Whether you’re initiating a divorce proceeding or responding to your spouse’s petition for divorce, you know that you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible — but good preparation can be essential.
It’s smart to head to your attorney with as many relevant documents as you can so that your attorney has a good idea of what your finances look like and the topics that will be most important to address during your divorce.
What kinds of documents should you take to your attorney?
Initially, it may be hard to tell what your attorney may need to see, so it’s best to take a broad approach. You should gather documents such as:
- Your financial records, including banking account records, 401(k) documents and tax returns for the last few years
- If abuse or domestic violence is a factor, copies of emails, videos, police reports and other documents that support your claims
- Any Prenuptial or post-nuptial agreements you and your spouse may have signed
- Your credit report, so that you know exactly what debts appear in your name and their status
- A record of your monthly household expenses (which can be important when thinking about spousal support or child support)
- Any records you may have about the financials for a family business that is held by you or your spouse
- Copies of the deeds to real property and appraisals on collections or individual items of great value
Having all of these and other documents on hand at the beginning of your divorce will help you and your attorney plan on how to move forward with the case. Information is power, and your attorney needs all of the information they can get about your situation to help you strategize for the future.