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Archive for the ‘Divorce’ Category

Who gets Custody of the Pets in a Divorce?

Posted on May 23rd, 2019

A sad puppy clinging to its owner in the owner's arms beside the words pet custodyThe majority of U.S. households – 68 percent – have at least one pet. Dogs and cats are by far the most popular types of pets with 90 million dogs and 94 million cats living happily with their pet parents. But what happens when their owners get divorced? How does the law recognize pets? Who gets custody of the pets?

In most states, judges do not consider any emotional bonds that may exist between pets and their parents. Pets are considered property, and they are divided between the parties along with the rest of the marital property. Here are the factors that judges consider when determining who gets “custody” of pets in a divorce:

Pet Custody under Texas Law

Although your pet is a beloved family member with emotions and familial bonds, Texas law views it as marital property. Under Texas law, your pet is not viewed any differently than your vinyl record collection or your couch; as such, it will be grouped with the rest of your marital property, and who gets possession of the pet will be determined at your divorce proceedings.

If you can prove that you had your pet before you got married or received it as a gift during your marriage, you may be able to claim it as separate property. This means that you will get custody of your pet automatically without having to wait for the judge to decide for you. However, if you cannot prove that the pet is your property, the judge will decide who gets the pet based on the perceived value of the pet and how the rest of the property has been divided. The judge may even order that you sell your pet and divide the proceeds.

Changing Laws Regarding Pet Custody

In recent years, there have been major changes in the ways that some court systems approach pet custody. Some states – including California, Alaska, and Illinois – do not view pets as mere property. Instead, the courts view pets as family members and assign custody much like they do in child custody cases. Courts may even grant visitation rights to the non-custodial parent.

In deciding who should get the family pet, courts in these states consider factors that affect the well-being of the pet, such as:

How to Win Pet “Custody” in Texas Divorce Proceedings

If you’re fighting for pet custody in the state of Texas, the judge may not care about whom the pet loves more or who makes the most money; they will most likely take into consideration hard evidence that proves ownership of the pet, such as:

Additionally, the judge may be interested in hearing about other factors that affect your ex’s ability to care for the pet. For example, if your ex lives in housing that does not allow pets, the judge may grant you custody.

In cases where it is difficult to assign ownership, the judge may take into consideration who provided the most care for the pet. When this is the case, pictures of you with the pet, records of training classes attended, and calendar entries may help.

Pitfalls of Letting the Judge Decide

In Texas, the judge does not have to consider emotional bonds or the well-being of the pet whatsoever; they’re only interested in dividing marital property equitably. If you don’t negotiate pet custody ahead of time, the judge may make the decision for you. And there’s no guarantee that it will be one you agree with. It may even prove to be devastating.

If you’re considering divorce, it’s vital that you have a competent divorce attorney on your side. Contact Alison Grant, Attorney at Law today to learn more about how pet custody may be decided in your divorce proceedings. Do not let a judge decide the fate of your beloved fur baby; take action into your own hands with the right attorney.

Categories: Divorce

Separate vs Marital Property

Posted on April 11th, 2019

A man and a woman sitting beside each other signing papers with a mini house figure and a set of keys between them and the words separate vs marital propertyDefining separate property vs marital property in a divorce can get very tricky. In basic terms, separate property is property that you own and that your spouse cannot lay claim to. Marital property, on the other hand, is property that you both own. Here is a detailed breakdown of the laws relating to property division during a divorce:

Separate Property

When you’re single, almost everything you accumulate is your property unless you agree to purchase property with someone else, such as a roommate. When you’re married, your property is only considered separate if one of the following is true:

When you get married, any property you previously owned is considered your separate property. As long as you take steps to keep your property separate from the marriage, your spouse will not have a right to it if you do get divorced and have to divide assets.

Marital Property

Virtually everything you accumulate during a marriage that does not meet the above criteria is considered marital property even if it is titled in one person’s name. If you have a 401k at work in your name, it is marital property. If you purchase a business while married, it is marital property. Basically, almost everything you acquire after getting married falls into the category of marital property.

