You find yourself in a position where you have decided to move forward with a divorce or just want to talk with an attorney to figure out what you can do now to prepare yourself if your spouse files or you decide to file down the line. There are things you can discuss with an attorney now, pre-filing, to organize your finances and ensure you are in the best position possible going into a divorce. Whether or not you are 100% committed to filing for divorce, meeting with an attorney will help you understand potential issues and areas that you might be able to address now to make your divorce process smoother. Here we focus on the financial side of your divorce; child custody discussions and preparation is another topic.
You and Your Spouse’s Basic Information
Put together the following information in one document if it hasn’t already been collected over the phone when you made your appointment:
- You and your spouse’s dates of birth (and children if you have any)
- Where you got married (City, State) and when (month, day, year)
- Your address (mailing and physical) and if your spouse has moved out – theirs
- Where you work, where your spouse works, your understanding of your spouse’s income level (annually) and how they get paid (paycheck monthly? Paycheck bi-weekly?)
Please also fill out our short online Client Intake Form before your first meeting with your attorney.
Gather as much financial information that you can to bring with you to your meeting (or send it over in advance). Your lawyer needs a good understanding of the financial picture of your marriage – not only to help you understand what my happen to certain assets or obligations but also to help you plan now to put you in the best position down the line. Collect things such as:
- Tax Returns. Completed personal, corporate, partnership, joint venture, or other income tax returns (federal, state and local), including W-2, 1099, and K-1 forms, for the last 1-5 years.
- Income Information. Payroll stubs and all other evidence of income (investment property, rental/lease agreements, dividends, interest, royalties, lottery winnings, etc.) for you since the filing of your last tax return.
- Business Financial Statements. Do either you or your spouse own a business? Do you have access to current P&L or balance sheets?
- Banking Information. A list of all bank accounts, whose name they are in and what the current balance is. Also include any brokerage accounts, stock holdings, bonds, or mutual funds.
- Retirement Accounts. A list of 401ks, IRAs, etc., and whose name they are in.
- Agreements. A copy of any premarital agreement (“prenup”) or post-marital agreements regarding property that you and your spouse have signed together after you were married.
- Debts. A list of outstanding debts, loans, auto payments, lease payments, etc.
- Automobiles. A list of cars, whose name they are in and who drives them.
- Property. A list of all real property you and/or your spouse owns – such as your marital residence, a vacation home, family property that has been inherited or owned by multiple family members, etc.
Ultimately, your attorney may need more information, but this will give you both a great start and will help your attorney answer questions you may have about what will happen to your assets and debts during the divorce process. Don’t wait until you have all of this together to make your initial appointment with a Buczek Carpenter attorney, but the more you can bring with the better that first meeting will be. If you haven’t already, use this link to conveniently schedule that meeting online or call us at (540) 944-4343.