Preparation is Key: Having the Right Documents Can Make Filing for Divorce Easier
Divorce can be a long, arduous process. Sometimes it’s due to issues that arose during the marriage, and fighting and nitpicking over every detail is a way to get payback. Other times, the parties drag their feet in gathering and turning over financial information. In either case, being prepared ahead of time with the necessary documents can go a long way in speeding up the process. Before meeting with a divorce attorney, make sure you have the following documents:
Pre- or postnuptial agreement. If you and your spouse signed a pre- or postnuptial agreement, make sure to provide a copy to your divorce attorney. The terms of the agreement will dictate how certain issues, such as property division, alimony and division of debt, are to be dealt with in the event of divorce. Knowing these terms at the start of proceedings allows your attorney to properly draft the divorce petition, by not requesting terms or property that have already been dealt with in the agreement.
Evidence of domestic violence. If your spouse was abusive to you or your children during the marriage, evidence of domestic violence can be used to show that an equal time-sharing plan is not in the child’s best interest, and is in fact dangerous to you and the child. Evidence of abuse can include police reports, orders of protection, medical records documenting any injuries, and/or the name and contact information of any people who can testify to the abuse.
Pension, 401(k), Roth IRA and other Retirement Documents. The division of retirement assets is always a hot button issue in divorce proceedings. Your attorney will need to know the type of plan, name of the plan administrator, terms of each plan, and documentation of the earnings to begin calculating how much of your spouse’s retirement you are entitled to receive in the divorce, and how the plan authorizes distribution in the event of divorce.
Tax returns and W2’s. Calculations of alimony and child support are based, in part, on the income of both parties. Your attorney will need copies of your most recent tax returns (several years may be necessary, particularly if you or your spouse own a business that has fluctuating income) in order to request both.
Other financial information. In order to come up with a proposed division of assets your attorney will need to know the type and value (including attached debt) of each asset you and your spouse own. This may include providing bank, checking, brokerage and other financial statements, mortgage or other loan statements, and any other documents supporting the value of your assets. Your attorney will also need to know what property is separate and what is marital. If you plan to argue that any portion of your spouse’s separate property is actually marital, you will also need to provide evidence supporting your claim.
Boca Raton Divorce Attorneys
Divorce is never easy. But with more than 50 years’ combined experience, the Boca Raton divorce attorneys at Schwartz l White can help make the process as pain-free as possible. Our attorneys know the right questions to ask to ensure we get all the information necessary to begin filing the appropriate documents and to minimize the chance of any surprises down the road. Call our office today at 561.391.9943, or complete our online form, to schedule a free initial consultation.