During the divorce process, your New Jersey divorce attorney may ask you to share certain documents with your attorney. It is imperative that you do though so that your attorney has all of the pertinent information he or she will need to help you succeed in your case. Since there are so many documents that are required to be disclosed, I know first hand that it can get overwhelming at times to remember to share all necessary documents. That is why my New Jersey divorce law firm recommends that our clients follow this helpful checklist to ensure that they gather all of the documents that they will need to disclose throughout their divorce proceeding. Let’s explore.
1. Save your pay stubs once you begin to contemplate a New Jersey divorce. It is important that you have some form of evidence to present to your attorney that you earn income. If you don’t remember to start gathering pay stubs at first, just make sure that you have them saved for at least three months before your attorney will serve the financial affidavit upon the opposing party.
2. Gather any IRS forms you may have, such as a W-2 or 1099. As a rule of thumb, if you receive any forms from the IRS or your accountant, save them to present to your attorney. Again, these help with financial data collection that will be utilized in all aspects of the divorce proceeding.
3. Personal tax returns. You will have to disclose all of your federal and state income tax returns first and foremost. Additionally, you will probably have to disclose gift tax returns if you were gifted a substantial sum of money within the past three years. Lastly in terms of tax returns, you will be required to disclose any intangible person property tax returns, whether they were filed personally by you or on your behalf.
4. Along the same lines as your personal tax returns, if you have a significant interest in a partnership or corporation, you will be required to disclose all partnership and corporate tax returns for the previous year.
5. If you have recently applied for a loan of any kind, it is vital that you keep a copy of the loan application to present to your attorney. This document will be important to disclose because it is proof that you have attempted to obtain or have obtained credit.
6. Real estate documents. If you have recently purchased a home with your spouse, make sure you have the deed to the property. Additionally, if the bank gave you a mortgage for the house you will need to present that to your attorney. If you have recently sold the marital home prior to the divorce proceeding, obtain a copy of the closing statement to disclose to your lawyer. It does not matter if the house was in your name individually or jointly with your spouse; you will be required to disclose any documents related to the property.
7. Prenups and postnups. Any type of marital agreement entered into prior to or after the marriage will need to be disclosed to your divorce attorney. Even if that attorney is the one who drafted the prenup in the first place, you must disclose it and remind him or her that one exists.
8 Promissory Notes. If you owe any money to your spouse or are owed money by your spouse, please gather the documentation to prove this and disclose it.
9. Brokerage, investment, and retirement accounts. If you have money invested in the stock market, it is imperative to share the account information with your attorney. Furthermore, any retirement funds or pension plans must be disclosed. Most importantly, you will be required to disclose recent statements from checking accounts, savings accounts, mutual funds, and CDs.
10. Vehicle certificates and registration forms. If you own a car, motorcycle, boat, or even private jet, the title and registration certificates must be proved to your attorney. They will be helpful when determining equitable distribution.
11. Lastly, if you have a life insurance policy, share that with your attorney.
While this checklist can go on and on depending on the client, these are the basic documents you will need to present in the Superior Court of New Jersey. As a New Jersey divorce lawyer I advise all of my clients to print this list to help them stay organized and on top of their game, and to tailor the list to suit their individual needs. Thank you.