Your Divorce Document Checklist

All the Documents You Need to Prepare for Your Divorce

One of the primary purposes of your divorce settlement is to divide your marital property between yourself and your spouse in a way that is fair and equitable. (Hopefully, you and your spouse can come to an agreement on what is fair and equitable through divorce mediation or collaboration, but sometimes a judge will have to make this determination for you).Your attorney can’t help you develop a divorce settlement strategy until your

Your attorney can’t help you develop a divorce settlement strategy until your marital property and its real-world value are accurately cataloged. You can make this process a whole lot easier by providing your attorney with documentation related to all of your property.

Many people make the mistake of deciding to divorce and meeting with an attorney before gathering these crucial materials, which can slow down the entire process. Here is a useful divorce documents checklist that will help you determine the documents you need to collect to assist your attorney. Gather as many of these documents as you can before your first consultation:

The Divorce Document Checklist

  • Work
    • Your federal, state and local tax returns for the last five years
    • Business tax returns if you and/or your spouse own a business
    • Proof of your income for both spouses (W-2, pay stub, bank statement with direct deposit, etc.)
    • Stock options that you and/or your spouse have
    • Employment contracts for both spouses
    • Benefits statements for both spouses
  • Savings and Investments
    • Bank statements for all of your accounts
    • Certificates of deposit
    • Trust documents
    • Stock portfolio statements
    • Your 401(k) statement/retirement account statement (for example, IRA)
    • Your spouse’s 401(k) statement/retirement account statement (for example, IRA)
    • Pension statements
    • Online account statements (Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, and any other payment systems, peer-to-peer payment services, digital wallets, etc.)
  • Property and Assets
    • Mortgage statement for all homes owned
    • Property tax statements for all property owned
    • Loan applications (includes car loans, refinances, home improvement loans, etc.)
    • Deeds to all real property
    • Car registrations for all vehicles
    • Utility bills for all properties
    • Personal property appraisals (for example, jewelry, equipment, artwork, etc.)
    • List of major personal property (Include anything of significant value, such as jewelry, artwork, equipment, furnishings, high-end clothing, etc.)
    • List of property owned by each spouse prior to marriage (It is important to distinguish property that is not marital property)
    • Car insurance policies for all vehicles
    • Home insurance for all properties
  • Estate Planning Documents
    • Health insurance policies for you and your spouse
    • Life insurance policies for you and your spouse
    • Wills for both spouses
    • Living trusts for both spouses
    • Powers of attorney for both spouses
    • Durable powers of attorney for both spouses
    • Advance healthcare directives for both spouses
  • Other
    • Credit card statements for all credit cards
    • Any additional insurance policies (for example disability insurance, long-term care insurance, etc.)
    • Documentation of inheritance received by either spouse
    • List of major gifts from family members
    • List of all other major bills, such as medical bills, college tuition, and even your child’s dance classes
    • Monthly budgets

Document Gathering Tip One: Start Before the Divorce

Gathering all of these documents is probably going to be a long and arduous process no matter what. However, an angry and emotional spouse can make things even harder by refusing to hand documents over or even trying to hide assets. It is a smart move to begin cautiously gathering as many documents as you can before you announce your intention to divorce your spouse so that they won’t try to hamper your efforts. If your spouse is the one to ask for a divorce and actively tries to hide documents, you can always seek a court order to require them to hand over the information that you need.

Document Gathering Tip Two: Bring Copies to Your Consultation

Your divorce attorney can’t begin to plan your divorce settlement or design a basic proposal until he or she understands the scope of your estate. Make copies of all the documents you can get your hands on and guesstimate if you can’t get hold of a certain document. Bring all of this paperwork to your divorce attorney consultations. Your attorney will appreciate this greatly! As a bonus, the more documents you can get on your own, the fewer hours your attorney will have to spend trying to legally force your spouse to turn them over, which means lower attorney fees for you!

Want even more advice on how to prepare for your divorce?

Consider attending a Second Saturday Divorce Workshop, where you can get useful divorce advice from local experts. Search to find the next Divorce Workshop in your area.

9 thoughts on “Your Divorce Document Checklist”


    A question why would my husband allow his ex wife to get a copy of his medical records and do not inform me? I have given him a kidney. He cheated after the kidney was given. I was diagnose with cancer he is a federal police what are my options?

  2. I am 67 Married at 40 to a man 12 years younger. I was on disability the day after we married. 25 years later living in NV my check was disability until I turned 65 now it is retirement. I have an attorney. I am chronically ill and will need special help since in the last 2 years w/o him me off his insurance we had to wait for Medicare to acknowledge me as Primary for he had told me more coverage was better that was wrong so BILLS + when I was going to visit home 2 years ago he said he spent half his life with me and didn’t want to go on.bI found out we were in CC debt and 100K was taken out in a Home Equity loan that I signed to keep the house. I have an attorney.Husband and I own our house in NV PIF. He also has life insurance that I was supposed get a certain amount and he wants to change that. He has given me and offer that is not to be admissible in court and he did this 1 say before he was found to be in default. What does it cost for a women to live who has been told that assisted living is the next move and I am looking for answers regarding my Medicare and what a long term marriage and starting over comes down to in dollars and cents.

  3. Pingback: Be Prepared for the First Appointment with Your Divorce Lawyer - Bohm Wildish & Matsen - Family Law Group

  4. My ex agreed to keep me on his Health Ins. for two yrs. The Judge signed on it. He is Civil Service, Blue Cross Blue Shield.
    We’ve been divorced almost a yr. He called and said, that as of January 1, 2020 I would no longer on his Health Ins., because the Insurance said it’s illegal to keep me on his Insurance Policy. Is this True?

  5. Hi. My husband of 17 1/2 years has turned into a hopeless alcoholic. He drinks. Is horribly verbally abusive, then passes out. Falls hits whatever is u nder him. 3 rehabs, so ber living etc. He has had my total support through all. Many emergency room visits. Paramedics. The whole 9 yards. He retired 15 yrs ago on z disability from work injury. And collects SSDI and a disability pol from his job. I just retired on a disability pension. I will be applying for SSDI. Can he take half my pension ev en if his contribution to the marriage has been mentally horrible? Draining my mental resources daily keeping me up at night when i had to work. Just pure hell. Is he entitled to half 401k. Etc.?

    1. In most states, assets accumulated during the marriage are considered marital property to be divided. I am not an attorney and I don’t know the laws of your state, so I don’t know the answer to your question. I do know that bad behavior is sometimes taken into account in some states for some purposes, but I don’t know in your particular case.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top