It is not uncommon for someone to consult with our office when they are just beginning to contemplate the possibility of divorce. Often, they want basic information about the legal process and their rights as well as advice on how to prepare for such a major life event. My clients have found it helpful to have a checklist that they can have on hand as a reference. It has been my experience that being organized helps in developing a plan and is useful in calming some client’s anxiety. Below is a checklist and although it is something that may vary from case to case it does provide a framework for people contemplating divorce.
1. Your child or children’s names and dates of birth. If there are special needs considerations that will impact aspects of the divorce it is important that those are detailed to your lawyer.
2. Date and location of marriage or civil union.
3. Your spouse’s name and employer.
4. Information regarding your spouse or your being self-employment where applicable.
5. Your employer’s name. Current income.
6. The last three years of your tax returns. Mortgage statements on the marital residence.
7. A copy of any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.
8. A summary of your debts.
10. A list of property including retirement accounts owed before the marriage.
11. A list of property, including retirement accounts accumulated during the marriage.
12. Expenses for the children. (e.g. tuition, camps, tutoring)
13. Vacation property.
14. A list of any stock, stock options or investment accounts.
15. An estimated monthly budget that should include all costs including utilities, insurance. This is an important tool in determining what the financial future holds for you and your family.
16. An inventory of the personal property in your home. (e.g. art, furniture, electronics)
17. Mental Health concerns for either party that will impact parenting time or decision making.
18. Health concerns.
19. Parenting Plan proposals.
20. Decision Making (shared, sole)
21. Post-divorce plans and vision for what post-divorce life will look like for your family.
Not all of these things will be resolved immediately. Divorce is a process. It is always best if the parties can work together on these matters but that isn’t always possible. Regardless of the posture of your case it is essential that both parties be fully informed about the financial and child related issues in order to make the best decisions for the family.
If you are exploring the possibility of divorce, already committed to divorcing or have post-decree issues please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Our office is dedicated to advocating for the best outcomes for children and families. Call (312)-640-0500 or email me at email@example.com Consultations are available in person or by Zoom. Safety protocols are followed.