What Your Divorce Does And Doesn't Need From You

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Working with a divorce attorney can be a long process, especially if a case ends up involving some foot-dragging. To speed things up, it's a good idea to know what your divorce attorney does and doesn't need you to provide.

Provide: Detailed Financial Documents

Unless neither person is looking to obtain spousal or child support, you can expect to have some discussion of finances. It's common for one former partner to be in a less financially disadvantaged position, and you'll have to prove that's the case if you aim to get support. The last tax return you and your spouse submitted is a good starting point, especially if you filed jointly. If you can provide pay stubs, that's also helpful. Recent bills and evidence of other expenses will contribute to the cause, too.

Unnecessary: Evidence of Unfaithfulness, Abuse or Other Wrongdoing

At-fault divorce is an extremely rare scenario in the modern family law system. Some states don't even allow it, and it's difficult to obtain in any state regardless. This is meant to simplify the process by allowing one partner to declare irreconcilable differences and end the marriage.

It's not uncommon for people to want to litigate what happened during their marriages. Save yourself the bother. An at-fault divorce requires a unique combination of circumstances that includes there being enough property to fight over and extreme wrongdoing. Unless the content justifies a restraining order, showing your divorce attorney all the nasty texts your ex has sent you is likely just a waste of billable hours that you'll be paying for.

Provide: Information About the Marriage

The length of the marriage often dictates how likely one partner is to get support. It will also determine how long support is expected to be paid.

Collect all the information you can about assets, property, and debts that are commonly held from the marriage. This means anything that either of you acquired during the marriage. Some items might be protected from disposition during a divorce, but it's usually best to provide a full accounting of all property and figure things out after that point. If you signed any sort of prenuptial or marital agreements, bring those documents with you, too.

If the two of you had children together, collect basic information about them. This includes their ages, names, and where they live. You should also include information about any regular education and childcare expenses.