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Divorce Planning: A Basic Checklist

If you are planning a divorce, your divorce attorney needs certain information to assist you in the process. While each case is different, the most common documents are briefly discussed below. These are documents your divorce attorney should have at or prior to your first meeting.

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements, also referred to as premarital agreements, can dictate child custody arrangements, division of property, and other matters. Whether or not the prenuptial agreement is valid requires legal analysis. If you have a prenuptial agreement, or you think you might have something that constitutes a prenuptial agreement, be sure to provide a copy of this to your family law attorney as early as practicable.

Court Documents

If you or your spouse has filed for a civil protection order, a restraining order, a harassment order, or criminal charges have been filed, plan to provide a copy of any documents relating to this. This includes any temporary orders. These documents may be relevant regardless of whether the court granted the request. Consequently, your lawyer should be made aware of this part of your relationship.

A List of Assets

“Assets” are items of property that have value. Obviously, your home and your cars have value. Similarly, the contents of your home have value. From Great Grandma Esther’s china to the tools in the garage, each item has some financial value. Some may also have sentimental value, which your lawyer should also be aware of, but in listing assets, try to keep dollar amounts realistic.

Additional assets include your savings accounts, stocks, bonds, and any ownership interest you may have in a business. Also consider retirement accounts including deferred compensation accounts, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and IRAs.

Marital Assets vs. Non-Marital Assets

While making the list, take the time to note how and when items were acquired. The difference between marital and non-marital assets is the basis for an article of its own in the coming weeks. Suffice it to say, whether property is legally subject to the divorce is based in large part on whether the property was acquired as marital property or non-marital property.

Documentation in Support of Child Support or Alimony Payments

To determine the appropriate amount of child support or alimony, the following documents are helpful:

  • Personal tax returns;
  • Business tax returns;
  • 1099s;
  • Pay stubs;
  • W-2s; and
  • Bank statements.

The family budget can also provide your lawyer with insight about regular expenses.

A List of All Debts

Finally, all debts should be detailed. This includes debts in the names of both parties, as well as debts in the name of either party individually.
Divorce requires considerable planning. Having an experienced and highly reputable divorce attorney in Cincinnati can assist you by navigating successfully through a divorce. To schedule a consultation please contact the law office of Zachary D. Smith, LLC at (513)275-1164 or visit www.ZDSLaw.com for further information.


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