Filing for divorce can feel like uncharted territory: you're entering a new chapter of your life with the guidance of your divorce attorney and little experience yourself. However, staying organized and being proactive can benefit you throughout the divorce process. Let's explore how you should compile your important documents when in the early stages of your divorce.
One of the documents you will need is a financial statement. This document will list your income, debts, and assets. This is an important document because it will give your attorney an idea of your finances and help them to determine what kind of support you may be entitled to.
If you do not have an overall financial statement, you should compile your bank records, credit card statements, documents outlining your debt, and your tax returns for the past five years. You should also find your W2s or other documents outlining annual pay and retain them.
You should make sure to find and retain copies of your birth certificate, social security card, passport, and driver's license, or other state-issued ID. It is essential to keep these documents in a safe place, such as a private safe, where only you have access to them.
Another document you'll need is a copy of your marriage certificate. This is a simple document that you can obtain from your county clerk's office. You'll need this to prove that you are legally married and eligible for divorce.
If you have children, you'll also need to keep track of their own identification documents, such as their birth certificate, social security card, passport, and children’s ID or driver’s license. This can be helpful in the future, as you begin your next chapter.
What Do I Do With These Documents?
Once you have compiled these documents and found a safe place to keep them, you should organize them, so you know where each document is. You can do this in a variety of ways: by using folders, binders, or another organization method you prefer. If your files are digitally held, make sure to save copies onto an external drive or flash drive to limit the risk of losing them.
You should also scan these documents and create digital copies. This will give you an additional layer of protection in case the originals are lost or damaged. Once you have scanned your documents, you can password-protect them for extra security.
Organizing and scanning your documents may seem like an unnecessary step, but it is crucial to do so. These documents will be used throughout your divorce, so it is important that you can easily access them when needed.
Deeper Understanding. Better Solutions.
If you have any questions about what documents you should retain or how to organize them, be sure to ask your divorce attorney. They will be able to guide you through the process and ensure that you have everything you need to pursue your divorce.
Are you preparing to file for divorce and unsure where to start? Schedule a consultation with our attorney today by calling us at (951) 418-2770.