Michael Sherman at Alabama Family Law Blog is continuing his series of posts on Preparing for Divorce:

We are on Step 2 in our series regarding preparing for divorce.  Step 2 involves making an accounting of the family finances.  This includes determining what you own.

For some, that may be easy.  If you have a good handle on the family finances, then you are a step ahead.  If not, then it is time to do your homework.

Many of the assets of the marriage will be obvious – the home in which you reside, financial accounts, vehicles, recreational vehicles, etc.  Others may not be so obvious – these include things like artwork, bearer bonds, a spouses deferred compensation, proceeds from a pending lawsuit, etc.

Then there is the possibility that your spouse is hiding assets (this is more likely if they are the ones initiating the divorce or if divorce has been discussed previously).

Review all possible assets.  Attempt to gather documentation regardign each one including present value, where possible.  Especially look for any recent appraisals of real estate.

If your lawyer is charging you hourly, then any of this information that you are able to gather should save you a lot of money.  If there are documents you are not able to obtain, your lawyer may have to get them through the discovery process.

SOURCE: Alabama Family Law Blog