Information to Compile before Filing for Divorce

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Why Do I Need to Gather Information Before Filing for Divorce?

As with any legal claim, it is important that the parties understand which information to compile before filing for divorce.  However, in a divorce situation, this becomes even more important as the parties must often work in a cooperative manner in order for the results to be fair and efficient.  Each party will be required to exchange information and documents regarding such issues as property distribution, assets, and child custody and visitation rights.

Often times, some information is considered “privileged”, or confidential, and cannot be accessed by the other party or their lawyer.  By starting early, compiling information before the divorce can help you stay organized and prepared for any issues that might arise during the court proceedings.

What Types of Documents and Information Do I Need to Compile?

You will need to prepare many different types of documents and information in preparation for a divorce claim or lawsuit.  Many of these can serve as evidence during the trial in case the matters are contested by the opposing party.  In particular, the areas of property distribution, listing of assets, and child-related expenses are among the most heavily contested matters during the typical process of divorce.  

You should prepare to organize and gather information in the following categories:

Personal Information:

Property Documents and Financial Records:

Information Regarding Children:

Business-Related Information (especially if owned or operated jointly by the spouses):

As you can see, it can take some time to compile all the information necessary for a divorce filing.  Each individual case is different, and some proceedings may require less documentation while others might require more.  Thus it is helpful to begin working with a lawyer well before the claim is filed so that you have time to obtain all the information needed for court.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help in Filing a Divorce Claim?

It is usually necessary to work with a divorce lawyer when preparing for a divorce claim.  Your attorney can instruct you regarding which information to compile before filing for divorce.  It might actually be necessary to contact a lawyer several weeks or months before the divorce proceedings actually begin.  Each state has different laws and filing deadlines for divorce and other related claims. 

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Last Modified: 11-08-2011 04:08 PM PST

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