You’ve made the decision that a divorce is in your best interest or the best thing to do for your family. You’ve called attorneys and found one or two that you want to have initial meetings with to discuss next steps. If financial issues are going to be a part of your divorce (and it’s a rare case where they’re not), there are documents you can print, collect and download now to make your meeting with your attorney as beneficial to you as possible. Here we focus on the financial side of your divorce; child custody discussions and preparation are covered in other posts.
Put together the following basic information in one document if it hasn’t already been collected over the phone when you made your appointment:
- You and your spouse’s dates of birth (and children if you have any)
- The date and place of your marriage
- The address and phone number of where you live – and that for your spouse if different
- You and your spouse’s places of employment, annual income (separate) and how long you have each worked at your current job
Gather as much financial information that you can in advance of your first meeting with your lawyer. This is important because your lawyer needs a full understanding of the financial picture of your marriage – not only to help you understand what my happen to certain assets or obligations but also to help you plan now to put you in the best position down the line.
- Tax Returns. Completed personal, corporate, partnership, joint venture, or other income tax returns (federal, state and local), including W-2, 1099, and K-1 forms, for the last 1-5 years.
- Income Information. Payroll stubs and all other evidence of income (investment property, rental/lease agreements, dividends, interest, royalties, lottery winnings, etc.) for you since the filing of your last tax return.
- Business Financial Statements. Do either you or your spouse own a business? Do you have access to current P&L or balance sheets?
- Banking Information. A list of all bank accounts, whose name they are in and what the current balance is. Also include any brokerage accounts, stock holdings, bonds, or mutual funds.
- Retirement Accounts. A list of 401ks, IRAs, etc., and whose name they are in.
- Agreements. A copy of any premarital agreement (“prenup”) or post-marital agreements regarding property that you and your spouse have signed together after you were married.
- Debts. A list of outstanding debts, loans, auto payments, lease payments, etc.
- Automobiles. A list of cars, whose name they are in and who drives them.
- Property. A list of all real property you and/or your spouse owns – such as your marital residence, a vacation home, family property that has been inherited or owned by multiple family members, etc.
Do not put off meeting with your attorney until you gather all the above – just do your best to pull it together so that your attorney can have the best picture possible of your situation. Ultimately, your attorney may need more information, but this will give you both a great start and will help your attorney answer questions you may have about what will happen to your assets and debts during the divorce process. Your attorney at Selleck Legal will be able to work with you on developing a financial plan to put you in the best position possible now and in the future. Call 734-436-3761 to schedule a free initial consultation if you don’t have one set up already.
From our office in Plymouth, we represent clients in Southeast Michigan communities such as Garden City, Livonia, Brighton, and South Lyon.