Spouses who believe their marriage may be headed toward a divorce may feel concerned about how a separation or divorce may impact them financially. This concern may be felt by people with significant assets and by those struggling with significant debt problems.

Getting a good grasp on one’s financial situation prior to commencing a divorce may offer some insights to couples on how to proceed during their marital split.

A full financial picture

As explained by NerdWallet, before initiating a divorce, spouses may want to take the time to collect all of their financial documents. These may include past tax returns, credit card statements and account information, 401K statements, medical bills, mortgage or automobile loan account details and more.

A full accounting of a family’s monthly income and expenses may also prove useful. When calculating income, bonuses or contract work payments may be important in addition to any regular salary or hourly wages earned.

Debt options for divorcing couples

In addition to assets, a couple’s joint debts must also be split during a divorce. For people with serious debt, Experian indicates that filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy before getting divorced may simplify the divorce by reducing or eliminating the debt that must be addressed during the divorce. Filing bankruptcy as a married couple allows people to take advantage of higher exemption levels, potentially preventing the loss of some assets.

For people considering a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it may make sense to complete a divorce first because this type of bankruptcy plan lasts for a minimum of three years.

An experienced divorce attorney can help you explore the best options for your situation.