Documents You Should Collect to Prepare for Divorce
Besides being a potentially emotionally challenging process, divorce is also complex and involves a significant amount of paperwork. Fortunately, this process can be made much more straightforward if the parties begin collecting important documentation as soon as possible. Although taking this step will save the parties time and money, while also helping things move along more smoothly, it can be complicated and frustrating, especially for those with complex assets, so if you have questions about how to prepare for divorce, you should contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer who can advise you.
Financial records play a critical role in divorce, as they help lay the groundwork for the property division process, as well as in alimony and child support matters. To this end, divorcing parties should be sure to keep copies of the following documentation:
- Paycheck stubs for both parties from all sources of employment for the last three years;
- Paperwork related to retirement and pension funds;
- Both state and federal tax returns from the prior three to five years;
- Records related to business expenses for the past three years, as well as business income tax returns;
- Bank statements; and
- Credit card statements.
While documentation providing evidence of income is important when attempting to make an alimony determination, courts will also need access to records related to a family’s expenses, including:
- Utility bills;
- Mortgage or rent payments;
- Medical bills;
- Health and auto insurance;
- Household expenses; and
- Entertainment costs.
Listing and providing proof of these expenses can help courts come up with an alimony or child support agreement that is fair to both parties. Similarly, this information could come into play when determining the fate of a shared asset, such as a family home.
Proof of Asset Ownership
Besides financial records, couples should also be sure to collect copies of documentation related to any physical assets that they might own, including:
- Real estate;
- Business interests;
- Valuable collections, including artwork and antiques; and
- Personal possessions.
This type of documentation can play a crucial role in helping divorcing parties delineate which of their assets are separate and which are marital, as well as what those assets are worth, all of which can help determine what would constitute a fair and equitable division of a couple’s property.
Other agreements, like pre and postnuptial contracts, as well as separation agreements can also come into play during divorce negotiations. Many issues, for example, including who will retain which assets, as well as alimony, may have already been decided by the couple in question, which could help save them time and money during court proceedings. If, on the other hand, there is evidence that an agreement was entered into under duress, without one party’s permission, or in the absence of a full accounting of the other party’s assets, the agreement would need to be presented to the court to prevent it from unfairly implementing the contract to one party’s detriment.
Set Up a Free Consultation Today
To speak with experienced divorce lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. about preparing for your own divorce, please call our office at 954-945-7591 today.