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Divorce Checklist: Important Documents You Need


Getting a divorce can feel overwhelming emotionally and mentally. To make it less stressful, have a checklist of the paperwork you need to file for divorce and get your divorce attorney, which will help ensure a smoother process.

Even if you and your spouse are having an amicable divorce, it can become stressful and time-consuming with the extensive paperwork necessary for an Alabama divorce.

If you are planning your divorce, it is crucial to gather all necessary documentation. This may sound intimidating; however, below, we have a comprehensive checklist for you so you can gather everything you need to meet with your divorce attorney.

Essential Documents To Give Your Divorce Attorney

The Alabama divorce laws, the circumstances of your marriage, and your personal and financial situation will determine the documents you need. Make sure to gather prenuptial, postnuptial, and separation agreements as well. Choose a lawyer who understands your divorce’s complexity to ensure the most favorable outcome possible.

All Financial Documents

Dividing finances is usually one of divorce’s more critical and complex issues. You’ll need to ensure that you have your general financial documents in order, including bank account statements, investments, and shared properties.

Financial documentation may include the following:

  • Income documentation, including paystub (W2) from your employer or self-employment income (1099), K-1 forms, income tax returns from the last five years
  • Income from investment property, rentals or lease agreements, royalties, dividends, interest, lottery winnings, disbursement summaries, management agreements, etc.
  • Your banking information, including deposit slips, canceled checks, passbooks, monthly bank statements, and bank charge notices
  • Your employment records, including all the benefits that you receive like travel, expenses, club, spa, or country club memberships, vehicles, vacation, pay, severance pay, personal living expenses, and education expenses
  • Both party’s brokerage statements, including certificates for bonds, stocks, and mutual funds
  • Both parties’ retirement account statements, including IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP-IRA, 401(k)s, 401(e)(3) 457’s, 412 E3, military, pensions, etc.
  • All life insurance policies
  • Wills and trust agreements, power of attorney documents, and health care directives
  • A safe deposit box and inventory
  • All general insurance policies, such as accident, disability, health, annuities, casualty, property, liability, and motor vehicle
  • All business documents that outline partnership agreements, articles of incorporation, certificates of formation, stock, redemption, buy/sell contracts, tax returns from businesses, and financial statements

For anyone without a personal bank account or credit card, it is best to open one before the finalization of your divorce.

Personal Documents

Gather all documents that show personal information that may help determine a fair and equitable split of property and assets during a divorce.

These documents and information may include the following:

  • Social Security number
  • Legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Your contact information, such as phone numbers, mailing addresses, and email addresses
  • Employer name and contact information
  • Birth and death certificates
  • Marriage licenses 
  • Citizenship papers
  • All membership cards or documentation that reflects membership to health clubs are spas, country clubs, private clubs, or any other group organizations during the last five years of your marriage.
  • Medical records, if one party has a severe medical condition that could influence the decisions when determining support
  • Any court records of judgments and pleadings that occurred during your marriage
  • Police records, if one party has a criminal history

Shared and Individual Assets 

Any assets accumulated during your marriage and those brought into the marriage individually may be re-distributed during your divorce. The divorce laws of the state you live in and any pre-existing agreements in place will help determine how the marital assets will be split.

Documents related to shared assets include:

  • Loan documents for financing, vehicles, boats, RVs, airplanes, etc during the marriage
  • Sale and option agreements on individual and joint real estate holdings
  • Real property, deeds, mortgages, rental lease agreements, purchase agreements, appraisals, and any expenses that are connected to any property owned by you or your spouse
  • Personal property documents may include insurance policies, invoices, appraisals on jewelry, artwork, fixtures, furs, furnishings, equipment, antiques, or collections, such as coins, stamps, gold, etc.

Hire a divorce attorney whose skill set includes navigating the division of marital property and debt in Alabama.

Shared and Individual Debts

Dividing up debt is as important as dividing up assets during a divorce. It is essential to show proof of all outstanding debts owed by you or to you, including a shared debt co-signed by you.

  • Credit card statements
  • Tax debt
  • Mortgages
  • Student loans
  • Property liens
  • Promissory notes
  • Lawsuits either previously filed or pending
  • Loan applications
  • Utility bills, including cell phones, gas, water, and electric

Documentation on Children

If you and your partner have children, having certain custody and parenting agreement documents is crucial. The documents necessary to help determine child custody will include the following:

  • The child’s date of birth, birth certificate, and legal name
  • Contact information, including phone numbers, addresses and email addresses
  • Health and life insurance policies
  • Social Security card
  • Immunization records, including names of new or old doctors with addresses and telephone numbers
  • Child-related expenses, such as daycare, lessons, tuition, medication, or insurance

The circumstances in every divorce are different, and if your divorce is uncontested with minimal assets, you may only need some of the things listed above. In some cases, there may be photos, videos, or social media information that is particularly incriminating for your spouse. It should always be preserved. To ensure that property division in your divorce settlement is fair, it is always best to have an open conversation with an attorney knowledgeable about Alabama divorce laws and provide a comprehensive overview of everything that could influence your case.

Brackin Law Firm In Baldwin County Is Here To Represent You During Your Divorce

At Brackin Law Firm, we understand the challenges of navigating divorce and Family Court. Our legal team has over 40 years of experience providing comprehensive family law representation in the Baldwin County court system.

We can help you whether you’re going through a divorce, child custody, estate planning, elder law, criminal defense, DUIs, and more. Contact us today, and we will start representing you immediately to protect your family and rights.

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