Once you decide that divorce is the right option for you, you should take certain steps to begin the process of ending your marriage, including speaking with an attorney who handles family law and divorce cases.
Divorce proceedings can seem daunting at first. It is often a complicated matter, even if you and your spouse choose to resolve your divorce through mediation. It is helpful to prepare for the divorce process by maintaining a file of essential documents and information relating to their divorce.
Organization during your divorce is very important
While it is not a requirement to maintain a file of important documents and other information for your divorce, it can be an invaluable resource for both yourself and your attorney. Keeping track of everything while navigating the legal process can create even more stress for yourself. That is why taking the time to prepare yourself and get organized is important.
But what should you include in your file?
If a document pertains to any element of your marriage or your divorce, you should include it in your personal divorce file. This frequently includes any legal or financial documents, such as:
- Banking account monthly statements;
- Credit card monthly statements and bills;
- Loan documents and statements;
- Insurance and retirement account statements and other information;
- Federal and State tax returns;
- Property deeds and documents related to the value of your real property;
- Any estate planning documents.
Gathering all of these documents in one place for easy access can be greatly beneficial to your case.. This is because it will help your attorney be more prepared, and it is often easy to overlook certain information, especially if you think it is not affected by your divorce. For example, it is common for individuals to overlook the effect a divorce can have on any estate planning documents created during the marriage. Then they might not adjust their plans to meet their current circumstances after the divorce.
Keep your file on hand after divorce too
This file is not only helpful to prepare you and assist you during your divorce. It is also a useful resource after you finalize your divorce as well. You can keep copies of all the agreements you and your ex-spouse made during the proceedings, including:
- The divorce judgment;
- The custody agreement and parenting plan, if applicable;
- Support agreements and any other court orders or contract agreements.
By having this information easily accessible, you can ensure you and your ex-spouse abide by the rules you agreed to, so you can uphold your family’s best interests – as well as your own – after the divorce.