Don’t Forget This Piece Of Paper!
Be Prepared And Make Sure You Have Your Paperwork In Order
Although a divorce is about severing a couple’s ties, during the process much data will be shared. Depending upon whether the divorce is amicable or contested, this material will be distributed to each party willingly or during formal discovery.
Much of the material requested will deal with financial information that will be used to determine the equitable division of property, as well as the amount of child or spousal support. In addition to providing the data to the other party, you’ll also want to gather your own documents to bolster your case for trial or settlement.
Initially, your attorney or mediator will need some basic information in order to proceed with the filing of or response to the divorce petition. This includes:
- Complete names of both parties
- Each spouse’s birth date
- Each spouse’s Social Security number
- Full address and phone numbers (home, work, cell) of both parties
- The date and county of the marriage
- Information about either spouse’s previous marriage, as well as a certified copy of the divorce decree
- Complete names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, and addresses of all affected children
- The names and addresses of the children’s schools
- Copies of any marital contracts, such as prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
- Information about any previous legal proceedings involving either spouse or their children
- Information about any previous separations, reconciliations or marriage counseling
In addition to personal documents, the following material will be used verify both joint and individual assets. Some of these documents cover jointly owned assets; others cover each individual’s financial holdings.
Personal financial statements, detailing assets and liabilities, outstanding debts, any outstanding judgments.
- Bank statements
- Tax returns (regular and estimated filings) and all associated schedules for the last three years, whether filed jointly, as a single taxpayer or in connection with any business the parties share
- Employment records, including income data (e.g., recent paycheck stubs), commissions, bonuses, company-provided benefits
- Self-employment data, e.g., business records, partnership/LLC etc. documents
- Credit card statements
- Credit and loan applications
- Real estate deeds and mortgage documents
- Real estate/personal property tax data
- Investment and/or brokerage account statements, including stock options and any real estate holdings
- Pension, profit sharing, deferred compensation and retirement plans
- Will, estate, and trust agreements
- Insurance policies: property, life, disability, vehicle
- Vehicle information (tags, title, etc.)
- Memberships, e.g., social/country clubs
- Medical expenses
- Inventory of safe deposit boxes
- Family heirlooms
- Household property inventory
- Personal credit reports
Regardless of whether your divorce goes through a lengthy trial or you and your spouse amicably settle, these documents will help you and your attorney prepare properly.