Pre-Divorce Document Gathering

If you think you're heading toward a divorce, you will need documentation, and lots of it. In any divorce, the information filed with the court includes required proof about children, property, assets and many other items connected to the marriage. By gathering that information before filing you are able to get and stay organized. More importantly you will help yourself in case your spouse tries hiding materials related to assets or other matters.

Personal Records

Personal information you will need include: a marriage license or other proof of marriage, citizenship, birth certificates of children of the marriage, residence information to prove to the court where you file that it has jurisdiction to grant your divorce. The following is a list of the appropriate documents.

  • Birth certificates
  • Immigration and naturalization documents if applicable
  • Social Security cards
  • Death certificate of a prior, deceased spouse
  • Court decrees and judgments in proceedings with a prior spouse
  • Separation agreements, antenuptial (or prenuptial) and post-nuptial agreements, and other agreements between you and your current spouse

Financial Documents and Property Records

Documents pertaining to you and your spouse's income, savings, assets, debts and expenses are important in deciding many issues in the divorce, including spousal support or alimony, the division of property between you and your spouse, as well as child support. Here's a checklist to start on.

  • Federal, state and local income tax returns for the last three to five years
  • Payroll statements, pay stubs and overtime and bonus records
  • Pension or retirement plan, annuities, individual retirement account (IRA or 401K) documents
  • Insurance policies including life, health, automobile and homeowners insurance.
  • Real estate deeds, contracts or leases
  • Mortgages, loans, credit card statements and other records showing debt
  • Bank checking and savings accounts, cancelled checks, checkbook journals and deposit slips
  • Household budgets or expense records
  • Expense or billing statements for food, rent, utilities, clothing, household goods, repairs, gas, education, vacations, entertainment, subscriptions and other expenses

Business Documents and Records

If you or your spouse own and run businesses, here are some documents and records that should be collected:

  • Federal, state and local income tax returns for the business
  • Business profit and loss statements
  • Business balance sheets
  • Business financial statements
  • Corporate records and minute books including articles of incorporation and bylaws
  • Partnership agreements
  • Shareholder agreements
  • Business credit card statements and records
  • Business insurance policies
  • Business contracts
  • Deeds, mortgages, leases, and other real estate interests held by the business

Other Documents and Records

Other documents and records that may be helpful in protecting your interests throughout the divorce process include:

  • Photographs of you, your spouse and your children
  • Letters, cards and notes written by or to you, your spouse and your children
  • Movies, videotapes and tape recordings of you, your spouse and your children

Please note: some of the information above may be protected. Please click here to learn more about what you can collect and what you should not attempt to collect

Sometimes you cannot access documents you need, they may be in a safety deposit box or stored at a location you cannot enter. Make a detailed list of the documents with as much information as possible, like dates, document titles and what the documents are about.

You may be unpleasantly surprised to find that documents that were readily available to you before the divorce suddenly disappear after the divorce process begins. Gathering what you can as soon as possible will make the whole divorce process much less stressful for you down the road.

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Links to Divorce, Alimony, Custody and Asset Division information

Hire an Experienced Memphis Divorce Lawyer

At The Burdette Law Firm we are competent and caring lawyers when dealing with divorce, and will provide excellent legal divorce advice. We give our clients a great deal of information on divorce so they can have the proper divorce law understanding of divorce law to make important decisions. Getting divorced is an emotional process and we always strive to ease the stress during this difficult situation. A divorce is also a financial process. The valuations, incomes and sums involved in property division, alimony and support should be carefully reviewed by someone like a Certified Public Accountant to insure accuracy, and to protect you from any attempt to hide assets or income.

Contact one of our divorce lawyers for more information

After reviewing the above if you have questions and need our assistance in a divorce matter, please call us at (901) 756-7878 or use the contact form to the right.

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Christina Burdette