Divorce cases can be terribly stressful, but, once it appears there is going to be a divorce case, with you as petitioner or as respondent, there are some practical things you can do to help your attorney prepare your case. You could call this your tool chest of documents that you will need to secure for use in the case. Here are some of those documents and items that will prove very important in your divorce case:
- Get your income tax returns for the past three years.
- Collect and print bank statements for all of your bank accounts for the past two years.
- Obtain the year, make, model and VIN for each vehicle.
- Get your pay stubs for the past 18 months to two years.
- Collect investment statements such as those for IRA’s, for Section 401(k)’s or Thrift Saving Plan’s.
- Get the legal descriptions of any real property you own (for example they look like this: Lot 3, Block 10, Subdivision, etc.) These descriptions will be needed if any property is transferred as part of a divorce.
- Go through your marital home with your smart phone and take pictures of all of the property that you believe will need to be accounted for, such as entertainment centers, televisions, appliances, collections like guns, figurines, etc.
- Collect any items on Facebook, Twitter or intimate emails to which you have open and equal access. Be careful not to invade any email accounts which your spouse considers to be secret. This is dangerous territory because there is a growing body of case law that is holding that persons have a reasonable expectation of privacy in these sites. And, shut down your own social media since you may be publishing damaging information about yourself.
- Get school attendance records and report cards for your children. But, note that these records are school records. They belong to the school and your lawyer will need to get the official copies of these records through a subpoena and through custodial affidavits of those in charge of the records. But, at least you can see patterns in behaviors and grades of your children to determine whether to seek the official records from the records custodians.
- If you have any suspicions about phone abuse, such as pornography or a spouse seeking a relationship outside of the marriage, then see if you can get the records from the phone company.
Sooner or later these documents and items may need to be accessed so start the collection process as soon as you feel a divorce case is imminent.
As soon as you feel that a divorce case is coming then seek out a divorce lawyer to confirm what you will need to start to collect.
If you have any questions then call us at (915) 593-6600.