Everyone should have easy access to items related to finances, the household, and the children. Take some time to gather copies of the documents below as part of your preparedness plan.
❒ Bank and credit card statements/account numbers
❒ Retirement account numbers
❒ Investment account numbers
❒ Loan account numbers
❒ Recent pay stubs, W2’s,or 1099’s
❒ Copy of deeds/mortgage/property title
❒ Employee benefit package info
❒ Wills and/or trusts
❒ Insurance policies
❒ Tax returns from the last 3-5 years
❒ Vehicle registration
❒ Airline frequent flier numbers
❒ Health insurance and identification cards
❒ Birth certificates
❒ Social security cards
❒ Passport/Green card
❒ Medical records
❒ School records
❒ Immunization records
❒ Baptismal/religious records
❒ Credentials (teaching certificate, licenses, etc.)
❒ Pet records
❒ Marriage certificate
❒ Divorce decree
❒ Contact info -- accountants, relatives, good friends, etc.
More from YourTango: Are You Dreading the Holidays This Year?
If you are getting or considering a divorce, there are additional things you can do to be prepared:
❒ Estimate what your need to live for several months, and if possible, begin setting aside that money now
❒ Inform all parties with a financial interest, such as banks, financial professionals and creditors of the probability of the divorce
❒ Obtain a temporary order for spousal and child support if needed
❒Take a household inventory (including pictures) of rooms and items
❒ Put items that are personal and that you want to take with you, such as diplomas and yearbooks, in a safe place (your office, a friends house)
❒ Make a copy of house keys and car keys
❒ Write a background, a picture of your married life including a description of your time and money contributions to the marriage while it’s fresh in your mind
If abuse is part of the picture, your safety is the most important thing. Think about:
❒How to get out of your home safely, and practice ways to get out
❒Three places you could go if you must leave your home
❒People who might help you if you left. Is there someone who might keep a bag for you? Someone who might lend you money or let you stay with them?
❒If you have children, teach them how to dial 911
❒Print out your address book and give it to friends, your boss, or a family member
❒Put together a “Go Bag” and put it somewhere you can get to it quickly. Include, in addition to the important papers in your file, items like:
❒Keys to car, house, and work
❒Extra phone charger
❒Extra prescription eyeglasses, hearing aid, or other vital personal items
❒Pictures, jewelry, anything that means a lot to you
More from YourTango: Five Tips for Surviving the Holidays as a Divorced Parent
Make a few copies of important papers now and tuck them away for safekeeping. If you don’t need them, great! If you do, you’ll be very glad you took the time now.
We started our company SAS because there were many things we wished we had known before, during, and after our own divorces. We know from experience, sometimes you see change coming. Other times it takes you by surprise. Either way, it never hurts to be prepared.