the peace of mind that comes in the knowledge that no financial stone has been left unturned.

Source: nydailynews.com, "5 easy steps to protect your money in marriage -- and divorce", Pam Friedman, Feb. 4, 2016

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