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Strategies for successful property division in divorce

Pennsylvania couples who are headed for divorce may be particularly concerned about the status of their financial affairs. Property division can admittedly seem daunting, as a large number of financial statements and documents are required during the process. Still, with more than 800,000 people filing for divorce every year in the U.S., Pennsylvania couples should realize that they are not alone in their marital property concerns. Today, we discuss some important steps each person can take before he or she enters marital property negotiation.

The most important initial step during your divorce is to locate and organize your financial records. You need to account for all account activity during the past three to five years. Be sure that you have extra copies of the documents, and place them in a safe storage facility that is not accessible to your spouse. Financial records are necessary for calculating the overall value of your holdings, and they are also critical for the discovery phase of the divorce. Obtain copies of all records related to bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, car loans, income taxes and any other financial holding as directed by your attorney. Conducting your own thorough investigation into your spouse's financial records may also prove beneficial during property division talks.

After organizing your account information, work with your spouse to set up separate bank accounts. Be sure to close joint bank accounts that might be under both people's names. Some people choose to strike preemptively, dividing half of the value of the joint accounts between the new separate accounts before the divorce is even filed. Having access to liquid assets is critical during the divorce, as your joint accounts will likely be off-limits for cash transfers.

Finally, identify the property you own together and figure out how to divide it fairly. Pennsylvania is an equitable division state, which means that specific rules govern the distribution of property obtained during the marriage. A qualified family attorney can help you understand more about your financial rights, providing you with the guidance you need to succeed during property division talks.

Source: GoBankingRates.com, "How to Perfectly Plan Your Divorce to Protect Your Assets" Amanda Garcia, Jan. 08, 2014

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