Essential divorce documents. While a number of questions necessarily accompany any divorce proceeding, some of the most intense and complicated issues often relate to financial matters. To ensure a reasonable settlement and the peace of mind that comes with knowing you got a fair shake, it is essential to have a strong legal voice advocating for you throughout the process. Securing the services of a local divorce attorney is likely the best move you can make.
Three Essential Divorce Documents
Although there are numerous forms and documents that will be associated with your divorce, key financial decisions will be centered around three documents that reveal a lot about your life and money:
- Tax Returns: You will want a minimum of three years’ worth of your tax returns, along with any documentation associated with them. In particular, couples who divorce when one or both partners hold ownership in a business will want their attorneys to take a look at these forms. They can literally provide a wealth of information that could impact your divorce settlement.
- Lifestyle Analysis: It is essential that you complete a detailed analysis of one-time and continuous expenses. This should include anticipated expenses that you will incur down the road, as well as those that are part of daily life. Future expenses, including medical and education costs, should be viewed while considering inflation. Online expense trackers can be helpful in organizing this for you.
- Net-worth Statement: Finally, you will be filing an affidavit for the court that provides a clear picture of the financial status of the marriage, including earnings and income, assets and liabilities, and current and projected expenses. One way to get an overview of present costs is to run your credit report, which will help you to get a snapshot of liabilities and joint obligations. You should also consider any assess you have, including items in your safety deposit box, artwork, antiques, etc. This statement will serve to elucidate spending priorities in the context of all other financial information, including retirement accounts and other investments.
In some cases, spouses may have engaged in some tricky shenanigans in order to hide assets. This may include hidden bank accounts, substantial payments provided to entities unbeknownst to you, or unusual payments to utility or phone companies. Sometimes, spending patterns do not match up to reported earnings, providing an indication that there may be secret sources of income. In the event your spouse appears to be trying to keep the facts from the court, serious dings to their credibility may result, giving you the benefit of the doubt when the facts appear shady. Continue reading →