This is a critical factor in preparing for a divorce case. Information is the lifeblood of divorce cases. Too often one party controls that information (and it isn’t you). You want to start gathering as much information as you can. Make copies of the last several years’ worth of tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements and the like. Make a list of assets. All this information can help get past the emotions of a divorce and handle the physical items and things directly.
It is also too common to see the party controlling the finances and the information remove you from important accounts and eliminate your ability to access information and/or money through those accounts once your divorce is filed. By being prepared ahead of time, you eliminate your dependence on your spouse to get information, and you are more in control of what happens going forward. You also have a very clear record of what was in the respective accounts or what was owed on debts, so the other person cannot hide assets or run up fees on an account in an attempt to influence the ultimate division of accounts.
This information is also vital to establishing a clear picture of what your lifestyle was like during the marriage. This is such a vital aspect of the alimony analysis by the court. Your spouse is going to use every possible means to reduce that amount and show that you need less support to survive. No one wants to pay more alimony than they have to. We have to show the court that your needs are reasonable and in line with what you have come to rely upon during the marriage. This cannot be overstated!
If you cannot get the documents, do not worry. There is a process for getting access to the information through the divorce case. Parties are each required to share certain information at the beginning of a case, but that is not always all of the documents needed to prepare a case. We can help you get those other documents, but it just takes longer. Getting as much information as you can before your divorce case starts puts you ahead of the curve.