You could lose your divorce before you get started if you are not well organized.
To lay the foundation for your future, you must think financially – not emotionally. You should start preparing for your Charleston divorce by collecting and organizing your financial documents. You will need personal financial documents for you and your spouse, plus business documents, investment records, appraisals, loan documents, real estate records, inheritance paperwork, and other financial documents.
Below you will find lists of documents and financial records, which you should collect and scan now before you get too deeply involved with your divorce. If you do not collect the records now, they may mysteriously disappear in the process of your Charleston divorce. The risk of “lost” documents is particularly high if you have a contentious relationship with your spouse, high income, valuable assets, and/or a high net worth divorce.
1. Charleston Divorce Financial Declaration Form
The financial starting point for your Charleston divorce should be the South Carolina Financial Declaration Form. This is the basic financial document, which is required in every divorce in Charleston, SC. You should complete a first draft of this document before you meet for the first time with your Charleston divorce attorney.
As you fill in this South Carolina divorce form, you will quickly realize that you must provide a significant amount of information regarding your income, the income of your spouse, assets, debts, and living expenses. To the maximum extent possible, you should search for documents that will support each entry that you make on the SC financial declaration form. However, you should not stop there in organizing the financial documents, which you will need for your Charleston divorce.
2. Charleston Divorce Real Estate Documents
Your Charleston divorce judge will divide your marital property as part of your divorce. Often, the marital home is the most significant asset. In high net worth divorces, a second home on Seabrook Island, residential rental property in West Ashley, or commercial real estate in Goose Creek may also have significant value.
Disputes frequently arise regarding the value of the real estate, how much is owed on the mortgage, and whether the real estate should be sold or retained by one of the parties. In divorce cases where a couple owns more than one residence, the husband and wife will also have to consider the tax implications of selling a marital home or vacation home as part of any divorce settlement.
Regardless of whether you live in Summerville or the Isle of Palms, you should collect the following real estate records in anticipation of your divorce in Charleston County or Dorchester County.
- The deed, purchase closing documents, and appraisal of the property at the time of purchase.
- All documents related to any mortgage or loan for the property, including the most recent statement of the amount owed for each mortgage.
- Each appraisal that has been done for the property, including any valuation calculated by the County Assessor.
- Any document that may establish a “separate” ownership interest for the property, such as through a pre-marital purchase, inheritance, prenuptial agreement, gift, or ownership through a third party, such as a business or real estate partnership.
- All lease, maintenance, income, expense, accounting, insurance, depreciation schedule, and tax documents for any residential or commercial property that has been rented to a third party.
After your Charleston, SC divorce attorney has reviewed these documents with you, you should be prepared to collect more documents for each real estate investment that your spouse or you may have.
Prepare Financially – Not Emotionally – For Your Charleston Divorce.
3. Personal Financial Documents for Your Charleston Divorce
In the process of preparing your SC Financial Declaration Form, you will collect many of your personal financial documents. However, it is likely that you will need more. In working with your divorce lawyer in Charleston, you should organize the following types of personal financial documents.
- Your South Carolina and Federal income tax returns and supporting documents for the last three years.
- Any prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement that you have with your spouse.
- Your statements for each of your joint and individual bank accounts on the date of your wedding and for the last two years.
- Your statements each of your joint and individual credit cards on the date of your wedding and for the last two years.
- Your statements for each investment account that you have had on the date of your wedding and for the last two years.
- Your statements for any retirement account that you may have on the date of your wedding and for the last two years.
- Kelly Blue Book value statement for any vehicle that you may own separately or jointly with your spouse.
- Appraisals for jewelry, boats, art, or other high value assets that you or your spouse may own on the date of your wedding and/or now.
- All documents for any loan which you or your spouse may have now.
- Any financial statement prepared by you or your spouse during the last two years or within one year of your wedding.
- Any loan statement prepared by you or your spouse during the last two years or within one year of your wedding.
- Credit reports for you and your spouse.
- All IRS and other tax lien, notice, or other demand for payment or audit.
- Any personal accounting files (computerized or otherwise) that your accountant or you may have.
- Your health, property, automobile, and life insurance policies.
Your Charleston divorce lawyer may ask you to order missing documents from your bank, financial planner, or another entity. Be sure to allow sufficient time to obtain those documents.
4. Business Financial Documents
You or your spouse may also own one or more businesses. Likewise, you or your spouse may own an interest in a corporation, joint venture, partnership, or limited liability company. Each of these business assets may be subject to division or sale as part of the equitable division of marital property in your Charleston divorce. Your family court judge will have to determine the value of the ownership interest and what portion (if any) of that ownership interest is marital property.
To get a better understanding of what may happen to your business and investments during your divorce, you should consult with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer in Charleston, SC. Your divorce attorney will probably want to see the following records regarding each of your direct and indirect business and investment interests.
- Three years of tax returns.
- Financial statements for the last three years.
- Buy/Sell Agreements for each business.
- Bank statements and cancelled checks.
- Detailed accounting records for the last three years.
Your Charleston divorce lawyer may also request additional business financial records. A business valuation expert will use those documents to determine the value of the business interests that you and your spouse own.
HELP FOR YOU
I am here to protect your rights and save your assets in your Charleston divorce.
As an experienced Charleston divorce lawyer, I can answer your questions about a South Carolina divorce and division of marital property. To speak directly with me, please call me now at 843-631-7117.
Alternatively, please use the contact form to ask me any questions that you may have regarding your Charleston divorce case. I will be quick to respond.
Working together, we will protect your assets and build a better future for you and your children in Awendaw, Charleston, Daniel Island, Goose Creek, Isle of Palms, James Island, Johns Island, Kiawah Island, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Seabrook Island, Sullivan’s Island, Summerville, West Ashley or another Lowcountry community.