The divorce process can easily exhaust your energy and money if you don’t get prepared well. Any attorney or financial specialist will advise you to gather all the documents needed to file for divorce in advance and keep them ordered to reduce the red tape stress later. While preparing divorce papers you will also have a chance to review your own position in marriage and predict the divorce outcomes.
Deepen your knowledge on the important documents you need when getting ready for a divorce and create your own checklist not to leave any essential points behind.
Table of Contents
Organizing Your Personal Information
Within the divorce process, you ought to provide your personal data multiple times in paper or digital copies. So, instead of running around and crying out loud ‘What do I need to get a divorce?’ you are to extract a paper or two from your neat folder and hand them on to appropriate specialists. No fuss, no stress, no mixed data.
If you aim at such an ordered process, organize your personal papers in one place, categorize and label files and have several copies of each document for easy and fast access later. Consider collecting and storing the subsequent personal information papers:
- Personal basic information;
- Partner’s personal information;
- Your and your partner’s contact information;
- Proof of state residency;
- Your and your partner’s employment information;
- Information about previous marriages, children from previous marriages, and custodial agreements if any;
- Wedding details;
- List of defined divorce reasons if applicable;
- Temporary orders;
- Children’s birth certificates;
- Domestic Partnership Certificate;
- Social Security Statement;
- Separation agreement.
Any other desired or demanded papers can be added here, depending on the situation you are in when finalizing your marriage.
Divorce Document Preparation Checklist
If you predict to be overwhelmed with documents needed to file for divorce but have no idea where and how to start collecting papers so as not to stress out about them later, you can begin with making a document preparation checklist.
The primary step will be to consult your law or financial analyst so that you know what to pay attention to. You might also seek tips on a reliable platform and include them in your checklist.
Overall, you are to sort your documents according to the groups below:
- Property and assets
- Financial documents
- Life insurance
- Marital debts and credits
- Pension funds.
If you manage to organize the mentioned docs, you will free your hands and brain within the divorce process but be ready for any official proceeding or request in the end.
Your income documents along with taxation will be the necessary papers to hand during the divorce. Since they may take several days or weeks to gather them, you will reduce the time and efforts waste if you get ready with the listed papers:
- 3-full months and the latest end-year statements of both you and your partner’s income;
- the recent 5 end-year statements in case you have any extra income sources, such as bonuses, stock options, equity incentives, etc;
- the latest 5 years federal and state tax returns;
- corporate and partnership tax returns in case there are any;
- employment contract.
Providing that you are self-employed, there will be a separate list of income documentation you ought to prepare but a mentioned one.
By reviewing your income documentation, you will grab a chance to predict whether you or your future ex can be assigned to spousal support and pre-calculate the sum with your divorce specialists. Additionally, you will also analyze your upcoming financial situation and work for its improvement without delay. This will help you guarantee your financial security in the nearest future.
Docs Related to Property and Assets
Providing that you wish your property and assets be divided fairly and your personal things not touched, you’d better get armed with appropriate papers here, too. When considered in the divorce process, all your property and assets will be classified as personal and mutual before any divisions are made. So that you need to possess the relevant papers to prove the status of any assets you own the rights for. Review the list of docs you may require:
- Marital Home assessed cost and ownership information;
- Rental property;
- Vacation property;
- Mortgages and credit lines;
- Vehicles information;
- Personal belongings details (jewelry, antiques, art, wine, etc.);
- Inventory list of any valuable things around your household with an estimated value.
If you manage to supplement the fullest enumeration of all the assets and property and don’t hide anything, it will be simpler for the court to divide all the valuable things between you and your spouse according to the law. Mind that in case you hide any property and assets, you will be severely penalized when the truth is revealed.
Financial Documents Needed for Divorce
Financial stability is another point for soon-to-be-divorced to be concerned about. Preparing well your financial documents well, it will be possible to check out your financial situation and work for its improvement so that you are financially independent in the end. These are the financial documents necessary for divorce:
- Relevant statements for all your bank accounts (checking, saving, credit, and other deposit accounts);
- Information about your kids’ accounts if applicable;
- Cash savings;
- Tax refunds;
- Stocks, bonds, investments, joint funds, and more;
- Partnerships and business interests.
If you worry that you might involuntarily skip some of your financial belongings or assets and don’t provide necessary docs during the divorce, it is strongly advised to hire a financial advisor. The specialist will analyze your belongings and activities and help you to get equipped quickly and efficiently for any of the divorce procedures.
When going through your financial papers, your duty is to ensure their security. If you once shared any passwords, email addresses, and other financial security details with your former soulmate, it is high time to change them. You never know how confronted you may get with your spouse during divorce, so you’d better care about your safe side in advance.
Life Insurance Documents
Life insurance funds usually make decent sums, so there is no wonder that spouses are willing to keep everything to themselves in the divorce process. As well as to any other documents, the same rule of fairness and transparency is applied here.
Provide the fullest information on your life and disability insurance, if any. This includes face amount, dates, type of the insurance policy, owner, beneficiaries, cash value, and loan value.
You should also include extra documents with all the details if you have a house, vehicle, or any other kind of insurance.
Docs Related to Marital Debts and Credits
Marital debts and credits are also to be divided appropriately as a result of divorce. So, gather all the documents related to the money you and your soon-to-be-ex owe and any of the agreements driven. Check out the papers you may include:
- Education-related loans;
- Owed taxes;
- Owed support payments (to spouse and children from previous marriages commonly);
- Unsecured loans;
- Credit cards;
- Credit reports;
- Any other debts.
If you have any documents displaying your spouse’s separate debts and credits, you’d rather enclose them too. The court may assign you to help your spouse pay off the debts, so it will be better for your attorney to look at the papers and get you ready for any possible outcomes.
Docs Related to Pension Funds
Both you and your spouse are concerned about the future, so you likely have some pension funds. Steer clear about them by providing the relevant documents in the divorce process. This means you have to include pension plan information and retirement savings account details in your divorce documents checklist. Attach summary plan information, the latest benefits statements, pension calculation, and any other required docs.
Gathering important and necessary documents for divorce in advance will not only save you from unnecessary hassle during the life-changing period but also grant you the opportunity to plan your life effectively. Holding all the necessary papers, your divorce specialists team will get you properly prepared for the divorce proceedings. In addition, your financial analyst will assist you in assessing and predicting your financial status and possibilities after divorce. This way, you can even create an estimated after-divorce personal budget and make small arrangements to start over a new life with no stress or havoc included.
Going through the divorce paper checklist before you head to the divorce itself, you will also have a chance to get prepared emotionally and mentally for the drastic changes in your life. So that when the time comes, you will overcome the separation challenges with confidence to move on to a better life without remorse.