Organizing Documents for Going Through A Divorce

Denise Caron-Quinn

Going through a divorce can be a very stressful time for you and the whole family. Don’t make the stress worse by being confused on which documents you need when filing for a divorce. Get all your documents organized before you meet with the attorney.

The best thing to do is buy a large binder. Separate the binder into sections as listed below using cover sheets or inserts with labels. Behind each section keep copies of the following list of paperwork:

Section 1: Proof of Income

1. Your paycheck stubs. Include all sources of income for the past year. If you don’t have stubs for the past year, a the very minimum provide pay stubs for the prior three months.

2. Your spouse’s paycheck stubs. All sources of income for the past year or at least the stubs for the past three months.

3. If you or your spouse are self- employed, you will need all documents that show payments received or charges billed. You must also include all documentation that outlines all business expenses.

4. Copies of your tax returns from the past 3 years. This includes business tax returns.

5. If you or your spouse work for cash, you need to supply receipts for cash payments or a ledger that shows expenses paid.

6. You must supply any financial statements that have been prepared by you or your spouse that proves your net worth. You will have these types of statements if you have ever applied for a loan.

7. Any miscellaneous documents that will help establish both you and your spouse’s net worth.

Section 2: Real Estate

1. Have copies of the documents that contain legal descriptions of all real estate you and your spouse own. Remember this real estate can be owned together, or it can be owned separately.

2. You must provide all current mortgage statements on all real estate.

3. You must have all documents pertaining to the initial purchase and/or the refinance of all real estate.

4. A copy of the assessor’s statement for all real estate.

Section 3: Personal Finance

1. You will need to provide savings passbooks and all other types of savings certificates you may have. You need to include joint and individual accounts.

2. You must provide copies of checking account bank statements from the past two years. This includes all individual and joint accounts.

3. Include copies of all life insurance policies. This includes policies on yourself, your spouse, and your children. Don’t forget to include policies from your employer.

Section 4: All Debts

1. You must provide an itemized list of all debts that you or your spouse has incurred. Don’t forget to list unsecured debt such as medical bills and credit cards.

Section 5: Pension Funds

1. Provide copies of current statements for you and your spouse’s pension funds. This will include IRAs, 401K, retirement funds, etc.

Section 6: Vehicles

1. You will need to provide the title and registration for all vehicles owned by you or your spouse. This will include cars, boats, farm equipment and ATVs.

2. You need to include all statements for these vehicles that show the outstanding secured debt.

Acquiring the papers can be time-consuming but, it should be less stressful for you now that you know what you need to have.