Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Getting Your Fair Share: Documents You Need to Give Your Divorce Lawyer

"Getting Your Fair Share: Documents You Need to Give Your Divorce Lawyer"," They can be important in establishing fault grounds.
 If you are unable to prove your case, you may find that you do not get a fair share of the income, assets, and liabilities.

The documents mentioned in this article are the standard documents which we ask clients for in contested divorce cases and are included in our client divorce manual.
 You should at a minimum gather the documents listed in this article and provide them to your divorce lawyer at a point early in the representation.
 Many of the documents may be necessary early in the litigation and it may take some time to obtain them.
 By providing your lawyer with the information and documents mentioned in this article, you will save be time and money.
 In addition, possession of these documents could help in preventing your spouse from dissipating or secreting any assets.


Because it is important to establish an accurate picture of your financial situation and that of your spouse, you should gather income tax returns, including personal, corporate, partnership, joint venture or other income tax returns, state and federal, including all attachments thereto (w-2, 1099 and k-1 forms) in your possession or control covering the period of your marriage and separation.
 Don't forget other employment records during the term of the marriage, showing evidence of wages, salaries, bonuses, commissions, raises, promotions, expense accounts, and other benefits or deductions of any kind.


Because it is important to identify marital assets, you should also gather any deeds and leases of property in which you or your spouse has an interest together with evidence of all contributions, in cash or otherwise, made by you or on your behalf, toward the acquisition of and maintenance of such real estate during the marriage or thereafter.

If there are stocks, bonds or mutual funds, you should gather certificates, if available, of accounts owned by either spouse during the marriage or owned by you prior to the marriage or acquired subsequent to the separation.
 If there are pensions, profit sharing plans, 401(K) plans, retirement plans and or deferred compensation plans, you should gather all available documents for your lawyer.

Business Assets:

If you or your spouse has operated a business during your marriage, you should provide your lawyer with your business records or ledgers in your possession and control that are either personal or business-related, together with all accounts and journals.

Personal Property:

Regarding interests in personal property, in addition to personal property returns, you should gather all documents, invoices, contracts, insurance policies, and appraisals on all personal property, including furniture, fixtures, furnishings, equipment, antiques, and any type of collections, owned by you individually, jointly, as trustee or guardian, or through any other person or entity during the term of the marriage.
Be sure to include titles to motor vehicles, as well as, all financing agreements to all motor vehicles owned by you, individually or jointly, at any time during the last five (5) years, including airplanes, boats, motorcycles, automobiles, or any other types of motor vehicles.

Related to both income and assets, your lawyer will need information on your bank accounts and investments.
 If you have brokerage statements from securities and/or commodities dealers or mutual funds maintained by you or your spouse during the marriage, whether jointly or individually, you should provide those statements to your lawyer.
 We have actually been able to discredit a spouse's testimony using information he gave on loan applications.
 If you or your spouse has life insurance policies insuring your life or that of your spouse, you should provide your lawyer with a copy of the policy and any statement of cash value.

Marital Debts:

Besides income and assets, another area to be considered is outstanding debts.
 Be sure to include judgments and pleadings in which you have been a party to, either as Plaintiff or Defendant, during the marriage.


If you take the time to prepare and to gather documentation of your income, assets and liabilities, you will find that you will be more successful in your efforts to get or to retain your fair share of income, assets and liabilities.

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