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Getting Divorced Checklist

Not sure where to start? This checklist can help you understand all of your family assets.


General information

  1. Has relevant personal information been gathered?
    • Each spouse's name, date of birth, and Social Security number
    • Names and birth dates of children
    • Date and place of marriage and length of time in present state
    • Information about prior marriages and children
    • Date of separation and grounds for divorce
    • Current occupation of spouses and name/address of employers
    • Education and degrees of each spouse
    • Name, address, and telephone number of attorney
  2. Has financial situation been assessed?
    • Income of each spouse
    • Expenses of each spouse
    • Assets of the spouses (joint and separate)
    • Liabilities of each spouse
    • Employee benefits each spouse is entitled to
    • Life, health, and disability insurance policies owned by each spouse
    • Credit reports

Property settlements

  1. Does prenuptial agreement exist?
  2. Do spouses reside in a community property state?
  3. Have all assets been listed, valued, and classified as joint or separate?
  4. Have the tax bases of all assets been determined?
  5. If assets will be transferred or sold, have tax consequences been calculated and explained to client?
  6. Have loans and other liabilities on the properties (or otherwise) been listed and considered?
  7. Is there a family business?

Alimony and child support

  1. Have tax consequences of classifying support as alimony or child support been reviewed?
  2. Has physical custody of children been determined?
  3. Has legal custody of children been determined?
  4. Have visitation parameters been established for the noncustodial parent?
  5. Will alimony be paid?

Marital home

  1. Will home be transferred to either spouse as part of settlement?
  2. If yes, has cost basis been reviewed for improvements?
  3. Has amount of outstanding mortgage been calculated?
  4. Will the principal residence be sold to a third party?
  5. If yes, has the tax cost (if any) been computed?

Retirement planning

  1. Have retirement plans been listed and interests in retirement plans been reviewed?
  2. Will the divorce decree provide a payout from the plan? If so, will a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) be used?
  3. Should beneficiary designations be changed?
  4. Will any IRS penalties apply?
  5. Can retirement money be rolled over to IRA?

Tax planning

  1. If already divorced, was divorce finalized by year-end?
  2. If still married at year-end, agree to file jointly?
  3. Have joint filing risks been discussed?
  4. Has separate maintenance decree been obtained to permit filing as unmarried or head of household?
  5. Have head of household conditions been met?
  6. Has it been decided which spouse will get dependency exemption?

Other

  1. Should will and trust be changed?
  2. Should insurance policy beneficiaries be changed?
  3. Should banks and other creditors be notified of divorce and signatures changed?
  4. Will either spouse's health insurance plan cover the children post-divorce? Cover spouse?
  5. Has budget been revised to account for changes in income and liabilities?
  6. Does credit need to be repaired or established?

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