No matter how cordial a couple might have been when making the decision to conclude a marriage, it is not advisable to solely rely on a soon-to-be ex-spouse to provide all relevant financial information. Having only one person responsible for bringing financial documents creates the opportunity for fraud. Before beginning the divorce process, it is a good idea for both spouses to gather all of the necessary information.
If a couple in New York owns a house, all mortgage, purchase information and home equity loan information should be gathered. While one party may want to retain ownership of the residence, refinancing the mortgage is a common requirement -- especially if both individuals are named on a current loan. Having this information handy during property division can help couples determine the fate of the family home.
Information regarding retirement accounts and 401(k)s should also be present during property division. These accounts may carry only one person's name, especially if they were established by employers, but the money set aside for retirement during the course of the marriage was saved for both parties' futures. Retirement money that is actively saved over the course of the marriage is almost always considered to be marital property and is, therefore, subject to division..
Investment portfolios are another important aspect of property division. Stocks, bonds and other investments often get neglected by those preparing for the divorce process, simply because they are not as tangible as a home or a car. Still, they are valuable assets that are subject to division.
By providing all of these financial documents and any other relevant information, New York couples can paint a much clearer picture of what is at stake during property division. In the absence of such information, debts can go unpaid and people can be cut off from important funds to which they should have had access. Prior to beginning negotiations, it is advisable that all parties perform a thorough review of their individual financial histories to ensure that no information is missing.
Source: The Huffington Post, "3 Steps to Prepare for Your Divorce", Adrienne Rothstein Grace, Oct. 22, 2015