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Documents to gather before a divorce

Before initiating a divorce, a Texas couple should gather three types of financial documents. This preparation process can be particularly important for spouses who might be less informed about the financial side of the marriage.

First, a soon-to-be ex should gather three years' worth of tax returns and supporting documentation. They can get copies of the returns from the IRS if necessary. If there is a business, this element could be more complicated. One should also pull three years' of credit card records and bank statements. These documents will be helpful in creating a lifestyle analysis, which is essentially a record of all expenses and a look at the financial picture both before and after the divorce. It is important to be as thorough and accurate as possible. For example, although inflation might be low overall, this is not reflected in the costs of education and health care. Expense trackers found online can help automate this process.

Doing this work will also help when it is time to file a financial affidavit for the divorce. This must include information such as assets, expenses and income. An individual should also provide any information about retirement accounts, valuable collections, investments and any other assets.

In a community property state like Texas, any assets acquired after the marriage may be considered to belong equally to both spouses. Furthermore, a spouse might also be able to claim half of the appreciation value of any property brought into the marriage. In a high-asset divorce, the process of property division can be particularly complex. However, an experienced family law attorney could provide a client with valuable guidance.

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