Can Property Change Status During a Marriage?

It’s possible for separate property to change into marital property in the eyes of the law. For this reason, you have to be very careful to protect your separate property if you don’t want to lose it in a divorce. There are three main ways property can change status during a marriage:

Appreciation

If your property appreciates in value, it can become marital property if you use marital assets to improve the property or increase its value. It all comes down to whether it’s considered passive appreciation or active appreciation. If your property passively appreciates, that is if you do nothing and it increases in value, it will remain separate property. If you invest in an account or make improvements to real estate with marital money, some or all of that real estate may be considered marital property.

Transmutation

The court may decide that certain actions taken during a marriage transmutes separate property into marital property. For example, if you own a home before you get married but choose to build a life with your spouse in said house, it may become marital property.

Commingling

Commingling happens when you mingle marital funds with separate funds. If you have a savings account with a balance when you get married, it may be considered marital property if your spouse deposits into it.

During a divorce, it’s important to have adivorce attorney help you determine what property you can rightfully declare as separate. If some assets have changed status during the marriage, your attorney and/or an accountant can help you figure out if all or only a portion of a certain asset should be considered marital property.

How Texas Views Separate Vs. Marital Property

As a community property state, Texas requires that in a divorce all marital property be divided in a just and right manner. This does not always mean that property will be divided 50/50, however. Each person’s contribution, current financial means, and future obligations – such as paying for a child’s college education – will be taken into consideration. The court may also consider who’s at fault for the divorce when dividing property.

Sorting out property ownership during a divorce can be a daunting task. An experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate this complicated process to help you retain the property that belongs to you. Contact Alison Grant, Attorney at Law to learn more about how property may be divided in your unique circumstance.

Categories: Divorce

Fault vs No Fault Divorce

Posted on March 21st, 2019

A broken heart resting on a gavel stand with two wedding rings on it, beside a gavel, under the words fault vs no fault divorceIf you’re looking to get divorced in the state of Texas, you’re not alone; the divorce rate in Texas hovers at about 10.7 percent, which is on par with the overall divorce rate in the U.S. One thing that sets Texas apart from most other states, however, is that the state offers both fault and no-fault divorces. If you do decide to get divorced in Texas, you will have to decide whether you want to file for a fault divorce or a no-fault divorce. Here are the elements of each and how to qualify for each kind of divorce:

Fault Divorce in Texas

In order to obtain a fault divorce in Texas, you must prove that someone is the catalyst for the divorce. The process for a fault divorce can be more complicated than the one for a no-fault divorce; however, there may be some cases where a fault divorce is worth the extra work. For example, if you wish to lay the groundwork for a particular outcome, such as being awarded sole custody, a fault divorce may be the way to go.

There are four grounds upon which a fault divorce may be obtained in Texas. To be successful, you and your attorney must prove one of the following:

Cruelty

Cruelty implies the willful, persistent infliction of suffering, both mental and physical. If you can prove that your spouse was cruel to you, this may allow you to obtain a fault divorce. While gross cases of cruelty may be easier to prove, you don’t necessarily need evidence of physical abuse or another outrageous act – the court will consider an accumulation of small acts as cruelty.

Adultery

If you can prove that your spouse cheated on you during your marriage or during your separation, you may be able to file a fault divorce. This is an advantageous strategy if you’re seeking reimbursement of marital funds that may have been spent on your spouse’s lover.

Felony Conviction

If your spouse commits a felony, you may be able to obtain a fault divorce. In most cases, to qualify for a fault divorce, your spouse must have been incarcerated and unable to support you for the period of one year. However, if felony charges were filed as a result of something your spouse did to you, the jail-term consideration may not apply.

Abandonment

You can file for a fault divorce if your spouse leaves and does not return or show any signs of returning for one year.

It can be more difficult to prove a fault-based case. For this reason and more, most divorces in Texas are no-fault.

No-Fault Divorce in Texas

You haven’t always been able to obtain a no-fault divorce in Texas. Before 1970, only fault divorces were granted. Since the change, Texans have been able to separate amicably even when a clear reason cannot be defined.

