Financial records are of critical importance. You need records of money received and spent, and the more complete they are the better off you are. You should make every effort to get the family financial records into your possession and to keep them there as soon as you discover that there is even a possibility of a divorce.
It is also important to get any papers that may be in a safety deposit boxes.
Don’t limit your search to the current year. You will need recent documents as well as ones from past years. These can be extremely important when it comes to establishing the standard of living during the marriage, which is the normal level of expenditures and income.
If some information is missing, you can contact banks, credit unions, and credit card companies for copies of statements, canceled checks, and charge slips. You can also contact the IRS and your STATE for copies of previously filed tax returns.
The party caught without these records will have to reconstruct them, which can be time-consuming and expensive. If your spouse has taken the records they can be requested by your attorney with or without a court order. However if your spouse refuses to share the documents, an application with a court appearance may be necessary to get the records you need.
Ann O’Flanagan is an attorney who handles family law exclusively in Flanders, New Jersey.