If you think a divorce may be in your future, or if you have already been served with divorce paperwork, it is smart to gather important documents that you will need. Keep these documents in a safe place such as a safety deposit box. If you are unable to obtain originals of these important documents that you will need when filing for divorce, keep copies in a safe location.
Income, Assets, and Debts
After you have filed for divorce, you will need to gather documents to show proof of income and assets. Especially if your case involves child support or alimony, which is also known as spousal maintenance. Your marital assets and debt will be subject to division, and financial documents are essential for ensuring that division of marital assets and debt is fair and complete.
- Income: Tax returns and pay stubs are standard ways to prove income. If you are self-employed or are not currently working, bank records are a good place to start.
- Assets: You will need to make a list of all your assets and should gather any documents that are related to those assets such as car titles, deeds, mortgage documents, investment information, and retirement account information. Even if an asset is only titled in your name or your spouse’s name, it is still considered marital property if it was acquired during the marriage.
- Debts: You will also need to gather information regarding marital debt. Many people are unaware of how much debt they actually have. A good place to start when preparing to file for divorce is to obtain a credit report, as well as any credit card statements that you can access.
It is not uncommon for one spouse to manage the bills and finances during a marriage. This can pose challenges when you are trying to account for all marital assets and debts. If you do not have access to these documents, your attorney can request these documents after a complaint for divorce has been filed. Your attorney can also advise you about what additional information and documentation you will need to provide to the court.