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Assessing assets is a good start in divorce preparation

When a marriage breaks down, a spouse may have to face the decision of whether or not to divorce. Once a person makes that decision, there are new decisions that may have to be made, but many people who have decided to divorce may not know where to start.

Missouri law provides a general framework for how many issues may be handled in divorce. Property division may seem on the surface to be an exercise in deciding who gets this item and who gets that one. But, if some property is not considered to be marital property, then the issues can be more complex.

Commentators say that legal counsel and financial professionals can be of assistance when facing divorce. But it is still appropriate for a person to begin gathering paperwork and other items so that an overall sense of assets can not only be determined, but also can be used to facilitate in placing proper values on any marital property.

Among the concepts that many Missouri residents may not think about are the financials that may not intuitively thought of as property issues. For instance, if one or each spouse has a retirement account or plan, including a 401(k), or a pension plan through work, some or the entire retirement plan may be considered marital property. These may be assets that can be considered in a divorce proceeding.

One of the first steps that a person can take is to collect information and documents. Retirement plans are not the only financial consideration. Copies of insurance policies, any mortgage documents, savings and checking account documentation and tax returns are all beneficial in evaluating property issues in divorce. It is also a good idea to get a handle on debts, including any potential business or personal loans and credit card information.

Some people may have other legal documentation, such as a power of attorney or a prenuptial agreement. Amassing all of the information concerning finances may be a good starting point.

Source: Huffington Post, “We're Getting A Divorce, Now What?,” Linda Descano, July 29, 2013

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