No-fault divorces mean just that – nobody is at fault. Neither party willfully partook in any activity that brought about the demise of the marriage. These kinds of divorces are much easier to navigate than fault cases.

No-fault divorces are filed based on one of the following criteria:

Insupportability

Also known as irreconcilable differences, insupportability is the most common reason for divorce in the state of Texas. All it means is that you and your spouse cannot support your marriage due to discord or conflict of personalities.

Living Apart

If you’ve been living apart from your spouse for three years or more, you can file for a no-fault divorce. This one is especially helpful if you can’t find your spouse or haven’t heard from them in a long time. Provided that you supply the proper notification, you do not need your spouse’s cooperation for this kind of divorce.

Mental Hospital

If your spouse is a resident of a mental hospital or otherwise ruled mentally incompetent, you can obtain a no-fault divorce.

The decision to file a fault vs. no-fault divorce is not one that should be taken lightly. When all is said and done, it may come down to what you can prove, which is where an attorney can help you most.

Before you make any decisions regarding how to file for divorce, you should speak to an attorney. If you have questions about fault and no-fault divorces in Texas, contact Allison Grant, Attorney at Law. Our team can help you figure out which type of divorce suits your unique circumstances.

Categories: Divorce

Traditional Divorce vs Collaborative Divorce

Posted on September 25th, 2018

A man and a woman - both looking angry - stand back-to-back beside the words "Traditional vs Collaborative Divorce"As you prepare to get divorced, you likely imagine (and dread) a long, drawn-out, and stressful court battle. But does it really have to be that way?

The answer is that it all depends on the circumstances. In certain situations, you might be able to end the marriage quickly and amicably by going through a collaborative divorce. So what exactly is collaborative divorce? Below is a breakdown of the differences between collaborative and traditional divorce, and the conditions which make collaboration a viable option.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is a form of divorcing your spouse that is handled out of court. Each party still has a divorce lawyer with them, but they meet in a much more informal setting. Before meeting with one another, each party meets with their attorney privately to discuss their wants, their needs, what they’re willing to negotiate on, and what they’re not willing to negotiate on. The two parties then meet to discuss and negotiate the terms of the divorce.

Collaborative divorce is usually pursued when the divorcing couple is on amicable terms and they both agreed to the divorce. Avoiding a stressful court battle keeps these parties on amicable terms and makes the negotiation process much smoother. A collaborative divorce is much quicker and less expensive than traditional divorce, and it allows for better communication between both parties.

Once an agreement is reached, each party signs a “no court” agreement, which means that neither party can change their minds about the terms of the agreement and pursue a court battle.

When Traditional Divorce is a Better Option

Not all married couples split on amicable terms. When there’s contention and anger between the two parties, collaboration is usually not possible. In addition, sometimes only one spouse wants a divorce. In these cases, pursuing a traditional divorce is hard enough; a collaborative divorce is virtually impossible.

Traditional divorce may also be required if the two parties share older children. The courts may require that the children are given the opportunity to discuss openly which parent they’d prefer to live with. Even if the court ultimately decides that a custody arrangement that goes against the child’s wishes is better, this open and honest discussion with the child is important.

If there’s a large amount of money and/or property shared between the two parties, this may also prompt the parties to settle the divorce in court. Money is one of the biggest stressors in a marriage, and it often leads to the most contention in a divorce. Alimony, property division, and child support may take a long time to determine.

And of course, if a couple fails to reach an agreement through collaborative divorce, a court battle will be necessary. Sometimes, there’s just no way to make both people happy, so a judge must determine what happens to the children, money, and property involved.

Mediation

Both kinds of divorce may ultimately require a mediator. In a collaborative divorce, if an agreement can’t be reached on a certain issue, a mediator is often brought in. A mediator is a professional who is experienced in helping people arrive at an appropriate compromise. There are even mediators who specialize specifically in issues regarding children since these are often the most emotional issues. Bringing in a mediator may prevent the need for a court battle.

In a traditional divorce, the two parties may ultimately decide that mutual compromise is better than continuing with a stressful court battle. Even if the judge has already ruled on certain issues pertaining to the divorce, the parties may be able to figure out the remaining details themselves.

