Documents to Prepare for Divorce / by Cassandra Hearn

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Preparing for a divorce requires careful organizing and forethought.  Divorce is a decision that will have repercussions for many years, especially if you and your spouse have children together.  After you make the decision to move forward with a divorce, there are some documents that you should prepare and gather to help facilitate the process.

First, when anyone files for a divorce in California, they must also file an Income and Expense statement. To properly fill out that form, you will need to gather all documentation demonstrating the amount of your income.  Income for purposes of divorce proceedings will include not only what money you receive for doing your regular day-to-day job, but also other income, such as rental income, income from side work, or regular payments from a trust account.  You will also need to gather the documentation and information showing your regular expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, child care costs, grocery expenses, or other recurring bills. Making sure that you have evidence of these recurring costs will be important if your soon-to-be-former spouse attempts to challenge the amount you claim you spend every month for the basic running of your household.

Next, you will want to gather the documentation relating to your assets and debts.  California is a community property state, which means that assets and debts acquired during the marriage will generally be equally divided between the two spouses.  This will be true even if the asset or debt has only one of the spouse’s name associated with the asset. For example, even if only your name is on the deed to the marital residence, if it was purchased during the marriage, it is likely still marital property.  Preparing for your divorce means having a firm understanding of what assets and debts there are to be divided. Accordingly, finding the most recent statements for investment accounts, bank accounts, pensions, credit card bills, and similar documents can help you and your attorney to start building an understanding of what needs to be divided.

Finally, if you have documentary proof of particular wrongdoing conducted by your spouse, you will need to make sure to gather that as well.  This could be copies of restraining orders, school reports showing your child is always truant or late while in your spouse’s care, or records showing that your spouse has a substance abuse problem.  Your attorney can help you parse through these documents and determine what is relevant to your case.

 Divorce is a complicated process and you need an experienced team on your side.  If you have questions about your divorce and the process, call us today for an appointment at 619-800-0384.