Filing for divorce requires a lot of work on your end, as a client. Just because you retained an attorney doesn’t mean that he is completely equipped with all the necessary information to represent your case in court. To make it easier on both yourself and your attorney, you should try to collect and compile large amount of documents that you can gather prior to any court proceedings.
A few examples of the types of divorce documents you would want to prepare are personal records, financial documents and property records, business documents and records, and miscellaneous things like photos, letters, cards, videos and the like. All of which should be strictly correlated to you, your family, and anything in particular between you and a family member, be it your spouse or child.
Personal records should pertain to the marriage, relevant citizenship status, and also the children in the marriage, if there are any. What is also important is that you have papers confirming that the court you are filing for divorce has the jurisdiction, which is the legal authority to hear your case based on factors such as subject matter and location. Some examples include birth certificates, immigration and nationalization papers, social security numbers/cards, and any marital documents like a prenuptial agreement that you have with your current spouse.
Financial documents contain the information concerning your and your ex’s income, savings, assets, current and past debts and expenditures that may be an integral part in later court proceedings like child/spousal support, alimony, and division of property agreements which you will inevitably get to. The documents you want to collect and look out for are income tax returns within the last five years, and income earned at work, including bonuses and payroll statements. In addition, retirement plans like 401(k)’s are vital to have ready when you begin your divorce process, as well as real estate deeds, mortgages, leases, loans, credit card statements, bank account information and any everyday expenditures (food, gas, clothes, utilities, etc.).
If you run your own business or run one with your spouse, you should make sure that you have all the tax returns, profit and loss records, financial statements, insurance policies, and agreements that the business is engaged. Also, business credit card statements and bank accounts should not be left out.