Before starting the divorce process, you will need to get organized regarding your finances: incomes, assets and liabilities. One of the first things you need to do is to engage in what's called "discovery." Discovery means gathering documents and answering questions regarding your incomes, assets and liabilities (this is often called "Requests for Production of Documents." Discovery is also responding to questions regarding these financial matters (this is often called "Interrogatories"). Here, we will focus on documents requests.
You should obtain documents that go back in time before your separation, such as three years from the present. Here is a sample of the types of financial documents that you will need to obtain:
1(M). Provide monthly or other periodic statements for all checking, savings, credit union and money market accounts, or CD's, held in your name and/or your spouse's name, individually or jointly with any other person since January 1, 2016 (excluding IRA, KEOGH and 401-K accounts):
2. All documents which demonstrate any withdrawals, transfer or other depletion of any sums over $250.00 from any accounts held in your name and/or your spouse's name, including but not limited to checking, savings, money market or retirement accounts for the past 24 months through the present and all documents reflecting your use of said monies.
3(M). Provide monthly or other periodic statements for all mutual funds, stocks, bonds, savings bonds including EE Savings bonds, other securities or bonds, other securities or investment funds (including IRA, KEOGH and 401-K accounts) owned by you or your spouse, individually or jointly with any other person, since January 1, 2016.
4(M). Provide monthly or other periodic statements and any notes, contracts or other documentation regarding all outstanding notes, accounts receivable, or other debts owed to you and/or your spouse, individually or jointly with any other person since January 1, 2016.
5(M). Provide all documentation regarding any of the following for which you received any income in the past 36 months:
- Franchises, patents, trademarks, copyrights and other royalty rights, etc.
- Gifts, prizes or inheritances of a value in excess of $200 received by you in the past two years.
- Dividends, rents, pension payments, social security, disability, payments from all trusts and investments, etc., from which you received any total payment in excess of $300 in any twelve month period in the last two years:
6(M). Your Federal and State individual income tax returns for calendar years 2014, 2015, 2016 (when completed) including all schedules, attachments, W-2's, 1099's and K-1 Forms.
7(M). For any business in which you are a partner, owner or shareholder of more than a five percent interest:
- a. All corporate and/or partnership federal income tax returns (including all schedules and attachments thereto).
- b. The records of all gross receipts, disbursements, and accounts receivable and payable registers, ledgers, books and journals, for calendar years 2008 to the present for each such business entity.
8(M). All loan applications, financial statements, and statements of net worth prepared by or on behalf of you, your spouse, and/or any of your business entities filed sent or used since January 1, 2016 to any lending or underwriting institution; as part of any stock prospectus, private placement memoranda and/or investor suitability statements; and/or in any Court proceedings.
9(M) Please provide:
- Your 6 most recent employment pay stubs or pay voucher from all employers [i.e., documents issued by an employer with each paycheck, reflecting your gross income for the respective pay period, as well as itemizing deductions therefrom].
- All of your bonus, commission, draw and expense reimbursement statements dated, issued or received during the current calendar year.
- Your most recent Retiree Account Statement, or other statement indicating the periodic retirement income benefits received during the most recent full calendar year, and those for the current year.
10(M). All employment contracts, including deferred compensation plans, and other documents and correspondence evidencing any terms or conditions of employment for your current employment, and for your immediate past employment if you have been with your current employer for less than 2 years.
11(M). All documents you or your spouse have prepared and/or used, within the past 2 years, in connection with any efforts to obtain employment; and all correspondence and other documents sent to or received from any such potential employers.
12(M). All documents concerning any health plan to which you currently subscribe or for which you are eligible to receive benefits and all documents indicating your payment of the premium for such plans.
13(M). M). All monthly and annual credit card statements and receipts for all charge accounts listed in your name, individually or jointly with another since January 1, 2016.
14(M). All documents regarding all gifts, prizes or inheritances of a value in excess of $200 received by you in the past three years.
15(M). All documents relating to the sale, gift, lease or other transfer of any property in which you or your spouse had any interest, whose value is greater than $300, and which was sold or transferred since January 1, 2016.
16(M). All your credit reports and/or histories, received or used since January 1, 2016.
17(M). All appraisals, evaluations, or assessments for all personal property in which you or your spouse own any interest or in which any of your business entities has owned an interest in since January 1, 2016.
18. All insurance riders, inventories, registrations, or other documentation listing and/or valuing personal property of any sort owned by you.
19(M). All plan descriptions, and periodic account statements, for any pension, retirement, profit-sharing, employee stock ownership, stock option, equity grants, deferred compensation plan, Individual Retirement and Keogh accounts, 401(K), 403(b) and Thrift Savings Plans, in which you or your spouse own any interest, vested or unvested, since the date of marriage.
20(M) All of the following documents relating to any real estate in which you or your spouse own any interest or in which any of your business entities has owned an interest in since January 1, 2016:
- Deeds of trust or mortgages;
- Promissory notes;
- Most-recently received tax bills or notices of assessment; and
- All appraisals, evaluations, or assessments
- Settlement statements ("HUD-1" or similar forms) reflecting purchase, refinance and/or sale of the property.
- Federal Form 1098 mortgage interest form statements.
21(M). All life insurance policies and documents which reflect the cash value of any such policies in which you or your spouse have had any interest in since January 1, 2016.
22(M). If you claim any property of any kind is your separate property, or partially separate property, submit all documents which support your claim, including all documents supporting the tracing of any separate funds into this property.
23(M). If you claim to have a marital interest in any property titled in the name of your spouse, submit all documents which support your claim, including all documents supporting the tracing of any marital funds into this property.
24. Provide a copy of all documents, statement, invoices, bills of sale that you removed from the marital residence or caused to be removed from the marital at any time beginning January 1, 2017.
25. If any third party has given you any money since January 1, 2016 whether a gift or a loan, please provide any and all documents which demonstrate the amount of money you received and any documents which demonstrate the terms/nature of the loan.