Reviewing tax documents can help those preparing to divorce

The process of dissolving a marriage can be financially painful and emotionally draining. After all, money and children are often two of the most important issues in many divorce proceedings. A couple of tips may help those going through the divorce process in Massachusetts at the beginning of the year to protect their best interests.

First, it a review of income tax information is important, particularly because end-of-year tax documents are typically available by the end of January. This is a good month to make an inventory of what is owned and what is owed. Gathering supporting documentation can help to verify expenses, income, assets and liabilities.

Sometimes the quantity of debt carried may be shocking. In other circumstances, the total value of one’s assets may be much more than was anticipated. Having a good grasp on the value of marital assets and the extent of any joint debt may help in preparing to negotiate property division and asset distribution.

Mediation or direct negotiations may make it possible for those who have decided to dissolve their marriage to achieve a divorce settlement that is mutually satisfactory without unnecessary intrusion by a Massachusetts family court. However, if the parties cannot find common ground, they may have to litigate their dispute before a judge, a process that is usually both time consuming and costly. The judge will make important financial decisions for the parties based upon the evidence presented to the court. Unfortunately, the outcome may not always be in alignment with the wishes of one or both parties.

Source:, “January: The Month for Divorce“, Kyung (Kathryn) Dickerson, Jan. 13, 2017