People who are in the process of filing for divorce are usually so distraught that they are not fully prepared. Here are some of the documents you need to have ready before you consult with an attorney. This information is needed before filing for divorce.

When you are preparing for divorce it is very important that you have a clear picture of where you and your spouse stand financially.  The most important goal of the divorce process is to make an equitable distribution of all marital assets and debts.  In order for you to make sure that you get your fair share, you need to know all the marital assets and debts.  Most marital assets will be obvious—like your home, car, artwork and financial accounts.  You also need to look into pension plans, inheritances and belongings brought into the marriage. You need to make a detailed list of all possible assets and organize the documentation on them. The same thing applies to your debts.

When you give this information to your attorney, keep the originals and give him copies. Never give your attorney your originals.

  • Make a list of everything that you owned before the marriage, especially any property.
  • Make a list of any inheritances.
  • Make a list of everything that was purchased after the marriage, whether or not it was jointly purchased. These will come into play when it needs to be determined how to distribute the marital assets.
  • Make a list of your current personal and joint marital debt. This consists of credit card debt as well as any loans, mortgages, etc. When you are filing for divorce it is very important that you contact your credit card companies to put a hold on your credit cards. This is a protective measure to prevent your spouse from using them and incurring any additional debt.
  • Make a list of your daily and monthly living expenses. Keep receipts of money that is spent that is not on your credit cards or paid for by check.

Most importantly, do not make any agreements with your spouse, whether written or verbal, without consulting with your attorney first. This will prevent future problems if you have agreed to something that you will later realize was a mistake.