Before You File for Divorce


Before You File for Divorce: Gather Your Records

If you are filing for a divorce, your attorney will need documents that show your current financial situation. You may not have all of these documents handy, but it’s important that you gather as much information as you can before you start the process. Use this list and keep these documents, or copies in the safest place you can. That may mean keeping them outside your home, in a safe deposit box or storing them with a trusted friend.


Personal Information

  • Your identifying information, birth certificate, Social Security number, immigration/citizenship information (if applicable), and Passport.
  • Children’s birth certificates and Social Security numbers


Financial Records

  • 3 years of Tax returns (for you and your spouse if you have not filed jointly)
  • 3 to 6 weeks of recent pay stubs for you and your spouse
  • Proof of other income such as pension, SSI, SSD, annuity payments, etc.
  • 1 year of bank statements – all accounts.
  • List of all bank accounts (yours and spouse)
  • List of financial assets, Stocks, bonds, real estate, collectibles, art or other possessions with significant value.
  • Recent credit card statements
  • Loan statements
  • Leases or deeds for all properties
  • Mortgage documents
  • Business ownership documents
  • Car titles and loans
  • Insurance policies health, dental, life, automobile, homeowners, or renters
  • Pension plans and retirement accounts
  • Foreclosure orders
  • Bankruptcy orders
  • Will for you and your spouse
  • Information regarding any Trust that names you, your spouse or your children as a beneficiary.
  • Receipts, claims or bills for personal injury or property damage caused by your spouse


Expense Information

  • List of monthly expenses, (food, clothing, shelter, education, travel, etc.)
  • Copies of your monthly bills
  • Documentation if you or your children are receiving any form of public assistance, adoption stipends or outside support.

Documents Related to Your Marriage.

  • Marriage certificate
  • Pre-nuptual agreements
  • Domestic violence restraining orders / police or hospital reports
  • Name change orders
  • Adoption of Children

It may seem troublesome but don’t give up; you’re gathering the tools needed to make your divorce successful and equitable. If you feel that gathering this information might endanger you or your family get advice from your attorney on how to gather your information safely.


When you start the divorce process with this information, your attorney will have a clear picture of the marital finances. More importantly, you’ll save time and legal fees. With this information in hand you can reach an agreement to settle your case fairly. And if you need to fight, you’ll be armed with evidence.