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Whether an Illinoisan has begun a divorce or is merely thinking about it, the process can be intimidating. That is normal. The process is unfamiliar, while the stakes are life-altering, from alimony to child custody to property division. Add to that mix the emotions that are almost certainly running high, and it is no wonder Illinoisans are nervous. But, those nerves can be alleviated through preparation. To learn more about how to prepare for the property division portion of the divorce, keep reading.

Proper preparation for property division begins with legwork. To know what a fair division of assets might look like, Illinoisans must first know what assets they pose. Then, they need proof of those assets at the ready.

The best way to do that is by gathering key legal and financial documents as early in the process as possible. Doing so gives a person’s lawyers and other professionals a chance to pour over the documents and investigate whether any more assets may be lurking.

What documents should a person collect? Essentially, as many as they can. But, certain documents are more useful than others. Certainly any bank account records, such as checking and savings accounts, will be helpful. So are investment and retirement account records, such as for stocks, bonds, funds and retirement benefits, like an IRA, 401(k) or pension. Information on vehicles is good too, information like the title, loan documents and so on. If one or both spouses has a business, records on those business assets may become essential as well.

Nonetheless, while the list above offers a solid starting point, each Illinoisan’s situation is different. To learn more about what is important for their situation, Illinoisans may benefit from speaking with an experienced divorce attorney.

Source: FindLaw.com, “Checklist: Issues To Discuss With Your Divorce Attorney,” accessed on Nov. 15, 2015