If you’re about to go through a divorce, contact Attorney Alison Grant to schedule a consultation. She’ll help you decide whether traditional or collaborative divorce is going to be better in your case and then help you begin the divorce process.

Categories: Divorce

Annulment vs Divorce in Texas

Posted on June 19th, 2018

Two wedding rings with a gavel in the background below the words "Annulment vs Divorce"Many different circumstances may lead someone to seek a divorce. In some cases, the marriage simply stops working, so spouses seek divorce through traditional or collaborative methods. However, sometimes people seek a divorce because the marriage should never have happened in the first place. In such circumstances, annulment may be the right option.

Annulment is generally a shorter process, but it also has a lot of requirements that may be difficult to meet. If you’re seeking to end a marriage in Texas, this information can help you determine if annulment is right for you.

Legal Annulment Definition

A divorce is a declaration that a marriage is over. To obtain a divorce, the marriage must have been valid before one or both parties chose to end it. However, an annulment is more like a statement that a marriage should not have happened and so – legally – did not happen.

A legal annulment is different from a religious annulment. Some religions – such as Catholicism – have strict guidelines against divorce, making annulment the only option for ending a marriage. Getting a marriage annulled by the church and getting one annulled by a court are completely different processes. A legal annulment will not necessarily lead to an annulment being granted by the church; likewise, a church’s declaration that a marriage is annulled will not be valid in court.

It’s also important to understand that an annulment is for a “voidable” marriage, which is different from a “void” one. Void marriages are those which include things like polygamy or child marriages. Since such marriages are not void in the eyes of the law to begin with, they do not need to be annulled.

Annulment in Texas

Every state has laws that allow for marriage annulment, but they all differ slightly. Different states may have different grounds, guidelines, or statutes of limitations for annulment. For example, Texas is one of the few states that allows a person who requests an annulment to demand a jury trial.

If you’re looking to get an annulment in Texas, you must meet one of these conditions

In these last two cases, the divorce must be filed within 30 days of the marriage. In the cases of intoxication, impotency, or fraud, it’s imperative that you don’t live together after realizing that the marriage was a mistake. If you were married under duress or force, you need to leave immediately after being freed in order to prove that you do not want to be married.

Children and Property after Annulment

In some cases, the courts will declare that since the marriage shouldn’t have happened, the property does not need to be divided up. However, they will determine things on a case-by-case basis and may ultimately decide that the usual property division rules of divorce are necessary in your case. Things get especially complicated if there are kids. Children born during a marriage that is later annulled still need to be provided for.

Were you involved in a marriage that should never have happened? Attorney Alison Grant can help you get it annulled. Contact her today to determine if annulment is right for you.

Categories: Divorce

Is Collaborative Divorce Right for Us?

Posted on May 17th, 2018

Two hands shaking over a table with a document, two wedding rings, and a pen under the words "Collaborative Divorce"The divorce process can be emotionally exhausting and cause more conflict than there was when you initially decided on a divorce. Thankfully, there is an alternative to traditional divorce that can make the process quicker and smoother: collaborative divorce. This alternative changes the process as well as the outcome, both in terms of asset separation and mental impact.

Is collaborative divorce right for you? This information can help you decide.

Collaborative Divorce Process

Collaborative divorce is fairly straightforward. Both parties have their own attorney who is experienced in mediation. Once each side has discussed their case with their counsel and made clear what their individual goals are, an initial meeting between both parties and their attorneys occurs. The next meetings will likely involve other professionals such as a financial professional, mental health professional, or an unbiased mediator who can help move the negotiations along.

When an agreement is reached, both sides sign an agreement without court involvement needed. The court will treat the matter as uncontested if successful, and the matter will be closed. If the agreement falls apart, the attorneys involved in the collaborative process are not allowed to represent the parties in court.

