Divorce: Gathering the Critical Details of Marital Assets and Debts
Recently I reposted a blog article that I wrote in 2013, a practice tip, on how I organize the information that clients give me about the assets and debts of their marriage.
It includes an offer to share the Excel Workbook for our “Financial Information Intake Spreadsheet” and our “Proposed Equitable Distribution Spreadsheet”.
A colleague from Spokane Wa. requested the workbook, and I was happy to comply
That prompted me to review, revise, and streamline the forms and make sure all the links are still working.
Below are links to the pdf. files of the “Husband” and the “Wife” workbooks.
I always keep my client in the left two columns of the proposed distribution and our opponent on the right two columns; thus the need for two workbooks. It should be simple to add a field, “husband or wife?” to the intake so that only one version is needed. Later!
I reiterate the offer to send to any colleague or person the Excel workbook files of these forms. See my e-mail addresses below.
- Save the file as a template. Always change the name of the workbook you are using to something like “equinew.Smith.Trudie. 03.07.2021”.
- Unless you are familiar with Excel, you won’t be able to fill them out yourself. You’ll go nuts trying. That’s why I am here.
The forms below are PDF images so you can decide whether you would like to try the excel workbooks. They are not live “.xlsx” files.
Just e-mail me, and I will send you the Excel files. You can go through the “contact me” portal on my website, www.hunterlawfirm.net , or via my e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org . Or call 304 472-7477.
Equitable Distribution Spreadsheets make an excellent collaborative tool for attorney and client to build a spreadsheet that does two things:
- Creates an itemized list of all assets and debts with totals and subtotal; and
- Creates “a proposed equitable distribution” spreadsheet for mediation or trial.
The “proposed equitable distribution spreadsheet” can be sent to the other party as a settlement offer, or as a disclosure of values and balances and “food for thought”.
And, the “equitable distribution spreadsheet” is an excellent exhibit to include in your “confidential statement to the mediator”. Mediators appreciate the attorney who is prepared to be a partner in the process of achieving a fair compromise.
The advantage of a spreadsheet, as most people should know, is that any change ripples through the entire sheet, changing totals and subtotals throughout the sheet. It is a marvelous tool, especially if linear thinking is “not your thing”.
Here are PDFs of the spreadsheet.
A companion to these spreadsheets is a letter and checklist I give to clients in order to help them gather the information needed to complete our worksheet and comply with our financial disclosures and discovery requests. In short, it is a tool to be better prepared than other lawyers.
Be prepared to spend 2-3 hours in this critical meeting with your client. You will be glad you did!
I also give to my client a “worksheet” that prompts them to fill in the assets and debts in detail:
At the commencement of every new case, I require my clients to read and sign what I call my “Thank You For Hiring Me Letter”. It reminds them, among other things, not to post anything related to their case on social media and becomes part of our service contract:
These forms should help the best “people lawyer” also be a good “numbers and detail lawyer”.
I hope this article helps to improve the practice of family law in WV.
This post was written by Burton Hunter