Because divorce is an emotional time, the practical parts of it- the gathering of documents and documentation of events- often falls by the wayside. But there are several things you can collect and get in order that will greatly assist your attorney in moving your case forward. And moving forward is what you ultimately want during this tumultuous time.
But what should you collect? How should you organize it? Where should you focus your energies when your mind is wandering, and you are emotionally exhausted? Hopefully this post will help.
Get an accordion file with tabs, or filing folders that you can label and put into a drawer. You will need something to keep documents separated and handy. In the folders, organize your bank statements, retirement account statements, previous year’s tax return, property documents, copies of birth certificates/social security cards/passports, insurance information (health insurance/life insurance/property insurance/car insurance), copy of car note/statements, list of debts/debt loan statements. Basically, you want to provide a snapshot of the assets and liabilities that fall under the umbrella of the marriage. All of these items will help you to fill out your financial affidavit, which your attorney will ask you to do. Having it all handy will avoid a search for these items when you are on a time crunch.
Additionally, you should be prepared to share the following information: Date of marriage, date of separation, names and birthdates of any children you may have, date of separation, current addresses where you and your spouse currently reside, employment information for both you and your spouse, and current time-sharing/parenting arrangement if you are separated. Be prepared to share whether or not there was abuse in the marriage with your attorney, if so, you may want to share the names of any witnesses who were aware of the abuse.
Be prepared to share an email address with your attorney. This email address will be used throughout the process and may be a place where personal information is shared. Because of this, I recommend creating a new email address and using it exclusively for the divorce. While email is generally not considered a private or completely safe means of communication, creating a new one will ensure that only you and the devices you choose will have access to this new account, and that may give you some peace of mind.
Finally, I like to ask my clients to share their priorities with me. I ask them to do this by listing what they hope to see at the end of this divorce process. Take a moment to reflect on this question: Perhaps you would like to return to school, or provide safety for your children, perhaps you would like the process to end in a settlement that is amicable and allows you to co-parent with your former spouse. Perhaps you want all of these things, but at the moment, when emotions are raging and anger is raw, you cannot imagine how they can be possible. Your attorney will guide you through the process with your priorities in mind.
If you need help navigating a divorce, and you want advice from someone who will listen to your priorities and fight for your needs. Please contact the experienced attorneys at Parra Harris Law. We are here for our clients.
Parra Harris Law
6810 St. Augustine Road
Jacksonville, Florida 32217