Even if you and your spouse have decided jointly that you can no longer remain married, you might not expect that they would misrepresent your assets during a divorce. While your spouse might not necessarily do anything illegal it is not uncommon for divorcing partners to fight hard to keep as much as they can from a marital estate and this effort may push the boundaries of what some believe is fair or even ethical.
For this reason, being prepared before you divorce can be important. The more documentation you have with you to prove what is part of your marital estate before you begin your divorce the better for you if your spouse attempts to dispute that. Fidelity Investments recommends that you collect a minimum of five years worth of records. These things should include all tax returns including those for any businesses you or your spouse were involved in, bank and investment accounts, property deeds, mortgage documentation, online account access, estate plans, life insurance policies and more.
In addition, documenting what is in your home with photos can be another important way of tracking assets. When preparing documentation, be sure also to differentiate anything like an inheritance that might be your separate property and outside the scope of the marital estate.
If you would like to learn more about the types of information and documents you will want to have before you embark on a divorce, please feel free to visit the marital estate documentation page of our Pennsylvania family law and divorce website.