If you are considering divorce, or are in the beginning stages of your divorce, you may wonder what information or documentation will be needed throughout the process. Depending on the issues of your case, you may need to provide bank statements, pay stubs, or bills. Here are the most common documents you will need during your divorce:

  1. Federal income tax returns for (at least) the two most recent tax years, including W-2s, 1099s, and all Schedules and Attachments.

Why?

Tax returns include a lot information that will be helpful for you and your attorney during your divorce. They provide an overall snapshot of your financial position. Tax returns tell a story. If child support is an issue, your judge may ask you to provide copies of at least two years’ tax returns to ensure child support is accurately calculated.

  1. Documentation of cost of health insurance for children.

Your attorney will likely ask for documentation showing the monthly out-of-pocket cost for medical insurance for “Employee Only” and also the cost for “Employee and Child(ren) Only.” You will want to provide similar information if you also have dental and/or vision insurance.

Why?

This documentation is directly related to child support. Your child support calculation takes into consideration the costs of health insurance for both parents and the child(ren). If you provide health insurance for yourself, you will receive a deduction in the calculation. If you provide health insurance for your child(ren), you will receive a credit in the calculation. It is important to obtain documentation showing the breakdown of benefits in order to accurately compute support.

  1. Copies of the most recent statements for all debts.

Why?

All debts incurred during the marriage, or incurred for marital purposes, are considered “marital debts” and will be equitably divided between you and your spouse. Credit card statements, mortgage statements, auto loan statements, etc., related to debts incurred during your marriage will be considered when dividing the marital estate. Typically, the marital estate will be valued as of a certain date. The balance of your marital debts as of that date will then be divided as fairly as possible.

If you and/or your spouse have debts that were incurred before your marriage, those debts may be considered “premarital.” Premarital debts will likely remain with the spouse who incurred them. In other words, these debts will probably not be divided.

  1. Copies of the most recent statement for all bank accounts and investment accounts.

Why?

Bank accounts and investment accounts are subject to division in your divorce. Your attorney will want to see the balances of any joint bank accounts, individual accounts, as well as any interest you or your spouse may have in any investment accounts. The valuation date used to value your marital estate will come into play here as well. These statements will show the asset’s worth as of a certain date.

  1. Copies of the most recent statement for all retirement accounts.

Why?

Retirement accounts are subject to division in divorce, and are often the most valuable marital assets in the estate. If you or your spouse began contributing to a retirement account during your marriage, it is likely that the entire account will be considered marital. If the account was opened prior to the marriage, or after you and your spouse separated, the account may have a pre-marital component, or may be entirely non-marital. Copies of these statements help your attorney determine the value of the retirement accounts and an equitable division of same.

Identifying the Plan Administrator(s) of the retirement account(s) will also help your attorney prepare the required documents in order to divide the account(s).

Your divorce is unique to you and your attorney’s request for documentation will be unique to your circumstances. It is important to partner with your family law attorney so that he or she has what is necessary to be your zealous advocate. Partnering with your Koenig│Dunne family law attorneys will help you achieve what matters most to you during this important process.

 Lindsay Belmont

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