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Gathering info early on may make divorce less stressful

Dissolving a marriage can be overwhelming, often taking a financial and an emotional toll on those going through the process. Part of the reason for this is that divorce is not predictable. However, information gathering may help with lessening the stress that accompanies the divorce process in Massachusetts.

The most critical move to make when embarking on the divorce process is to gain a detailed understanding of one's finances. This means obtaining specific information prior to initiating a divorce filing. Information on all assets owned and debts owed by both spouses, for example, is critical. Documents that may come in handy include those related to bank accounts, real estate, motor vehicles, bonds, stocks, brokerage accounts and retirement accounts.

Determining the values of various assets can be helpful during divorce negotiations. However, it can be especially useful for tracking where assets are going early on in the divorce. In some situations, spouses decide to divert money to accounts that only they know exist, or they may increase their spending. Having a detailed picture of the finances is paramount for preventing undesired asset sheltering or spending.

Although divorce can certainly be unpredictable in Massachusetts, the informal negotiation process places the power in the hands of the spouses navigating the divorce, rather than in the hands of a judge. After all, the spouses can figure out for themselves how they want to address matters such as asset division and child custody without further court intrusion. If they do end up having to go to divorce trial, where a judge will make these types of important decisions for them, the outcome may not be what they would have wanted.

Source:, "Filing for Divorce?", Feb. 2, 2018

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