Documents Needed for Your Missouri Divorce Case
If you’re considering parting ways with your spouse, one of the first things you should do is begin gathering your financial documents as soon as possible. Dividing your marital property, splitting marital debts, deciding custody, and determining matters such as alimony and child support can be overwhelming — and collecting the documents needed for divorce can be a time-consuming process. Importantly, the following documents can provide your attorney with the insight they need regarding your financial situation and help them prepare for negotiations to ensure a fair outcome in your case.
Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements
One of the first things a court will consider when dividing marital assets in a divorce is whether a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement was in place. If you and your spouse executed a valid prenup before you were married — or a postnup was signed during your marriage — the document may already have decided many of the issues concerning property division in your divorce. A prenup or postnup can characterize property as separate or marital, establish spousal support, specify how debts will be allocated, and protect business interests.
Documents Related to Income Information
Spouses are required to disclose their income during the divorce process, including any additional income earned through side hustles, tips, or overtime. Income information is necessary to help the court assess your financial position in order to determine things like alimony, child support, and property division. Typically, the documents needed for divorce to show proof of income include paycheck stubs, tax returns for the last three years, and financial documentation for any business in which you had an interest.
A Complete List of Your Property
Compile a list of all tangible and intangible property and assets — whether you think it should be classified as separate property or marital property. It can sometimes be difficult to know which category a piece of property falls into, and your attorney can help ensure it is characterized correctly. Your property list may include the following:
- Artwork and photography
- Household furnishings
- Outdoor tools
- Intellectual property
- Digital assets
- Frequent flyer miles
- Property kept in a safe deposit box
If the value of the property may fluctuate or it is not known, you may need to obtain an accurate appraisal to make sure it is divided fairly.
Banking Information and Credit Card Statements
Banking and credit card information can be useful to paint a complete picture of each party’s financial situation. It can also provide evidence of hidden assets and any economic misconduct during the marriage. Documents needed for divorce can include credit card statements, bank statements for checking and savings accounts, passbooks, check registers, canceled checks, bank charge notices, deposit slips, and any other transaction records.
Documents in Connection with Marital Debts
Just as your marital assets must be divided in a divorce, any debts acquired from the date of the marriage must also be divided. All debts taken out during the marriage must be disclosed, regardless of which spouse acquired the debt. Documents related to debt can include credit card statements, loan applications, mortgages, medical debt documentation, and unpaid utility bills.
A mortgage may be considered a marital debt if it was assumed during the course of the marriage. Dividing it in divorce can be complex — and is often linked to what happens to the family home. In some cases, the house will be sold, and the proceeds can be used to pay the remainder of the mortgage. In other situations, one of the spouses may continue to live in the residence and assume the mortgage payments. It’s best to have your mortgage documents readily available as you begin the divorce process.
Financing Agreements and Titles to Motor Vehicles
Other documents needed for divorce concern those related to motor vehicle ownership. Financing, title, and registration documents concerning all cars, SUVs, boats, and other vehicles owned individually or jointly should be gathered as you prepare for divorce proceedings. In some situations, it may be necessary to obtain an appraisal to determine a vehicle’s fair market value.
Pension and Retirement Plans
Retirement assets may be subject to equitable distribution during a divorce. You should collect all documentation related to retirement benefits, pension plans, 401(k) accounts, 403(b) accounts, IRAs, employee stock options, and life insurance accounts. Pensions and retirement accounts can be some of the most significant assets in a divorce and it is crucial to ensure they are divided fairly.
Documents Related to Business Interests
Business interests can be considered a marital asset if you started the company during the marriage. In addition, even if you operate the business without your spouse’s input, the income derived from it during your marriage will be considered marital property. Documents needed for divorce when dividing a business is at issue can include balance sheets, income statements, tax returns, and any other financial information necessary to properly appraise the business.
Child Custody Documentation
If child custody is at issue in your divorce, you may need to present not only financial information, but also records concerning your child, documentation of communications with the other parent, and other evidence relevant to the specific facts of your case. It may be a good idea to keep a detailed custody journal to provide your attorney with the information they need to advocate for your position.
Contact an Experienced Missouri Divorce Attorney
The financial situation in every marriage is unique and a skillful divorce attorney can best advise you regarding the documents needed for divorce in your specific case. Divorce and family law attorney Mark A. Wortman provides knowledgeable representation to clients in the greater Kansas City, Missouri area for divorce and a broad scope of family law matters. To schedule a confidential consultation to learn how he can assist you, please contact him today online or by calling (816) 523-6100.