Collaborative Divorce vs Traditional Divorce

Collaborative divorce doesn’t work in every case. Here are some factors to consider when deciding if collaborative divorce is right for you:

Of course, two parties wanting to work together won’t necessarily mean an immediate resolution; they still have their differences. However, if they are both willing to work through negotiation or mediation, they can reach a compromise and get things settled much quicker.

Do you think that collaborative divorce is right for you? Do you have more questions regarding the collaborative process in the state of Texas? Contact Attorney Alison Grant today.

Categories: Divorce

How Do I Serve my Spouse with Divorce Papers In Texas?

Posted on April 11th, 2018

A man and a woman sit across from each other at a white table with documents between them and the words "How Do I Serve my Spouse with Divorce Papers In Texas"Going through a divorce is not easy, but it can be less stressful if you know how to serve your spouse with divorce papers the right way. This will reduce confusion and problems and can make the divorce process faster and smoother. Texas has specific rules about how someone has to be served divorce papers, and you will want to make sure you know and follow those rules so that there are no problems down the line. Here is the proper way to serve your spouse with divorce papers in Texas:

Applicable Legal Forms Must Be Completed

The initial paperwork includes the citation, divorce petition, and any forms that you have filled out as a part of your petition. Sometimes there will be other forms, and sometimes there won’t be. It can depend on whether there are children involved, if there are disputes over property, or if there are other extenuating circumstances that will need to be considered during your divorce proceedings. A divorce attorney can advise you on the best way to make sure all the paperwork and applicable forms are included when your spouse is served.

You May Not Serve the Divorce Papers Yourself

It is not legal for you to hand the divorce papers to your spouse and say that they have been served; you will need to have the sheriff’s office or a process server do it for you. That way there is legal proof that a neutral, third-party served the paperwork, and that it was received by your spouse.

The divorce paperwork can also be mailed; however, it has to be sent certified or registered mail, with a return receipt requested. If you are concerned that your spouse may not sign for the letter, then you will want to have them served in person.

Substituted Service May Be Necessary

If your spouse is refusing to sign for the letter and is dodging the process server to avoid the paperwork and the divorce, you may need to petition the court to have them served another way. In these cases, it’s always best to have an attorney help you, so you can get the substituted service moving forward and have your spouse served in a way that complies with the laws of Texas.

Service By Posting or Publication

In rare cases, service by posting (if there are no children) or publication (if there are children) may be required. This is only for those who truly cannot locate their spouse, and who have proof that they have looked thoroughly and carefully for that person. An attorney can help you get this kind of service completed so that you can proceed with your divorce. While this is a more difficult situation, there are ways that a divorce can still be granted.

No matter what your situation is, it’s a good idea to get a lawyer as soon as you’ve decided to get a divorce. Attorney Alison Grant is here to help you with prompt legal services and compassionate advice.

Categories: Divorce

Why January Sees More Divorces Filed Than Any Other Month

Posted on January 26th, 2018

Hands of wife and husband signing divorce documentsThe new year is time for making resolutions, going back to school or work after the holidays, and filing for divorce. Wait, what’s that last bit? It’s true – January is one of the top months for divorce filings, with the numbers soaring over the previous month. One spouse may have had “getting divorced” on their list of New Year’s resolutions, and many couples want to spend one last holiday season together before dealing with the inevitable. It’s after the start of the year that a spouse may make an appointment with a lawyer to find out what a divorce means for them financially or how child support works. He or she then makes a decision: File for divorce, or stick with the marriage, at least for the time being.

Signs of Trouble

Do you think you might join the ranks of the January divorce filers? It’s one thing if you initiate it, but another if your spouse does and you are taken by surprise. Even if you know your marriage isn’t great, a divorce filing can come out of the blue. Look for certain red flags. Has your spouse started behaving differently? Are you leading primarily independent lives with little togetherness? Is there little communication between the two of you? Is the communication usually unpleasant? Money squabbles are a significant indicator of looming divorce.

So what happens if these problems arise in your marriage? Decide whether you want to work on saving the marriage, or whether it is time to move on. If it’s the former, discuss the situation and see if your spouse will agree to counseling. If the marriage has irretrievably broken down, or your spouse has no interest in continuing it, seek out a divorce attorney and find out what options you have available. Divorce is a difficult decision, especially when children are involved, so you want to ensure the decision you make is the right one for you and your family.

