Documents to Prepare for Your Divorce

Divorce can be a very stressful time in one’s life. And although you may experience a wide array of emotions, it’s important to remain focused on the process, especially at the beginning. If you fail to provide essential items, it could affect your financial future.

One of the ways that you can take control of the situation is to know what documents you need and have them ready from the start. Having everything documented is critical when proving a claim in court or with a mediator.

It will help the process move smoothly and could help save money on legal fees since you have everything that your attorney will need. But how do you know what you need to provide? This article will discuss the most important documents to provide to your divorce attorney.

Income Documents

Income documents are essential to the process. The courts will use each spouse’s financial and employment status to determine alimony, child support, and property division. Therefore, make sure to include income from all sources.

These documents should establish the net worth of both spouses. Here are the documents that you should provide:

  • Pay stubs for both spouses from all employment sources for the past year. If you are self-employed, you should provide tax returns as well as all business documents related to self-employment income. You should include documentation from the past three years from any businesses either spouse held an interest in.
  • If either of you are self-employed, you should also provide documentation of business expenses. This can include bank statements, receipts, check registers, financial statements, and income statements.
  • Copies of individual or joint state and federal tax returns for the past three to five years.
  • If either works for cash, you should provide check ledgers showing expenses paid during your marriage.
  • Financial statements that either spouse prepared to secure loans or any other reason.

Real Estate Documents

Real estate is a significant asset in a divorce case. All real estate purchased during your marriage is considered marital property. And even if you owned a property before you were married, if marital funds were used in any way on that property, it could also be considered marital property.

Documents you should provide include:

  • Documentation showing the legal description of all real estate owned
  • Current mortgage statements on all properties.
  • Documents from when you initially purchased the property.
  • Refinancing documentation (if applicable).
  • Tax assessor’s statements for all properties.

Joint Financial Accounts Documents

Each spouse has to disclose their assets completely, so statements from all accounts, joint and separate, must be provided. If an account was opened, or you made contributions to the account during the marriage, it can be considered marital property.

All of these documents pertain to both joint and separate accounts. Here are some of the documents you may need to provide:

  • Savings passbooks or certificates
  • Three years with of bank statements for all accounts
  • Investment account statements

Life Insurance Documents

Life insurance is considered marital property as well. The courts could divide the cash value or order a change in the beneficiary.

You should provide life insurance documents for policies paid for by you or an employer. Documentation should be provided as follows:

  • Life insurance policy statements on you, your spouse, and your children.
  • Documents on cash balances or loans you have taken out against the policy.

Martial Debt Documents

Both spouses must also disclose any debt accumulated during the marriage. The court will review the debts, decide if they are marital debts, and divide them as they see fit.

You should provide the following:

  • An itemized list of all unsecured debt includes credit cards, loans, and medical bills in either spouse’s name.

Retirement Account Documents

You must also disclose all retirement accounts. If either spouse made contributions to the accounts during the marriage, they are considered marital property.

Submit statements for the following types of accounts:

  • Retirement Funds
  • Pension Funds
  • 401(k) Plans
  • IRAs
  • Mutual Funds

Automobile Documents

Automobiles are also a marital asset and must be disclosed to the court to determine ownership.

These are the documents the court needs on all automobiles:

  • Registration and title for all vehicles, boats, farm equipment, snowmobiles, ATVs, and other vehicles.
  • Statements showing the current debt secured by all vehicles. This can be payment coupons, monthly invoices, or amortization schedules.

Other Documents

While this list encompasses the majority of assets that you should provide documentation on, you may want to provide documentation on things such as:

  • Collectibles
  • Jewelry
  • Intellectual property
  • Co-owned businesses
  • Assets of your children (bank accounts, education savings accounts, etc.)
  • Household furnishings
  • Digital assets
  • Memberships
  • Loyalty point or Frequent Flyer miles

Let Attorney Hunter Fowler Guide You Through Your Divorce

After you have your documents gathered, you can provide paper or digital copies to your divorce attorney, and make sure to keep a copy for yourself. And while this may seem like an extensive list, this is just a starting point. Review all of your assets to ensure you haven’t overlooked anything.

It’s important to have the best legal counsel possible during your divorce. Attorney Hunter Fowler will guide you through the process and work with you through every detail of your divorce to ensure the outcome is what you want for yourself and your family.

Talk to the lawyer who cares. Contact us today.