How to Prepare For An Upcoming Divorce

Understandably, divorce is immensely stressful. One of the most significant contributing factors is the uncertainty surrounding it. Most people have a considerable amount of questions about how their assets will get distributed, what their financial future may look like, and other situationally-dependent concerns. Many of them get asked during the initial consultation, which is justifiable. Your family law attorney is your port in the storm, who must represent and protect you when you feel alone, vulnerable, or both. 


This blog elaborates on what you can do to get those answers quickly. After reading that, you may assume that you simply need to contact an attorney—which you do. However, the component that people either overlook or are unaware of is that you may need to collect a decent amount of paperwork and documentation to give to your attorney. Though this may seem like another thing to add to an overwhelming list of things you need to do, it is a worthwhile investment of your time and energy. Because you will have to gather this information anyway, it benefits you to do it earlier. 


Your attorney can only explain how you can divide your assets once they know what there is to divide. Of course, without it, they can speak in generalities and possibilities, but this is not the detailed information you need to settle some of the uncertainty and anxiety you are feeling. 


Getting the Most Out of Your Consultation 


Remember, consultations are your chance to meet with an attorney, explain your legal challenges, and ascertain whether this is someone you can trust. Being upfront and honest about everything is critical. Similarly to what we mentioned before about your lawyer being unable to determine how to divide something until they know what to divide, they cannot shield or protect you from things they are unaware of. For example, adultery is a bar to alimony. Are you seeing someone while you’re separated? 


You should feel comfortable enough with your attorney to ask whether you should be dating during your separation period because it can impact your outcome. Secondly, we will never be upset if you bring us information we can’t use. In other words, don’t dismiss getting us a document because you don’t want to be embarrassed over bringing something we can’t use. The more information, the better. Having key financial documents (which we will review in a moment) makes everything easier. Here is a list of things you can gather for your attorney.


  • Recent copy of mortgage statement, which shows what is outstanding on your home
  • Recent copy of retirement statements, pension plan, 401k, etc.
  • Investment documents 
  • Loan payments on cars
  • Bank statements
  • Most recent pay stub 
  • Tax returns for 2-3 years
  • Any statements for other properties you own
  • Business tax returns
  • K1 statement (for businesses you own)
  • If you have complicated finances, who is your accountant, and can you ensure an easy transition of paperwork?
  • Credit card statements


Speak with an Attorney at Cate & Brough

If you cannot access these documents for any reason, that is something we need to know as well. Even if your spouse has access to them and you do not, take comfort in knowing that everything will have to come out before your divorce can be finalized. Contact our office if you have additional questions or are ready to speak with an attorney about your divorce.

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Cate & Brough, P.A.

At Cate & Brough, we all have personal experience with family law and family court. We know more than just what the law says about your issue – we know what you are going through.

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