There’s a reason divorce is one of the most dreaded words in adult life. Emotional turbulence and prolonged conflict are rarely pleasant for anyone. Dealing with the whirlwind of issues and emotions that unfold throughout a legal separation comes with plenty of challenges, which is why it pays to take extra steps to prepare yourself for court proceedings ahead of time. Equipping yourself with all the necessary paperwork and evidence to support your position makes the process much less painful.
A collaborative divorce is one where both parties can work together towards mutual separation goals, with the objective of creating a win-win scenario. This kind of agreement usually involves parents putting forth a shared parenting plan for their post-divorce life. This shows the court that the parents have considered how the divorce will impact their children and the steps they are taking to ensure their well-being during the process.
Income and Expense Records
When in doubt, it’s usually better to bring too much documentation than not enough. You should bring proof of monthly income for yourself and partner through at least the last year. It’s also prudent to find documentation tracking major expenses into shared assets or accounts, particularly mortgage and insurance accounts.
Documentation Related to Other Assets
One of the reasons it’s a good idea to get help from a divorce attorney before heading into court is identifying important assets and tracking down relevant documentation for them. Partners may purchase, inherit or otherwise acquire property independently, or gain ownership as part of a business venture or collective ownership. Be prepared to present evidence proving rightful ownership and current status of any key assets in dispute.
Wills and Powers of Attorney
Both divorcing partners should also bring documents regarding any existing powers of attorney, wills, or living testaments. Adjustment to the terms of these documents, as well as those regarding insurance benefits and beneficiaries, need to be timed properly during the proceedings to ensure both parties and their children retain protection throughout the process. Wills and powers of attorney are often transferred or negated when a new document takes effect, but the details depend on how you proceed with your attorney.
Even if you aren’t fully prepared for the emotional challenges that you will face when you first step into divorce court, you can be fully prepared to defend your claims with physical evidence. Gathering proof of income, expenses, receipts and other records months in advance can make a huge difference in the outcome, so don’t hesitate to start building up your position before the first day of court.
Author information: Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan