Data from the CDC estimates that the U.S. divorce rate is 3.2 per 1,000 population as of 2014. If you are planning for a divorce, the best thing you can do is engage with divorce attorneys. You also need to be well-prepared and have important documents ready. These are some of the essential documents you will need to show your divorce lawyers so that they can help you plan for your divorce.
Individual and Business Income Tax Returns
Finances are usually the annoyance for most divorce cases. This is because finances influence other aspects of divorce, such as alimony and child support. Depending on your state laws, you will need to document your individual and business tax returns for the last five years. During divorce proceedings, the court requires all parties to provide accurate and updated tax return records. This is also applicable to couples who jointly file taxes. Your divorce attorney will also advise you to fill any unfilled tax returns before the divorce. Accurate and updated tax returns records serve as a reference and guide the court during the marital property division. Having them ready will be a big boost to your divorce case.
Bank and Credit Card Information
In addition to your tax records, you will also need to have important bank information well-documented. You should list all the joint and individual bank accounts belonging to you and your spouse and their current account balances. Additionally, you will need to document all the credit cards held by you and your spouse. You should also have records documenting the current income of you and your spouse. You should supply your divorce attorneys with as much financial information as you can. Your financial records and tax information will enable a court to establish the marital standard of living, which largely influences a divorce settlement.
Marriage Certificate, Prenuptial Agreement, and Separation Agreement
A marriage certificate is proof that you are officially married to your spouse, hence entitled to a divorce. Without a marriage certificate, your divorce case may take longer as your divorce attorneys explore other legal avenues. You should have the original marriage certificate or a copy of it. If you had a prenuptial agreement, you must provide your divorce lawyer with a copy. The same goes for a separation agreement. These documents will help your family attorney fast-track your divorce case, saving you time and money in the process.
Children’s Birth Certificate, School Information and Child Care Expenses
If you had children during your marriage, it is important to have copies of their birth certificates. If you adopted a child, the adoption certificate would come in handy. During and after the divorce, you want to safeguard the welfare of your children so that they are not deeply affected by your divorce. Your children’s education is a priority, and courts may analyze your child’s school information when ruling on child custody. Additionally, documenting your child care expenses will ensure that your child’s lifestyle is not affected after the divorce.
Life Insurance Policies, Mortgages, and Loan Documents
If you or your spouse hold a life insurance policy, your divorce attorneys will help you analyze what changes will happen after the divorce. Your family lawyer will also need all copies of your mortgages and other loans recorded in your name or your spouse’s. These documents provide crucial information that your attorney will rely on to build a strong case.
Divorce cases may drag on for months or years before they conclude. However, when divorce attorneys have sufficient information about your case, it may conclude much faster. When you are preparing for a divorce, you should obtain as much information as you can. If you cannot obtain crucial information because your spouse is unwilling to supply you with some documents, your family attorney will help you find legal means to compel your spouse. You may feel overwhelmed by the entire process during a divorce, but a good divorce lawyer will walk you through.