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A comprehensive financial divorce checklist 

Divorce and your Finances

There is no one, nor a correct way to feel when it comes to the end of a marriage. However, it’s imperative that one stays focused and vigilant throughout this process. 

This is purely to protect oneself legally and financially and make sure to keep one’s security. In particular, it’s important, not only right at the end, but throughout one’s life, to keep record of financial documents. 

The best way to stay on top of things and keep control of the situation is to be prepared. It’s a great idea to meet with a divorce attorney to discuss your financial status. 

At that time, it is important to have all the critical documents and paperwork together, in good order, to make explanations and the process a smoother one.  

The court has to have an accurate idea of both the spouses financial situations (preferably before and during the marriage. The documents one provides should be both short and long-term.) 

Usually the standard is at least five years history into the finances of the marriage, although three years may be sufficient for the financial team to create a settlement for shorter terms of marriage.

It makes it much more challenging to get an accurate idea of the marital finances if the spouses do not have the pertinent information. If any relevant information is missing, each spouse could lose their share of significant assets, investments or accounts. 

Divorce attorneys Johannesburg

Financial Documentation

The most commonly requested financial documents are: 

  • Income Tax Returns 
  • Employment Records and income information
    • Proof of earnings
    • Contracts
    • Bonuses, commissions, raises, promotions, expense accounts and benefits; 
  • In cases where a company / closed corporation is owned by one spouse (self-employed), or there is Trust:
    • Copies of business financial statements
    • Net worth of business
  • Financial Records, such as: 
    • Bank statements, monthly
    • Deposit slips
    • Credit card statements
    • Loan information and any application (made in the last five years)
  • Investment Account Statements
  • Pension Fund Information
  • Retirement Savings Account
  • Outstanding debts
  • Children’s Bank Accounts
  • Debt Records
  • Wills and Trust Agreements 
  • Life insurance Policies 
  • Short-term insurance policies
  • An account for any safety deposit boxes 
  • A schedule of assets and liabilities of both spouses (most recent valuations)

Depending on the type of marriage regime one entered into, it may be imperative to state exactly which assets one personally brought into the marriage as individual property. 

List of Assets in the Marriage

List this clearly on a list of assets. An appraisal of all assets is needed, the main assets which require information pertinent to finances include: 

  • Marital home Information
  • Information about other real estate 
    • Any mortgages or loans taken out
    • Lease agreements
    • Personal property tax returns 
  • Vehicle information
  • Personal property 
    •  Jewellery
    • Artwork
    • Collections and
    • Antiques

Monthly Expenses

Of particular importance is the information regarding the monthly expenses incurred by the couple, especially where there are children involved.

The court is duty bound to ensure that the welfare of the children in a divorce is taken care of and expenses in terms of subsistence, education, care and medical and how each parent contributes to covering these, must be laid before the court. 

When it comes to children in divorce, their care depends on financial cooperation of both spouses. It’s important to create a potential plan for childcare at this stage, as well as to plan for their futures. 

Parenting Plan

One should start by creating a list of the parenting items that are most important. Decisions must be made about visitation, custody and insurance expenses, as well as who will claim them (the children) as dependants on their taxes. 

Other information needed about the children includes:

  • Birthdates & Birth Certificates
  • Identity numbers
  • Bank accounts if applicable

Your attorney may also need to take into account other information such as personal documents in order to accurately evaluate the financial situation and come up with an appropriate settlement for all parties. 

This information can include:

  • The date of marriage;
  • Birthdates of both spouses;
  • Social security numbers of both spouses;
  • Information about marriages, including divorce decrees;
  • Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements;
  • Judgements and pleadings involving either spouse; and
  • Insurance policies.

One may also want to pull their credit report so as to make sure they get no nasty surprises in the future and can know about all the debt that is registered in their name.

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated - Divorce Attorney Sandton

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated values the importance of the decisions you make in your life. 

That’s why we are determined to facilitate your understanding of our country’s matrimonial laws and offer services in order to help you every step of the way into the new chapter of your life. 

Please contact us.

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