When a couple is able to come to a mutual agreement on the legal issues that will govern their relationship after separation, protracted disputes in court can be avoided and both parties save time, expense and stress. But in order to arrive at a fair agreement, full and honest disclosure of financial information is vital. Our post this week examines the types of financial documents that can help you gain a clear picture of your family’s financial situation before settling the terms of a separation agreement.
Key Financial Information
Family finances range from simple to complex, but at a minimum, separating parties can start with exchanging the following types of financial documents:
- Bank statements – Get the most recent copies from all known accounts, joint and separate.
- Loan documents – Whether from credit cards, car leases or other types of loans, this information is necessary for dividing family debt.
- Investment statements – These may include accounts for RRSPs, RESPs, bonds, equities, pensions or other types of investments.
- Tax returns – Gather filings from at least the last three years.
- Property and assets – If possible, gain a written assessment on the value of real estate and other assets that you and your spouse own.
- Income – Obtain statements of earnings by employment or records that reflect high and low pay periods if overall income includes seasonal, self-employment, commissions or other variable income sources.
Gather the documents and make copies. If you choose to use collaborative divorce as a dispute resolution method, a financial advisor may form part of your professional team and can help you work out a division of family property and debt that is fair to both parties. The lawyers a Peterson Stark Scott are also ready to help you analyze your family’s financial profile in light of your legal rights.