Let’s face it – divorces can be stressful. It is a time when you are mentally coming to terms with parting ways with your partner. Undoubtedly it can be one of the most disruptive and emotional times of your life. You have to think ahead and do a complete U-turn of your current lifestyle, and it is normal to be overwhelmed.
It can be even more stressful if you don’t have the relevant documents when meeting with divorce attorneys. Almost 90% of people arrive at an attorney meeting without having all the necessary legal documents required for the process. The truth is, your attorney cannot help you with anything unless they receive all of the documents.
At the surface level, you’d imagine a divorce to be just a consensus signing, but it is so much more than that – it will end up impacting all critical areas of your life and even beyond. A divorce settlement can also affect your business and any other assets you hold if you are a business owner.
So it is always a best practice to get in with all the proper documents before getting started.
To get a headstart and avoid delays in processing your request, here’s all the information you need to have before making it to the attorney’s office.
While preparing these documents, there is no mandatory need to provide paper copies; digital copies are fine. The best practice here is all about organizing documents into seven categories.
Documents You’ll Need When Meeting With Divorce Attorneys
1 Income documents
Income documents are critical to the entire divorce process because the court needs to understand your current financial status and employment status to consider child support, alimony, and property division. The documents include income tax returns, payslips, and other additional income documents.
Other income documents that you need can be:
- Paycheck for other sources of employment over 12 months
- Business income documents (if any) of you and your spouse over the last 12 months
- Documentation regarding expenses (receipts, bank statements, cheques) for you and the spouse
- A copy of financial statements prepared to assess your or your spouse’s net worth (if any)
- Any other information that could establish the net worth
2 Real Estate documents
Real estate is the major asset that anyone needs to take into consideration. If it is a property purchased during the marriage, it is marital property and will need to be divided into two during the divorce (unless stated otherwise).
Real estate owned before marriage can also come to play if the martial funds were used to pay for repairs and the mortgage.
- Documents of ownership of any real estate owned together
- Current mortgage income
- Purchase documents of real estate
- If the real estate is re-financed – the documents about that
- Joint financial account documents
Like income statements, the court needs valid proof of all financial accounts – both joint and separate.
These can include:
- Savings account statements and saving certificates of individual or joint accounts
- Any bank statements from the previous three years in your name or held jointly
- Statements from investment accounts held by you or jointly
3 Life Insurance documents
Next up on the priority list is life insurance policy documents. Life insurance is often viewed as spousal support, and the policy’s cash value could be divided by the court in the case of a divorce and can even order a beneficiary charge for child support.
You will need the statements regarding the life insurance policy on your life, your spouse’s life, or your children (if any). The attorney will also require more details about the insurance’s liability.
4 Documents to do with Marital Debts
Similar to presenting financial assets, any debt will also need to be documented. All obligations encountered during marriage need to be disclosed. The court will decide when it comes to determining what marital debts are and divide them as part of the divorce.
5 Automobile documents
Vehicles also get classified as marital assets subject to court-appraised division. All vehicles owned by the parties need to be disclosed, and the court will determine ownership.
- Title or registration to all vehicles owned by you, your spouse, or jointly. It isn’t necessarily limited to automobiles, boats, ATVs, and farm vehicles.
- Any document denoting the current outstanding debt to acquire vehicles
Ready to proceed?
We know divorces can be challenging, but when you have all the documents you have with you, the easier the process will be. Getting all the relevant documents is equal to hiring the correct attorney.
Remember, you can always choose to change attorneys, even mid-way of your divorce filing, if you seem like the current attorney is not the ideal fit. But whichever route you take, having the correct documents are critical.
The Need for Apostilling
Let’s say you want to travel overseas, and start fresh after your divorce. When you make that decision, it is always good to take legal documents such as your divorce decree. While the document is a valid legal entity in the US, other countries might not accept it.
That’s where apostille services come into your aid. An apostille service will ensure that your document is a valid legal entity, and it could save a lot of trouble and time when you move.
The Travel Visa Pro website can be your lifeline if you are traveling overseas. While the traditional method can be complicated and time-consuming, you can now get your hands on an apostilled divorce decree in record time. Click here to find out more.