People anticipating or who are ready to start a divorce often want to know how to prepare. While there is no way to 100% prepare yourself for a divorce, you can start gathering the information that your divorce attorney will likely need. The following general checklist will also help you start gathering your thoughts because your attorney will need specific information in order to provide you with legal advice.
Documents to Start Gathering (at least a year’s worth to start):
- Bank Statements;
- Credit card statements;
- Retirement account statements;
- Investment account statements;
- Mortgage statements (First and any second mortgage); and
- Loan statements (car, personal loans).
- Life insurance statement (showing any cash value, type of policy, etc.);
- Most recent tax assessment value for your home or any property owned;
- Last three years of tax returns and all attachments (1099s, W-2s, etc.);
- At least six months of paystubs;
- Statements for child care costs for the children, if any; and
- Health insurance information (benefit statements and statement of costs).
Things to Prepare:
- Budget (including expenses for any children) and provide a few months of monthly statements that you used to prepare your budget (utility statements, receipts, etc.)
- Create a list of any property that you think is worth over $500 (g., jewelry, family heirlooms)
- Parenting time schedule that you think is best for the children
- Create an ideal plan for moving forward answering some of the following questions:
- Where will you live?
- What will rent/mortgage be where you want to live?
- Where will the children go to school?
- How you will you pay your bills?
- How do you want to divide the marital property and liabilities (bank accounts, debts, etc.)?
- If you own a home, what do you want to do with it (sell it, keep it, let the other party stay in it)?
There may be more documents or items for you to prepare that relate to your specific divorce. It is helpful to talk with attorney about the specifics of your case so you know exactly how to prepare. The above, though, will get you started.