Know Your Assets BEFORE You File

Making the decision to get a divorce takes time and is often accompanied by feelings of fear, anger, guilt, defeat, and sadness. This is understandable, but not necessary. If you change your outlook on the experience of divorce, and strive to remain open-hearted and open-minded to the many opportunities that naturally accompany divorce, you can actually use the experience to make the changes you know you need to make to have a more fulfilling life.

When getting a divorce, many of us do not consider that sometimes leaving our marriage can wake us up to what we have needed to do all along. Divorce helps us to take stock of our life, and pushes us to tend to the issues that we have been denying or avoiding because we are either afraid or uninterested in dealing with a particular arena of life (parenting, finances, fitness, career) that we feel less competent in, but that really does need some of our attention.

In as much as divorce is a time of completions, it is also a time of new beginnings, which include creating a new financial picture. Before you begin to allow fear rather than reason to take over, and you begin staging yourself to become the opponent rather than ally in protecting the matrimonial assets from your ex, you should find a chartered accountant whom you and your future ex can trust.

BEFORE you even file for separation or divorce, you and your spouse should get a clear picture of your financial house. Become versed in what the true value is of the matrimonial property you shared by getting realistic appraisals on all the matrimonial property you jointly own, including businesses, trailers, cars, boats, art, and any other assets; oh, and don’t forget the pension plans!

In many marriages, one of the partners is more financially educated and confident, which may cause feelings of fear and suspicion to foster in the less confident party. If this is the case in your situation, take the time to allow the spouse who is in need of some additional financial guidance to get it BEFORE the discussion of division occurs.

If your accountant is not well versed in the potential tax implications of the division of your assets, consult with a professionally trained tax accountant who is confident in advising you.

After you have worked with professionals to determine what your real asset and liability values are, find a qualified divorce coach or mediator to facilitate your next step: how you can best make the decisions of dividing your assets fairly, with the minimal tax implications, and most creativity, to ensure your money stays in your bank accounts and not the lawyers.

The next step to take on your divorce journey is to determine if you and your ex need independent legal counsel; this varies from province to province and state to state. If independent counsel is required, make sure you find two collaborative lawyers who have a history of working well together, and who are happy to advise you, rather than litigate your file.

To learn more about how to care for the kids’ needs in divorce, and to be educated in the needed attitudes and negotiating tools to create the new divorce paradigm, please pick up a copy of my book The New Divorce Paradigm.

Moreah Ragusa is one of North America’s most innovative experts in the area of individual and relationship transformation, uniquely focused on the revealing of personal brilliance. She is an author, psychotherapist, registered family mediator, and relationship counselor specializing in divorce. Moreah is also a respected corporate coach, popular speaker and seminar leader.

She is the author of four books on spiritual transformation: The New Marriage Paradigm: Inspiring the Transformation and Evolution of Committed Relationships; The New Divorce Paradigm: Transitioning Your Relationship with Integrity; Rediscovering Your Authentic Self: Applying A Course in Miracles to Everyday Life; and Our Cosmic Dance, a candid autobiography offered as a teaching model for personal and relationship growth.

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