We always encourage clients to invest their time in gathering all relevant data regarding all the assets held by the couple and the individual spouses in advance of their consultation with an attorney. This can save the client money and shorten the process. The article below presents an option: an inventory sheet.
Your petition for divorce has been filed. You are in the throes of Texas family law and Texas civil procedure. Your head is spinning and your to-do list is growing. A good law firm will guide you through the divorce process, but be aware that your participation will be required.
One of the many possible participation opportunities for you will be creating an inventory sheet. I say possible because an inventory sheet is not necessarily required. The court may order both parties file separate sworn inventory sheets, your attorney may request you prepare one to organize and document your property or maybe you will never hear inventory sheet in your divorce process. Most, however, will not be that lucky.
So, what is an inventory sheet? Simply put, it is a list of ALL assets and debts claimed by each spouse. This list includes all separate property and separate debt, and all community property and community debt. If you have a question about whether something should be included on the list, the answer is, YES, it should!
Do you have a home? List it. Bank accounts, retirement accounts, vehicles, jewelry, art, antiques, life insurance, businesses, stocks, credit cards accounts, loans, accounts receivables, tax debt, student loan debt and the like all must be listed. Include the last four digits of account numbers, approximate value and amount of money owed, and also notate whether the item is separate or community property.
Along with your list, provide any documentation you have regarding your property and debts, including bank statements, credit card statements, real property deeds, vehicle titles, contracts, receipts, etc.
Paralegal HOT TIP: Want to save on paralegal fees? Redact your own documents. Removing account numbers and social security numbers except for the last four digits can save you money. The more organized and complete your inventory sheet is, the less time a paralegal will have to spend on it, also saving you money.
How should you tackle your inventory sheet? Well, the same way you eat an elephant, one bite at a time! Are you techy and want to use a spreadsheet? Great! Do you prefer to handwrite your list? Good, too! Can you only muster up enough energy to provide documentation without a list? OK, we will work with that.
It is always best to ask the paralegal you are working with what they recommend, but ultimately whatever works best for you to get the information delivered will do. Just remember to take it one bite at a time, make your list, gather your documentation and turn it over for final processing.
Source: Jennifer Lynn Alcock, Hammerle Finley Law Firm