Based on our experience in preparing and taking divorce actions to trial,
the following are the 51 most useful document categories to have copies of at
the start of any divorce action:
- Marriage Certificate, birth certificates, and social security
numbers (or copies of cards) of all family members.
- U.S. Passports for you and spouse (and of the children.)
- Appointment diaries for you, your spouse or family business for
last five years or more to cover all significant events in the marriage.
- Personal diaries of you or spouse's.
- Resumes for both spouses.
- Tax returns for the last three years (federal, state and local with
all attachments). If your spouse is in the area of sales or receives
commissions, we recommend five years of returns.
- W2s and Form 1099s for every year to have a tax return.
- Spouse's pay stubs for at least past 12 weeks.
- Your pay stubs for the same period.
- Documentation for all other sources of income, including but not
limited to social security, disability and unemployment benefits.
- If the family maintains cash at home, photograph/copy of the
currency laid out so that the denomination and serials numbers of the currency
can be seen.
- List of Safety Deposit Box contents, including box number and bank
branch location. Also the inventory of any safe maintained at the
- Checking account(s) statements, including the cancelled checks,
deposit slips and copies of check registers for the last 5 years including
closed accounts. If you will be claiming your spouse wasted marital
assets, we would recommend these documents inclusive of the time period for
the marital waste.
- Savings account(s) statements for past 5 years including closed
- Children Savings Accounts established during the marriage including
an trusts established by you or relatives.
- Trust Documents or similar devices established for/by you or your
- U.S. Savings Bonds for you and/or spouse and for children.
- Certificates of Deposit for the last three years including closed
- Pension documents including valuations for you and your spouse for
all employers during the course of the marriage.
- Employer-sponsored Savings Programs, (401Ks, 403Bs, Keogh,
SEP-IRAs, Profit-sharing, Defined Benefit etc...) including valuations for you
and your spouse.
- Individual Retirement Account (IRA) statements.
- Dividend and Interest statements, including any on tax-free
- Stocks and Brokerage Account statements which include buy/sell
orders, margin calls etc...
- Documentation of outstanding Insurance Claims for either spouse
and/or family business regarding liability and/or negligence which are seeking
- Proof of Inheritance(s) received by either of you including copies
of any trust documents and/or will(s).
- Power(s) of attorney you or your spouse hold for a third persons.
- All judgments you, your spouse or family business hold against
- Life Insurance policies, for either of you.
- Auto Insurance policies (most current).
- Medical Insurance Plan including information on hospitalization,
dental, eyeglass, prescription coverage.
- Homeowner's Insurance coverage, full policy and declaration sheets
- Burial Insurance coverage, prepaid funeral arrangements, cemetery
- Self-employment (Family Business) documents (for either spouse's
business) which indicate income and losses, assets and liabilities including
copies of any business income tax returns.
- Partnership Agreements or other agreements for any businesses with
persons/companies outside the marriage.
- Business Banking records including canceled statements, checks,
deposit slips and copy of account register.
- Financial Statements individually or of the family or other
business including balance sheets, profit and loss statements, income
statements, operating expense reports, customer lists, and accounts receivable
and payable for at least the last 5 years.
- Family or other business Valuations.
- Buy/Sell agreements.
- Business By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation or Formation,
including any doing business as information.
- Business Leases or loan documents
- Bills for your monthly expenses, such as utility, cable, propane,
water/sewer, grocery, child care, loans, etc... of at least the last 12
- Credit Card statements, slips, credits for at least the last three
years. If marital waste is claimed, obtain records to cover the time
period for the marital waste.
- Loans, Loan applications (auto, home improvement, personal etc...)
and promissory notes for any family debt(s) by either you or your spouse.
- Current lawsuits and judgments against either spouse or family
- Deeds to all real estate, in any of the party's name(s).
- Mortgages and Notes for all debt against the real property.
- Real estate tax and assessment records.
- Real estate appraisals and/or market analysis prepared anytime
during the marriage.
- All bills/statements showing any home improvements, the cost, the
date, what work was performed. A home improvement is any improvement that is
beyond the general maintenance of the home (window repair versus window
- Electronic financial information either on an Internet site, or on
a personal computer, printouts or copies of program data or site data
(normally maintained on a data backup diskette).
- A list of all assets acquired prior to the marriage, including