As part of the legal process, you will be
required to provide documents related to the family finances including income,
debts, assets and valuations. Your attorney is best able to represent you when
the documents are provided in a complete and organized fashion. A complete
document file can be instrumental to negotiating and resolving divorce issues
without litigation. Even more significantly, however, if settlement is not
possible, your documents may be absolutely necessary to support your case at
Once again, organization may help to reduce your
legal fees. I would suggest organizing the documents by the categories set out
below. You may wish to include a cover sheet with each category listing each
document that you have included.
1. Your paycheck stubs from all sources of
employment over the last year. At a minimum, try to provide paycheck stubs
for the last three months.
2. If you can get them, your spouse's
paycheck stubs for the same period of time. Those check stubs will often
show year top date earnings and deductions.
3. If either you or your spouse is
self-employed, any and all business documents demonstrating payments
received or charges billed are necessary. This includes - (a) job bids (b)
invoices for work performed (c) ledgers of payments received (d) Bank
deposit slips (e) bank statements (f) independent contractor agreements (g)
4. If either you or your spouse is
self-employed, documentation regarding business expenses is necessary. These
may include check registers, canceled checks, payment receipts, check
carbons, computerized income or expense records, financial statements,
profit and loss statements, general ledgers.
5. At a minimum, copies of your joint or
individual tax returns, both state and federal, for the past three years.
6. Copies of any business tax returns for
any business in which you or your spouse hold an interest for the past three
7. If either party works for cash, necessary
documentation may include:
Check ledgers demonstrating expenses paid
during marriage (a person working for cash will often have check registers
that do not show payments for necessities of life such as groceries - the
explanation for that omission is often cash payments)
Any receipts for cash payments.
8. A copy of any financial statements or
statements of net worth prepared by you or your spouse for the purpose of
securing bank loans or for any other purpose.
9. Any other information that will help you
establish your net worth, your spouse's net worth, your joint net worth,
your income, and your spouse's income.
REAL ESTATE INFORMATION
10. Deeds, abstracts, and Torrens
certificates showing the legal description of your homestead and any other
real estate. Secure these from your mortgage company or lending institution
if you do not have them.
11. Current mortgage statements on the first
mortgage, second mortgage and/or home equity loans on the homestead and
any other real estate.
12. All papers and documents covering the
initial purchase of the homestead including the purchase agreement.
13. Any and all documents refinancing the
loans on any parcel of real estate owned during the marriage (those
refinancing documents are likely to include and appraisal of the property
and a statement regarding income of the parties).
14. Tax assessor's statements on the
homestead and other real properties.
SAVINGS AND CHECKING ACCOUNTS
15. Savings passbooks and savings
certificates of individual or joint accounts held individually or jointly by
you and your spouse.
16. Any and all bank statements for the past
year from any account in your name or held jointly with your spouse.
17. If possible, list of corporate stocks or
stock certificates owned by you and your spouse individually or jointly.
18. Any current life insurance policies on
your life, your spouseís life or on your children whether it is an
individual policy or a policy through your employer. To be complete you
should provide any and all statements you have regarding that life insurance
policy including any documents indicating a cash balance or loans against
19. An itemized list of all debts in either
your name or the name of your spouse, with the attached invoices or
statements for each. You should include any outstanding unsecured bills
including credit cards, accounts payable, student loans and/or medical
bills. The documents provided should include the statements at the time of
your separation as well as the current balance.
DEFERRED COMPENSATION PLANS
20. A copy of the most recent statements for
(C) profit sharing/401 K plan
(D) Mutual funds
21. Title or registration cards to all
automobiles/boats/ATVís/snowmobiles or other motor vehicles owned by you or
your spouse individually or jointly.
22.Any documents demonstrating the current
outstanding secured debt on the automobiles/boats/snowmobiles/ATVís
including payment coupons, amortization schedules or monthly invoices
23. Any job descriptions that may exist.