When people get a divorce, they have to divide all their financial assets. This process may be easier if people take certain steps with their finances. 

Many people may not realize the extent of their financial assets. Nerd Wallet says that people should look at all their financial records once they decide to get a divorce. These include bank statements, payroll stubs and tax returns. People should also review information about their retirement benefits and investment accounts. All this documentation can help people understand what kind of assets they will need to divide with their spouses. 

Distinguish between marital and separate property

As people look at their finances, they should categorize their assets. Spouses usually need to split marital assets. These may be the funds in a joint checking account or investment accounts in the names of both spouses. However, people may sometimes be able to keep their separate property. Separate property includes the financial assets people brought into the marriage. Establishing which assets fall into which category may make it easier to divide the assets later on. 

Know the date of separation

The date of separation may affect how people divide their assets. According to Policy Genius, the date of separation may be the day that couples file for divorce. It may also be the date that people stop living together. Sometimes courts use this date to decide how to split the assets. All the assets accumulated before the date of separation may be marital, while those acquired afterward may be separate assets. 

As people look over their financial assets, they need to remember that their particular situation may determine how a court divides the assets. The court might consider the length of the marriage and the ability of each spouse to earn income and divide the assets accordingly. However, a full financial inventory can help each spouse understand which assets the court will consider.