What Information to Take to a Divorce Attorney

By Jennifer Williams

Preparing for your meeting with a divorce attorney can shorten the meeting time, which saves you money. But even more important, the more information you give the attorney, the better prepared he is to represent you, and the faster your divorce will proceed.

Preparing for your meeting with a divorce attorney can shorten the meeting time, which saves you money. But even more important, the more information you give the attorney, the better prepared he is to represent you, and the faster your divorce will proceed.

Evidence of Residency

Your attorney will ask to see your driver's license, a state ID or other state-issued documentation to determine how long you've lived in the state. This information determines whether the state where you live has jurisdiction over your divorce. All states have residency requirements that you must meet for the court to make decisions in your case. For example, you must live in Florida for at least six months before you may file for divorce. Nevada requires six weeks of resdiency. If your spouse has lived in the state long enough, and you can prove his length of residency, this gives the state jurisdiction as well.

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Personal Information and Statistics

Bring all personal information about yourself, your spouse and any minor children of your marriage. This includes dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses for the past five years, copies of the children's birth certificates or adoption records, copies of marriage licenses and previous divorce certificates for you and your spouse, and all dates and locations of those prior marriages and divorces. If you and your spouse entered into any marriage contracts, such as a prenuptial or antenuptual agreement, bring a copy of that as well. Your attorney may need this information to include in your initial petition for divorce, and to answer standard discovery questions asked by your spouse's attorney.

Financial Information

Your attorney needs all your financial information to fill out the financial affidavit that must be filed in your divorce, to answer discovery questions requested by your spouse's lawyer and to calculate spousal and child support. This information includes current and at least three years worth of tax returns. Gather salary statements or at least three months of pay stubs showing your incomes, and bank and investment account statements. You'll also need credit card statements, life insurance policies, retirement account statements, the value of any art or jewelry collections, property deeds and copies of any mortgages, current mortgage statements, property tax bills and home insurance statements.

A List of Questions

If you haven't been through a divorce before, the process may seem complicated and a bit intimidating. As you gather the information and documentation you'll need, make a list of any questions about the steps involved in your divorce or terminology you don't understand; your attorney can answer these questions during the meeting.

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Attorney Checklist for a Divorce Case

References

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