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Lesson 46: Getting Organized for the Process 

This is designed to give you the tools to turn the “Story of Divorce” into the “Business of Divorce”. 

  • Gathering spending plan (budget) information 
  • Gathering the financial documents that will be required by the court 
  • Compiling the personal information about all members of the family which will be used in many of the court documents. 
  • Identifying the decision points to be made for co-parenting arrangements. 
  • Document questions, wants, don’t wants, and need to review with attorney or mediator 

Our goal in all of this is to simplify the process of getting organized for the divorce process. There are many books written on the subject, but they may just add to the confusion. We will simplify the information gathering for you as court and legal documents can be confusing. 

The tools provided here take care of 90% of the information gathering you will need. Your job is to break it down into smaller pieces and take one bite at a time. As you review your progress, write down the questions as they come up and think of our divorce professional resources you could assign to the task to help you get answers.

1. Organize your financial information: Financial Organizing Tools 

These tools were designed by a Certified Family Mediator and reflect the process in the state of Florida. You should verify that these meet the needs of the state in which you resides and/or in which the divorce is being filed. All of this together will assist you in gathering what you may need for this process. 

  • Financial Organizer Packet
  • Financial Checklist 
  • Data Gatherer 
  • Parenting Planning Discussion Points 
  • Budgeting Worksheet (excel) 

A Brief Explanation of Each: 

Financial Organizer Packet – has all the instructions for using the attached documents. These documents are intended to help the client gather what they need for process. 

Budget Worksheet – an excel spreadsheet which has embedded calculations to help you calculate your budget. 

At least 4 steps to creating the budget 

The budget can be overwhelming, so you want to break it down into steps.

1.) What expenses can you think of off the top of your head? 

Regular monthly expenses like house or rent payment, car payment, etc. 

2.) Other regular bills we pay each month, but don’t have the figures AND can easily research this by looking in the paid bills.

  • check book register
  • credit card statements
  • electric bill
  • phone bill
  • cable/internet
  • credit card bill
  • paycheck deductions (health insurance, amount for you and amount for kids – key for child support calculation)
  • automatic checking account debits, etc. 

3.) Regular NON-monthly bills, like car insurance, auto tags, car maintenance, home maintenance, summer camp for the children, travel vacation to see family, clothing, etc. 

4.) Regular monthly expenses are somewhat more difficult to pin down like:

  • food
  • restaurant meals
  • entertainment
  • household items (soaps, paper products)
  • gas for the car
  • hair appointments
  • make-up
  • personal hygiene

You CAN operate from these ideas when thinking of REVISING the budget. 

Two budget ideas: basic needs vs. lifestyle needs. 

Three budget ideas:

  • must have
  • need to have
  • nice to have. 

Financial checklist is another tool to help you gather what you may need for this process. 

Data Gatherer gathers all of the information needed for all the divorce papers. 

Parenting Planning Discussion Points contains considerations regarding a parenting plan

Actions your client can take: 

Take all 4 of these forms and break them up into doable chunks and begin to fill in the information in each section. You can focus on just one area at a time so that you do not get overwhelmed. And, you can mentally rehearse some of the conversations you may need to have with your spouse to arrive at an understanding of their needs and wants. 

Other financial considerations: 

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) may be required for matters involving a Pension, 

401(k), etc. Alternate payee spouses’ rights expire at the final decree. 

Here are more considerations to discuss with your Attorney: 

  • Access to cash now 
  • Access to credit now 
  • Auto insurance as a single person 
  • Cell phone as a single person 
  • Checking account as a single person 
  • Credit card as a single person 
  • Financing my divorce 
  • Health insurance as a single person 
  • Internet access as a single person 

Things like Medical reimbursement plan, Supplemental Pension, Top Hat plan, or stock options, these are less reported on than a 401(k). These are benefits that have value and may play a role. 

Questions you might have around this that are best answered by a legal or financial professional: 

  • How am I going to get the money for divorce? 
  • How do I get funds if the other person controls all the accounts? 
  • Should I open my own accounts? 
  • Should I change Life Insurance beneficiary to someone other than my spouse? 
  • How can I get the work-related information without asking my spouse? 

©Certified Divorce Coach Program-Divorce Coaching Inc.

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