Divorces are complicated, even when two spouses are civil and willing to cooperate with one another. There are several divorce documents that your lawyer will need to help ensure that the division of property and other aspects of the divorce are fair.
Here are 10 documents that your lawyer will need from you during the divorce process.
10 Divorce Documents Your Lawyer Will Need
1. Income-Related Documents
In a divorce, income-related documents are some of the most important, and they include:
- Pay stubs from all employment sources for both you and your spouse.
- Employment contracts
- Tax returns, both state and federal.
- If you or your spouse are self-employed, documents related to your self-reported income as well as business expenses, such as profit and loss statements, bank statements, gross receipts, canceled checks, general ledger, and balance sheets.
- Documents related to any business you or your spouse had an interest in.
- Documents used to secure loans, such as financial statements.
- Documents related to other sources of income such as rental income, disability benefits, unemployment benefits, social security income, investment income, bonuses, etc.
- Any other documents establishing your net worth, your spouse’s net worth, or your joint net worth.
2. Real Estate Documents
If you and your spouse own any real estate, jointly or separately, you will need to gather several documents related to these properties, such as:
- Mortgage statements related to any real estate you own jointly or separately.
- Refinance documents (if applicable).
- Closing statements.
- Legal descriptions of property owned jointly or individually.
- Tax assessor’s statements.
- Recent appraisals (if any).
3. Joint and Individual Financial Accounts
Most married couples have joint financial accounts, but you may also have personal bank accounts. Documents related to any of these accounts will play an important role in establishing income, assets, and debts.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Bank statements for all joint bank accounts.
- Bank statements for all individual bank accounts.
- Investment account statements, both individual and jointly held.
- Savings certificates and passbooks for accounts held individually or jointly.
If you or your spouse has safe deposit boxes, gather an inventory list for your lawyer. An inventory list may also be required if you have an in-home safe.
4. Insurance Documents
Insurance accounts may be considered when dividing marital property. If you and/or your spouse have insurance policies, gather documents related to your accounts, including:
- Life insurance
- Homeowner’s insurance
- Health insurance
- Car insurance
- Documents indicating loans against any policies or cash balances will also be needed (if applicable).
5. Retirement and Pension Fund Documents
Retirement accounts are often considered marital property. Gather any documents related to retirement savings accounts or pension funds, such as statements for:
- 401(k) plans
- Mutual funds
- Other retirement accounts
6. Written Agreements
If you and your spouse have entered into any written agreements regarding your assets, debts, or spousal support such as a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, you will need to provide a copy to your lawyer.
7. Documents Related to Debts
Marital debts are just as important as income and assets in a divorce. Your lawyer will likely need copies of:
- Credit card bills
- Medical bills
- Auto loans
- Student loans
- Personal loans
- Tax bills
This includes debts in your name, your spouse’s name, and jointly owned debt. Your lawyer will need to know:
- The names of debtors/creditors
- Dates the debts were incurred
- Total debt amounts
- Unpaid balances
In a divorce, debts are divided just like assets are divided. It’s important to make sure that you have accurate documentation of all debts, so they can be split fairly.
8. Documents Related to Personal Property
Gather all documents related to valuable personal property, such as:
- Boats and jet skis
For any watercraft or motor vehicles, you will need several documents:
- Contracts or purchase orders
- Lease agreements
- Loan applications, etc.
9. Estate Planning Documents
Any and all estate planning documents, whether prepared by you or your spouse, will be needed, including:
- Wills and living wills
- Trust agreements
- Powers of attorney
- Advance healthcare directives
- You may want to revoke some of these documents, such as powers of attorney, during the divorce. Your lawyer can help with this process.
10. Medical Records
Copies of medical records may be needed if you or your spouse has a medical condition that limits employment. Your lawyer may need you to gather documents related to:
- Evaluation reports
- Treating physicians
- Psychiatric or psychological treatments
- Any documentation that supports your or your spouse’s inability to work will be helpful and might be key in obtaining spousal support or a fair share of assets.
These are just some of the many divorce documents your lawyer may need throughout the proceedings. Your lawyer will work closely with you and explain any other documents that may be needed. If you’re unsure of how to obtain some of these documents, your lawyer may be able to point you in the right direction. Reach out today to schedule a consultation.