There are many factors that can impact the ease and speed of a divorce, from the relationship between a couple to the assets they own. One factor that is highly important but often overlooked is having the right documentation. Those who have paperwork such as proof of income, tax returns and property lists in hand can make things far easier on themselves, and at minimum, they can cut down on back-and-forth with legal representatives.
Here are some of the financial documents that will likely be required when going into a divorce:
- Personal/family tax returns for both spouses going back three to five years. This is particularly important if divorcing a person has a fluctuating income, as it can establish an average household income.
- Business tax returns, ideally going back five years, for any enterprise where either spouse was involved. This includes businesses where one or both parties had partial interest or a partnership.
- Pay stubs or other proof of income for both spouses. A history of bank deposits can be used here.
- Employment documentation for both spouses, included contracts, details of stock options and benefits statements.
- Account statements for all personal and shared accounts, including retirement accounts and pension statements.
In addition to the above, it is important to have documents related to property owned, household expenses, insurance policies and estate planning. In a contentious divorce, it is not uncommon to have challenges obtaining some of this paperwork. This is especially true in situations where one party controls most of the finances or documentation for the family. Those who are having issues with accessing important information leading up to or during a divorce should discuss this issue with a West Virginia lawyer.