Both you and your partner are going to need the same information during your divorce. You can find a checklist of the most usual documents here. Ideally (let me just throw out the possibility), the two of you will cooperate and share the information. But if you’re just not at that place in your relationship at the moment, here are some other ways to find the documents you need.
Your File Cabinets. At the risk of stating the obvious, this is the most likely place to start and it is your most cost-effective, efficient option. Most everyone has a place where they keep their important papers, and in all honesty, a lot of unimportant papers too. Hats off to the more organized among us! If emotions or stress levels are high, you might want to wait until your partner is not home to conduct your search.
Online. Technology will help you find many documents. For bank/financial or credit card accounts, just log on and print what you need. Your property tax statement is also available online. And you can find and estimate of the value of your vehicles online at websites such as Edmunds, Kelly Blue Book or NADA. For your house, you also can find an estimate of the value online at websites such as Zillow, Redfin or Trulia.
Direct From The Source. Contact your car insurance company, the utility company, your bank for statements. Utility companies might be able to give you a history report that includes averages. Employers or human resource departments can provide income, health benefit/insurance and retirement account information. If you are not the employee or the account holder, this option may not work.
From Your Partner. Ask nicely for a copy. It’s worth a try. Especially if your partner is going to need some information from you.
Think carefully about turning over your documents first thing. It could go a long way toward establishing cooperation and just might lead to an agreement.
Of course, you will have to share most documents with your partner eventually, either voluntarily or in response to a subpoena or discovery request from his/her lawyer. If you don’t they will get them direct from the sources and ask the Judge to make you pay for their trouble. Think carefully about turning over your documents first thing. It could go a long way toward establishing cooperation and just might lead to an agreement. Cooperation on the things you’ll have to do anyway will save you a lot of time, money and aggravation. And it will free you up to work on more important issues.
Authored by Cynthia L. Patton, Esq. This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult an attorney for specific legal advice.