Ten Types of Documents to Gather When Considering Divorce
Socrates said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” This may be true in life but is extremely damaging in divorce. It is critically important that you take affirmative steps to understand and familiarize yourself with your finances when considering divorce. You will be in a much better position if you understand what you have so that you can figure out where you want to be at the end of the divorce process. You want to be confident that you have the information to make informed decisions and to take control of your own path. This can be an intimidating step if you have not previously been involved in the financial aspects of your marriage. But your future financial health depends upon you taking the time to gather information.
Below is a useful checklist of documents to gather when considering divorce:
- Tax Returns – personal and business – for the most recent two (2) years, including complete federal and state income tax returns, Form W-2, Form 1099, and Schedule K-1 forms, and supporting tax schedules and attachments filed by you, your spouse, and by any entity in which you or your spouse have a majority or controlling interest.
- Pay Stubs – for the past twelve (12) months, provide copies of all of your and your spouse’s paystubs and/or other evidence of all earned and unearned income. At a minimum, you will need the most current paystub and the last paystub issued in the previous calendar year from each employer, assuming the paystubs include year-to-day income.
- All loan applications and financial statements prepared or used by you or your spouse within the last twelve (12) months.
- Documents verifying the value of all real estate in which you or your spouse have an interest, including the most recent appraisal, tax valuation notices, deeds, purchase documents, settlement statements, and refinance documents.
- Current titles and appraisals/valuation documents for all vehicles, boats, campers, trailers, recreations vehicles, jewelry, major household items, and other personal property. To determine the value of your vehicles, you will want to complete a Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) or NADA (nada.com) report for each vehicle, boat, camper, trailer, and recreational vehicle in your possession.
- For all businesses in which you or your spouse have an interest, you will want copies of all the following as may apply: current profit/loss statements, balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, payroll reports, aged account receivable documents, depreciation schedules, Articles of Incorporation, Articles of Organization, Operating Agreements, nature of business, percentage owned, name(s) of all owners, current value, complete business tax returns for the most recent two (2) years, and business checking and savings account statements for the last three (3) months.
- All statements for the last three (3) months for all financial asset accounts, including checking, savings, profit-sharing, annuity, money market funds, certificates of deposit, brokerage, investment, retirement, and trusts (for you and your spouse).
- Current statements for all life insurance policies, with and without cash value (for you and your spouse).
- Credit card statements and other debt statements for the last three (3) months (for you and your spouse).
- Copies of your most recent billing statements for the last three (3) months verifying each of your monthly expenses, such as utility bills, mortgage statements, daycare receipts, medical billings, and insurance explanation of benefits, etc.