Compiling the Necessary Documents for Your Divorce in New Jersey

No one can sufficiently prepare for the emotional toll of divorce, as the disassembling of a life is an overwhelming and often devastating proposition. However, you can adequately prepare for the practical components of the divorce process, providing yourself with a head-start that will facilitate the transition and allow you to reach an expedient and favorable solution. Perhaps the most important and beneficial step that you can take is compiling the necessary documents for the divorce process. In essence, these details, from financial, to personal, to medical, will provide your attorney with an accurate portrait of your life, and ultimately, a basis from which to craft a tailored solution for your future.

The guiding principle of this phase of your divorce can be summarized as “preparation and organization,” both of which are critical elements for your success. When addressing issues ranging from child custody and child support, to alimony and division of assets, the documents that outline and support your requests become fundamental contributors to the success of your case. The following is a checklist which will serve you as you prepare for your meetings with your attorney and as he or she prepares for your case management conference. I generally recommend that you identify and obtain as many of these as possible, but difficulties finding certain information may arise and we can address these as we move forward. Also, some other considerations simply may not apply to your situation, in which case, feel free to disregard these.

Personal Documentation: 

  • Social Security cards for you, your spouse, and your children
  • Your driver’s license
  • Citizenship or naturalization paperwork
  • Birth certificates for your children

Financial Documentation: 

  • The most recent pay stubs for you and/or your spouse
  • Employment contracts
  • State and federal tax returns
  • Bank account statements
  • Investment account statements (stocks, bonds)
  • Pensions
  • 401K information
  • Social security statements
  • Inheritances or trusts
  • Loans, debts
  • Vehicle leases or financing
  • Credit card statements
  • Utility bills
  • Childcare expenses (i.e. daycare, tuition)

Documentation of Assets/Property: 

  • Residential properties, mortgages, outstanding loans 
  • Rental agreements
  • Vacation homes 
  • Investment and commercial properties
  • Time-share agreements
  • Cars, boats, jewelry, art, antiques, collectibles, and other items of significant value

Insurance Documents: 

  • Medical insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Auto insurance
  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Renter’s insurance
  • Living wills, powers of attorney, and advance healthcare directives

Other Relationship-Related Documents:

With the documents above, you can arm yourself and your attorney with the necessary information to ensure that you are thoroughly protected and advocated for. As you enter the next phase of your divorce, the case management conference, this preparation will allow you to begin positioning yourself for an equitable and fair dissolution. Next week, we will discuss what to expect during the case management stage of your divorce and the available avenues that you may pursue moving forward.

Until then, please feel free to contact my offices anytime for additional answers to your pressing questions. I can be reached at (908) 481-4625 and am always available to provide an initial consultation.