You need to know what you and your spouse are worth together and what you’re worth on your own. It sounds like a big job but it comes down to a simple equation: Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities.
It does get a little more complicated. There are three categories of assets:
• Joint Assets
These are accounts and assets you have built together including savings accounts, or a co-owned business.
• Your Assets
These are accounts or assets that you owned before you were married and have been the only contributor to.
• Spouse’s Assets
These are anything your spouse opened or owned before the marriage including assets inherited from family members.
Information You Will Need
Gather your paperwork together, including:
• Tax returns for the past five years
• Proof of your and your spouse’s income
• Copies of all insurance policies including life, health, home and contents and car
• Current statements for all bank and share accounts
• FNPF statements
• Copy of the deed or lease agreement on your home
• Statements on all outstanding loans, including your mortgage and credit cards
• Employer share plans
• Copies of wills and trusts
• Copies of powers of attorney
• Receipts for major purchases
• A copy of your estate plan
• Copies of birth certificates and marriage licenses
Depending on what is being contested, you may also want to keep records for the following:
• A prioritised list of assets you want to keep.
• Your children’s records, including how much time you spend with them, the activities you do together and the expenses associated with their upbringing.
Remember, if you have your finances in order, you won’t have to pay a lawyer to discover this information.