Remember that annoying laundry list of documents your mortgage lender requested when applying for your last mortgage?
Well, guess what? You will need all of those and more when you file for divorce. The good news is that everything you need is probably available online. So let's review what you need and why.
If your divorce is uncontested, you should need any documents. As long as you what the assets and debts are and how they will be divided, you can hold on to your documents and all you need to do is explain the property and debt division to your lawyer.
In almost all other cases, you will need five years o records for each of the following:
1. Complete bank account statements for all accounts on which you are named.
2. Complete credit card account statements for all account to which you have access.
3. Complete retirement and pension account statements for all 401(k), IRA, pension and other retirement accounts in which you have an interest.
4. All stock and investment account statements for any investments in which you have an interest.
5. All real property settlement statements for property in which you have an ownership interest.
6. If you are claiming any separate inheritances, full records for all inheritance accounts.
7. If you are a beneficiary of any trusts, a complete copy of the trust documents.
8. If you are claiming any premarital interest, all statements for premarital accounts beginning with the month immediately preceding your marriage.
9. Complete email and text message downloads of your communications with your spouse.
10. A current credit report.
11. If you are employed, copies of your year to date paystubs, employment offer, employment contract, healthcare, vision, dental benefits, bonus compensation plan and other benefits.
12. Statements for all vested and unvested stock options and restricted stock plans.
13. Complete tax returns and tax forms (1099s, K-1s, W-2s, etc.).
14. Documentation of all outstanding indebtedness, including loan documentation and complete account statements,
15. Vehicle registration and vehicle loan documents for all vehicles you own.
16. Property tax records and mortgage statements for all properties owned.
17. Rental agreements, leases and other contracts to which you are a party.
18. If you own a business, you should expect to have produce an exhaustive list of business records and financials for the business and, in most cases, experts will be hired to value the business.
Why so many documents you ask? Because you and your spouse are expected to negotiate with full knowledge of all facts. And courts cannot decide questions concerning alimony and division of assets without a complete understanding of all relevant facts. Is it burdensome? Absolutely. Is it worth resisting? No. Produce what you need to produce rather than arguing about having to do so or you will spend unnecessary legal fees arguing about it and still have to produce the documents.