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Checklist: Documents to Show Your Divorce Attorney

Divorce is complicated -- legally, financially, and emotionally. Dividing up property a couple has acquired throughout their marriage (also known as marital property) can be one of the most contentious aspects of divorce. Luckily, divorce attorneys can help alleviate some of your legal and financial stresses by advocating for a division of property that works in your favor.

If you've decided to retain legal counsel, you can help save your divorce attorney time (and save yourself some money) by gathering important legal and financial documents together before the initial consultation. Doing this ahead of time gives your attorney an immediate and useful overview of the property and assets likely to be at issue in your case. Most importantly, it allows the two of you to work together to secure your short and long-term interests.

The following is a list of documents to show your divorce attorney. Many of these documents will not be required for the initial consultation. You may not even have the item, in general. But, if you do, it may be a good idea to start collecting it for your attorney.

Also, keep in mind that everyone's case is unique. You should consult your divorce attorney about any other documentation they need to best represent you. The following documents will be helpful:

Documents to Show Your Divorce Attorney: A Checklist

____ Individual income tax returns for the past three to five years (federal, state, and local)
____ Business income tax returns for the past three to five years (federal, state, and local)
____ Proof of your current income through your last three paystubs
____ Proof of spouse's current income
____ Prenuptial agreement
____ Separation agreement
____ Bank statements from the last six to twelve months
____ Certificates of deposit
____ Pension statements
____ Most recent retirement account statements, and if there were any purchased before marriage (non-marital claim), the statement before your date of marriage
____ Trusts
____ Stock portfolios
____ Stock options
____ Most recent mortgages, and if there were any mortgages before marriage (non-marital claim), the mortgage before your date of marriage
____ Property tax statements, formal appraisal, or PVA value statements
____ Most recent credit card statements, from each card
____ Loan documents
____ Utility bills
____ Other bills (e.g., school tuition, unreimbursed medical bills, music lessons for children, etc.)
____ Monthly budget worksheet
____ Completed financial statements
____ Employment contracts
____ Benefits statements
____ Life insurance policies
____ Health insurance policies
____ Personal property appraisals
____ Real property appraisals
____ List of personal property, including home furnishings, jewelry, artwork, computers, home office equipment, clothing, and furs, etc.
____ List of property owned by each spouse prior to marriage
____ List of property acquired by each spouse individually by gift or inheritance during the marriage and, if possible, the will or document which created the gift/bequest
____ List of contents of safety deposit boxes

As you can see, the above list is extensive -- yet, it is not exhaustive. Every divorce is different since every couple enters and leaves a marriage under different circumstances and with different assets. Therefore, to ensure no property is overlooked, it is always a good idea to have an open and frank conversation with your attorney regarding all of the property and assets relevant to your case.

Starting the Divorce Process: Related Resources

If you're just starting the divorce process or planning to do so, you may feel overwhelmed by all of the steps required. If you also have children, the process can be much more emotionally draining. The following resources will help you make sense of your state's divorce laws and the divorce process in general.

If You're Getting Divorced, Don't Go it Alone: An Attorney Can Help

After determining which documents to show your divorce attorney at that first consultation, you'll want to find the right attorney. This legal professional will help guide you through your divorce, and provide helpful legal advice along the way.

If you need legal counsel, find an experienced divorce attorney near you today.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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Next Steps

Contact a qualified divorce attorney to make sure your rights are protected.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Divorces are tough and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
  • Divorce lawyers can secure alimony, visitation rights, and property division

Get tailored divorce advice and ask a lawyer questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

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