If you have decided to pursue divorce, there are lots of things to be done. Some are vital; others are less so. This checklist is designed to help you get organized before you start the process.
- Get a private email address (if you don't have one already).
- Make sure you know your credentials (user ID & password) for all institutions where you conduct financial business.
- Research and interview at least two (and up to four) attorney candidates.
- Choose and retain an attorney before asking for a divorce.
Good to Do
- Set aside cash in an account you control to cover your expenses for the period just after you file. Rely on the advice of your attorney when moving money from a joint account to an individual account.
- Gather information about your family's assets:
- Where accounts are held
- Account balances
- Account numbers
- Account type
- Gather information about your family's liabilities:
- Any person or institution that money is owed to
- Outstanding balances
- Account numbers
- Make a list of any assets or liabilities that you believe exist but can't document.
- Assess whether you need to hire a financial professional like a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA®) to assist with your case.
- Set up your emotional support system (can include starting therapy).
- Decide where you will live during the divorce.
Nice to Do (But Not Vital)
- Research different divorce resolution processes and choose one to use
- Understand the legal process of divorce in your area
- Plan for how you'll tell your spouse you want a divorce
- Gather copies of prior year Tax Returns
- Make a budget
 E.g., banking, credit cards, mortgage, investment accounts, retirement accounts, employer benefits
 You may wish to photocopy or photograph account statements to document assets not held in your name.
 E.g., checking, savings, brokerage, IRA, 401(k), etc.
 E.g., credit cards, mortgage loans, car loans, etc.
 E.g., litigation, collaborative, uncontested
A PDF version of this list is available here.