New Year, Fresh Start: How to Get Affairs In Order for a Divorce in 2022

Emily J. Schmale

Author: Emily J. Schmale

POST DATE: 1.3.22
Ccha  Family Law

The end of the year is a natural time for reflection. Families considering divorce often delay the process until after the season of family and holiday gatherings, opting instead to move forward with their next chapter in the new year. If you are considering a 2022 divorce, completing some planning now can pay off in a more seamless transition in 2022.

Your Marital Estate: Know What you Own and Owe

In Indiana, with few exceptions, each asset and debt held by you and your spouse will be included in your marital estate, which must then be equitably divided in a divorce. Having a good handle on your marital estate can save you significant time and resources once your divorce is moving forward. Identify each asset and debt, its current fair market value, and compile documentation supporting those numbers.

Most Indiana courts require divorcing parties to complete Financial Declarations, which are typically accessible online by county website and are a helpful tool in categorizing your assets. While your counsel can help you complete this form, it can serve as a great starting point to gather your thoughts on your assets even prior to initiating a divorce. Typical categories to consider include:

  • Real estate
  • Automobiles + vehicles
  • Financial accounts (checking, savings, CDs, payable on death accounts, money market, etc.)
  • Pensions & retirement accounts (ie: IRA, 401k, profit sharing, etc.)
  • Stocks, securities and mutual funds
  • Business interests
  • Life insurance
  • Household goods and furnishings

Consider running a credit report as a helpful tool to cross reference all debts you believe are owed by you and your spouse — both individually and collectively. If discrepancies exist between your list and the credit report, they can begin to be addressed.

Ccha january 2021 new year fresh start blog twitter

Once this comprehensive list is complete, you can begin to make note of which spouse should receive which items.

Preparing to Exchange Information

In divorce actions, as with all civil litigation, the parties are entitled to seek relevant information from one another. This is a process called “discovery.” The exchange of discovery is governed by specific fixed deadlines. Therefore, it can be helpful to gather commonly requested documents now, to streamline discovery later.

A good starting point includes:

  • Real estate documents (mortgages, home equity loans, deeds)
  • Vehicle titles and loan papers
  • Estate planning papers (wills, financial and medical powers of attorney, advance medical directives/living wills)
  • State and federal tax returns
  • Insurance documents (medical, dental, vision, life, home, automobile)
  • Pay stubs and other proof of income (SSI, SSD, public assistance, business records)
  • Investment records (stocks, bonds, CDs, account statements)

Make changes...when the time is right?

Having compiled a picture of your marital estate, it may be tempting to begin making changes in anticipation of a divorce. However, Indiana courts typically expect families to maintain the financial status quo in the time leading up to and during a divorce, until agreement or other resolution is reached.

However, this planning time can still be productively used to list what changes you will want to make when the time is right. How will life insurance beneficiary designations be changed? Do you need to create or update a will or a trust? How might retirement strategies change?

Finally, if you have children, begin sketching out a parenting time plan that will serve the best interests of your children and meet your family’s unique needs. Take this planning time to become familiar with the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (“IPTG”). You can see more on changes coming to the IPTG in January 2021 here.

Contact CCHA for Family Law Expertise You Can Trust

No matter what type of divorce you are going through—a simple uncontested divorce or a complicated conflict in which every issue is disputed—it is important to hire an experienced family law attorney to represent your interests and to fight for your rights and those of your children. At CCHA, we have many years of experience helping spouses in central and northwest Indiana strategically navigate through their divorces. The family law attorneys at CCHA will help you navigate the complexities of the divorce process, and will aim to achieve as amicable an outcome as possible.