Attorney Checklist for a Divorce Case

By Jim Thomas

Under almost any circumstances, divorce is a traumatic process. If the divorce is uncontested and you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are in complete agreement as to all the terms of the breakup, you might elect to proceed without an attorney. However, a good divorce attorney can be an immense help if your divorce is contested or there are complicated issues, such as child custody and visitation rights. A divorce lawyer often will walk you through the steps necessary to make the divorce as painless as possible.

List of Assets and Liabilities

You will need to furnish your attorney with a complete list of your marital assets and liabilities as well as any personal assets and liabilities that do not count as marital assets, such as property you owned prior to marriage. Proof of assets includes payment stubs, bank statements, certificates of deposits, records of stock portfolios and valuations of personal property, such as home furnishings, art, clothing, jewelry, computers and home office equipment. A list of liabilities includes credit card statements, mortgages, property tax statements, loan documents, utility bills and bills for such items as school tuition and medical bills.

List of Documents

Your attorney will need copies of contractual documents that relate to martial assets. These include employment contracts, life, auto, property and health insurance policies, pension and retirement account statements, and the contents of safety deposit boxes or bank accounts in the Cayman Islands.The checklist of documents also includes copies of legal papers, such as your birth certificate, Social Security card and will, as well as advance health care directives and powers of attorney in case you become incapacitated and your appointed agent must step in to make medical or financial decisions on your behalf.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Practical Checklist

Some attorneys offer more than just a checklist for documents, assets and liabilities. For example, the Garg & Associates law firm includes in its preparation for divorce checklist a number of practical recommendations that can smooth the process. The recommendations include getting a cell phone in your name and a new email address, so you can keep your communications private, stopping direct deposit paychecks from being deposited in a marital bank account, stopping contributions to any retirement accounts, continuing payments to your mortgage and car payments and making sure your health insurance remains in effect.

Custody and Visitation Checklist

If you have kids, family court will require you to come up with a parenting plan that deals with all issues relating to your children. If you fail to do so, the judge will decide the issues himself. You and your attorney need to discuss the type of custody arrangement you desire, propose a detailed visitation plan for the noncustodial parent, and decide who will make major decisions in the life of the children, such as where they go to school and church. If you are seeking child or spousal support, you must prepare a request based on your state's child support payment guidelines, adding circumstances that the court should consider if you are asking the judge for modification from the guidelines.

Emotional Checklist

Garg & Associates also offer suggestions for coping with the emotional trauma of divorce. The law firm advises you to go to counseling and, if you have children, send them to a therapist as well. In a contested divorce, you should be prepared for legal attacks from your spouse, which can include such allegations as infidelity and child neglect or abuse. Be absolutely honest with your attorney in discussing such allegations, so he can provide the best possible representation. Do positive things for yourself, such as exercise. This will enhance your health, sense of well-being and ability to cope with stress.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What Do I Do if I Think My Wife Is Going to Divorce Me?

References

Related articles

What Is the Difference Between a Divorce Lawyer & a Family Lawyer?

The terms divorce law and family law are sometimes used interchangeably, but they should not be. Divorce law is only one of a myriad issues involved in family law. An attorney specializing in family law matters can handle a divorce, but a divorce attorney may not have the expertise to represent you in other family law matters.

How to Prepare a Last Will

A valid will lets you control the disposition of your assets after you die; otherwise, state law distributes your property to next of kin. A valid will can name a guardian for your minor children and an executor for your estate. Your circumstances dictate what type of will you need: a simple will that you can do yourself works well for if you have little property or few heirs, but legal help may be appropriate if you have more complex holdings and many heirs.

Legal Will Information

A last will and testament is a legal document detailing the manner in which you want your possessions disposed after your death. Even though you may not want to think about such matters, creating a will is a wise thing to do. If you die intestate, meaning without a will, a court will distribute your property according to state law. Having a valid will can ensure that your assets will be divided in the manner that you view as fair.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Prepare for Divorce While Married

If you are considering a divorce, there are some important steps you should take before filing a complaint. These steps ...

What Documents Do I Need to Bring to Prepare a Last Will & Testament?

You can help your attorney prepare your last will and testament by bringing certain documents with you when you and ...

My Husband Has Filed for Divorce & Refuses to Talk to Me So What Should I Do?

Divorce is a common legal action, but the frequency with which it occurs does not diminish its stressfulness. Receiving ...

What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need to Make a Will?

Lawyers supply a variety of legal services that range from defending individuals charged with crimes to providing large ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED