Before filing a divorce, people may ask a variety of questions. Is divorce the best way to move forward? How will you maintain your lifestyle or offer your children the support they need as you move to a single-income household? Preparing for divorce can answer many of these questions, and one way to prepare for divorce is to collect important documentation.
Information about your personal income
Fair division of your possessions often depends on having a full understanding of your financial situation. Especially if your spouse addressed most of the financial tasks in your household, collecting documents about your finances can help you build a divorce strategy based on this information.
Some of these documents might include paycheck stubs, tax returns, financial ledgers documenting cash income, retirement account statements and bank statements. You may also want to collect documents about other benefits received from your employment like insurance or a pension.
Information about your debts
From your mortgage to your credit cards, you may have a variety of debts in your household. These debts are another important aspect of your finances, and collecting mortgage statements, credit card bills and other information can help you identify those debts.
Information about your possessions
Deeds to your property, registration for your vehicles, appraisals of valuable property or information about a family business can all offer insight into you and your spouse’s financial situation. You may also want to create a list of the property you or your spouse owned before the marriage, gifts received by one of you and any inheritance because the court will likely consider these assets nonmarital property.
Information about your regular expenses
What does your household usually spend to support your family’s lifestyle? Documenting your regular expenses — including utility bills, medical expenses, food and clothing — can provide a view of the costs involved with maintaining your family’s current level of comfort. As the National Law Review notes, this may also include the cost of your child’s extracurricular activities and college tuition.
By collecting documents about your household finances and other details, you can create a legal strategy that supports your financial goals from the day you file for divorce.