A lot goes into choosing a divorce lawyer. I always suggest interviewing three family lawyers before deciding which lawyer to hire. During the interview process, you can learn about the lawyer’s experience, their fees and get a feel for whether or not you feel the two of you could have a good working relationship. Once you’ve made your decision, there’s information your divorce lawyer will need to get the divorce process started. Some information is basic, will require no work from you. Other information will require time and energy and it is always best to be prepared.
So, before you even start the interview process, why not get ahead of the game by gathering as much information as possible? Then, when it comes time to answer questions and provide the information your divorce lawyer needs, you will be prepared.
Here are lists of the personal, property, and financial information your divorce lawyer will need:
You will find this list helpful when compiling documents and materials your divorce lawyer will expect from you.
Personal information your divorce lawyer will need:
- Your full name, date of birth and social security number.
- Contact information such as an address, landline/cell phone number, and email address.
- Proof of state residency.
- Your employer’s name, address, and phone number.
- Your length of employment and your monthly or annual salary. You should be prepared to show your attorney at least three years of income tax returns.
- Your spouse’s full name, date of birth and social security number.
- Contact information for your spouse, such as a home address, landline/cell phone number, and an email address.
- Your spouse’s employer’s contact information, including address, phone number, and an email address.
- Your spouse’s length of employment and current salary.
- Whether your spouse receives commissions and/or bonuses in addition to their base salary.
- If the attorney will be serving your spouse with divorce paperwork, they will need to know where you want this to take place. At your spouse’s work or place of residence?
- The date and place you were married.
- The name of your spouse’s attorney if he/she has one.
- The name of a marital therapist you and your spouse visited with times and dates.
- A list of the marital problems that led to divorce if any involve alcohol or drug abuse, religious differences, infidelity or sexual incompatibility.
- The full names, dates of birth and social security numbers of any children born during the marriage.
- Which parent the children now reside with and whether or not a custody dispute will be part of the divorce process.
- The full names, dates of birth and social security numbers of any children from a previous marriage.
- If you pay child support, how much you pay. If you receive child support, how much you receive.
- Whether or not your spouse has children from a previous marriage. If so, how much child support is paid or received?
- Who provides health insurance for the children born of this marriage?
Property information your divorce lawyer will need:
- Addresses of property owned jointly or separately.
- Addresses of any mortgage companies you have accounts with.
- The estimated fair market value of homes owned.
- The balance on any mortgages.
- The number of monthly payments to a mortgage company.
- A list of all automobiles, boats, motorcycles, trailers or airplanes owned jointly or separately.
- The year, make and model of each and who has possession.
- The name and address of any lender who may hold the title to autos, boats, motorcycles, trailers, or airplanes.
Financial information your divorce lawyer will need:
- A list of all joint and separate bank accounts, savings accounts, CDs, Credit Union accounts, Savings Bonds, Stocks, and Mutual Funds.
- How many debit cards you have for each account and the names on those cards.
- A list of any credit card accounts you hold jointly or separately. The names on the accounts and the balance due.
- Information about retirement accounts, 401Ks, and other investment type accounts.
- Disclosure of any life insurance policies, whose life is insured and for how much.
- A list of names of those who owe you money. How much they owe and the expected payment date.
- A list of any lawsuits you may be involved in.
- A list of any livestock – such as cattle or horses – that you may own.