In all challenges in life, preparation is both the key to success and crucial for keeping stress levels at a minimum. Divorce is no different. To eliminate certain complications and remain focused on the end goal, it is crucial that you gather important documentation as soon as possible, or even before you go to family court to file for your divorce.
Here is a quick list of some of the documents that you are going to want handy upfront in your divorce:
- Necessary expenses: How much does your household need to spend each month to stay comfortable and happy? Even if you are not the spouse in charge of finances, you need to get your hands on a copy of necessary expenses, such as utility bills, mortgage payments, credit card account information, and so forth. Do not rely entirely on a soon-to-be ex-spouse to handle this for you; they could make a mistake or, even worse, intentionally give you falsified information.
- Tax information: Divorce courts will be interested in your recent tax histories, especially your tax returns, to make certain no one is hiding finances. If you filed jointly, it will be a breeze to get a copy of your spouse’s tax return, as it will be one and the same as yours. Separate filings could be more difficult to obtain but a family lawyer can provide guidance in this regard if you do not know where to begin.
- Proof of income: Following this trend of financial importance in a divorce, you will want to get physical and digital copies of all proofs of income. Regular paystubs are the obvious go-to proof but do not forget about interest from investments or accounts, money collected from leases on property, and so forth. Be thorough.
- Records of debts: Just as how much money you and your spouse brought in each month is important, so is how much you owed to other people. If you do not get a clear record of debts you shared in your marriage, or that your spouse held alone, you could end up being slammed with an unfair amount of debt at the end of your divorce due to a tilted debt division process.
- Savings accounts: After all your intense collection of other evidence of finances, there is probably still one more place to look: savings and checking accounts. Both shared and separate accounts are important so do not overlook anything.
- Catalogue of expensive property: The most valued pieces of your property are going to be front and center during property division in your divorce. Consider large ticket items and how you can prove sole or joint ownership of them. Important items people often include are real estate, vehicles, heirlooms, expensive appliances and equipment, businesses, and retirement funds.
- Estate plans: One thing of critical importance that many divorcees overlook is their estate plan. Within a well-drafted estate plan, you will find plenty of information about what to do with shared property should a spouse pass away. Now that a divorce is underway, those plans must reviewed by a divorce attorney and altered accordingly.
- Insurance policies: There could be significant issues in your divorce if you are unaware of your own insurance policies. Knowing what insurance you will keep and lose when your divorce is finalized is also important to know upfront.
- Unique perks: Some married couples receive special perks from organizations, clubs, and so forth. While mainly of these perks might seem minimal, a few could actually be worth a decent amount when it comes to property division. Do not count them out. Allow your attorney or a judge to decide if they are worth fighting over.
- Family law agreements: Of course, if you have drafted a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, or any other type of marital document beforehand, get a copy of those for your lawyer as well. Your divorce could be simplified with the provisions and clauses included in such documentation, assuming that they are legally sound.
Ready to start getting ready for your divorce? Schuttler, Greenberg & Mullins, LLC and our Baco Raton divorce attorneys are standing by to assist you. We are led by Board Certified Family Law Attorneys and backed by nearly 80 years of total legal experience. Call (561) 336-6082 or contact us online to set up an initial consultation with our team.