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Help yourself by identifying assets before divorce

With any divorce, it is important to know what your assets are before you file. The reasons for this are numerous, but the most important reason to identify your assets is the potential for them to suddenly "disappear."

When spouses feel threatened or are angry about a potential divorce, they could hide assets or drain accounts. This is unacceptable behavior, but if you have no record of your assets to go by, there is little the court can do.

What should you do to protect yourself during divorce?

First, before you suggest divorce to your spouse, identify your assets. Print credit scores and bank account information. Identify savings accounts, stocks and other agreements. The more you can find, the better.

After you do this, you can move on to making copies of these documents and sending at least one set to yourself and one to your attorney. Don't ever keep a single copy, since they could go missing.

Once you serve the divorce to the other party, it's possible that passwords and usernames could change, that your bank account could be emptied or that other problems with your assets could emerge. Do your best to plan for this ahead of time, so you can show what was present the day (or few days before) you served the documents.

Judges don't look kindly on spouses who hide assets, and having good documentation of what you own together is a major step toward learning if your spouse is being honest or not. This can be extremely beneficial when you are trying to fight for assets.

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