Question: What documents will I need to provide to my divorce attorney during the divorce process?
Before the process begins your attorney will need documents related to the family finances. These will include income tax returns and documents proving other forms of income. Documents related to any marital debt, assets and property valuations. It’s important that you provide a complete and very organized file with all documents to your attorney. This will keep down confusion for the attorney and help make the negotiation stage of the divorce run more smoothly. Plus if you go to court, the more organized and complete your document file is the more support you will have for your case.
I would propose organizing the documents in categories. Below is an example of how you could categorize and organize your documents.INCOME:
- Your paycheck stubs from all sources of employment over the last year. If you are self – employed provide income tax returns and any tax forms or business forms related to self – employed income. This should include documentation from any business you or your spouse held an interest in over the past three years.
- Try to also get your spouse's paycheck stubs for the same period of time. Those check stubs will often show year to date earnings and deductions.
- If either you or your spouse is self-employed, documentation regarding business expenses is necessary. These may include check registers, bank statements, canceled checks, payment receipts, financial statements and profit and loss statements.
- At a minimum, copies of your joint or individual tax returns, both state and federal, for the past three years.
- If you or your spouse work for cash make sure you have copies of check ledgers that will show any expenses paid during the marriage.
- A copy of any financial statements or statements of net worth prepared by you or your spouse for the purpose of securing bank loans or for any other purpose.
- Any other information that you feel will help you establish your net worth, your spouse's net worth, your joint net worth, your income, and your spouse's income.
- Any documents showing the legal description of any real estate owned together or separately. These can be obtained from your mortgage company or bank.
- Your current mortgage statements on the any mortgages you have on real estate p roperty.
- All documents pertaining to the initial purchase of the real estate.
- If the real estate has been refinanced provide all documents pertaining to the refinance.
- Tax assessor’s statement pertaining to any and all real estate.
SAVINGS AND CHECKING ACCOUNTS:
- Savings passbooks and savings certificates of individual or joint accounts held individually or jointly by you and your spouse.
- Any and all bank statements for the past 2 years from any account in your name or held jointly with your spouse.
- Any current life insurance policies on your life, your spouse’s life or on your children whether it is an individual policy or a policy through your employer. You should also provide all statements you have regarding that life insurance policy including any documents indicating a cash balance or loans against them.
- An itemized list of all debts in your name or your spouse’s name.
- A list of any outstanding, unsecured debts including credit cards, medical bills and any other loans.
- A copy of recent statements for pension funds, retirement funds, 401K plans, mutual fund or IRAs.
- Title or registration to all automobiles/boats/ATV’s/snowmobiles, farm equipment or other vehicles owned by you or your spouse individually or jointly.
- Any documents demonstrating the current outstanding secured debt on the automobiles/boats/snowmobiles/ATV’s including payment coupons, amortization schedules or monthly invoices.