What do I need to file for divorce? / by Cassandra Hearn

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If you are thinking of getting a divorce there are documents that you need to start collecting:

1) Financial Documents

Getting a divorce is the splitting of your two lives, and your two finances. Therefore you need to give your attorney the most information possible and as quickly as possible. Gather you latest bank statements, credit card statements, last 2 moths of paycheck stubs, savings account statements. Gather copies of any retirement accounts, pensions or any 401K statements from your job. Also make a list of your estimated monthly expenses as to bills like utilities, water, electric, laundry, clothing, etc. Will you move out and get an apartment? Do you have your own separate home? Then you will need to also get information about your rent payment, mortgage, insurance, etc. for your attorney.

2) Make A List of Assets

So over your marriage I’m sure you have made purchases together. Start thinking about what assets you have gotten together and which you would like to split with. Assets that you have acquired as a gift or by inheritance are your separate property. All other assets you have gotten with your spouse during the marriage is called “community property” and will be split equally in the divorce. So write down the big items in your house that might be at issue and let your attorney know the garage sale value of the items (not how much you bought it for, how much it would go for in a garage sale) and when/how you acquired the asset.

3) Custody/Visitation

If you have children from the marriage then you need to think about custody and visitation for the child or children. The court always leans towards equal physical and legal custody for natural parents whenever possible. However, there is something in your case that might make equal custody not possible., things such as: drug use, domestic violence, and criminal history. Then you will want to let your attorney know and so they can make the proper recommendation on how and what to file.

4) Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Keep in mind you may not get everything you want out of a divorce. Decide what is really important to you and stay focused. This will not be a easy process and will be frustrating at times. Keep your cool, and get the information your attorney asks for as fast as possible. This will speed up the process and will be less stress on everyone.