The New Tax Law and Alimony

While alimony falls under state law, the way it is taxed is within the federal purview. The new tax bill was signed into law in late December, and it may increase the number of couples filing for divorce this year. That’s because there are significant changes in the way alimony is taxed, starting in 2019. If a couple is not divorced by December 31, 2018, the spouse paying alimony is no longer eligible for a tax deduction. The recipient spouse no longer must pay taxes on the funds. For either party, that’s exactly opposite of prior alimony treatment by the IRS. People already paying alimony are not affected by the new tax law. It’s possible the loss of the alimony deduction will make divorce negotiations more difficult.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer

If you are considering divorce, you need the services of an experienced divorce attorney who fights for your rights. Call Alison Grant, Attorney at Law at 972-434-0021 or contact her online.

Categories: Divorce

How to File for Divorce in Lewisville, Texas

Posted on December 8th, 2017

Close-up Of Hand With Pen On Petition For Divorce PaperWhile Texas law applies to all divorces in the state, jurisdiction pertaining to divorce depends on the region and the courthouse. If you – or your spouse – are Lewisville residents, then all proceedings go through the Denton County Courthouse. Most people will benefit from hiring an attorney to guide them through divorce proceedings. However, if you and your spouse have few assets and no minor children, you can file for divorce yourself, a procedure known as pro se.

How to File a Pro Se Divorce in Lewisville

Go to the Denton County Courthouse, located at 1450 East McKinney Street. You want to head to the District Clerk’s office. The clerk’s office is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To file a pro se divorce, you must bring your original divorce petition, along with two copies. All forms are available through the county clerk’s office. The clerk will provide you with the state-mandated Case Information Sheet to file with the petition. You must pay all fees at the time of filing. Currently, the fee for when your spouse signs a waiver is $289, and a divorce with citation is $297. Call the clerk’s office before you arrive at 940-349-2200 and confirm the fee schedule. You cannot pay with a personal check, but the clerk’s office accepts cash, money orders, cashier’s checks, and credit cards. For the latter, there is a processing fee. Once your petition is filed, the clerk will stamp it with a time and date of filing. A case number and court are assigned.

You must notify your spouse of the divorce filing. You can hire an agent to present this legal notice, or your spouse can sign a form known as “waiver of service” before a notary and file it in court. If you don’t know your spouse’s whereabouts, you must post the divorce notice in a newspaper in the town in which your spouse was last known to reside, as well as posting the notice in the Denton County courthouse.

Before you can go before a judge for a final hearing, the case must be on file for at least sixty days, although there are exceptions. Once this period is over, you may go to the courthouse on Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 and 9 a.m. to go to an assigned court and present your case before a judge. Such hearings do not require pre-scheduling if both spouses agree to the divorce. However, if a citation was filed in the divorce and an answer filed, you must schedule a hearing and notify your spouse of the time and date. This means the divorce is contested. If uncontested, fill out the final decree of divorce form.

In an uncontested divorce, you must bring your divorce petition, the answer, and the decree. The judge signs the paperwork, which you then file with the district clerk, so your divorce is finalized. Please be aware the judge cannot assist you in your divorce case – you must know how to present your case in front of the court.

Contested Divorce

If your spouse does not agree to the divorce, it is critical to hire a divorce attorney to represent you. You could end up losing property and/or income. Even if a divorce is not contested, it is wise to obtain a lawyer if minor children are involved.

Contact a Lewisville, Texas Divorce Lawyer

Legal proceedings are complicated. Trying to file for divorce yourself can end up costing you financially and emotionally at a difficult time. If you are going through a divorce, you need the services of an experienced Lewisville, Texas divorce attorney. Call Alison Grant, Attorney at Law or contact her online.

Categories: Divorce

What Information Should I Bring My Divorce Attorney About My Finances?  

Posted on November 27th, 2017

couple consults with agent, signing paperworkFinances are one of the key areas couples facing divorce struggle with; the dissolution of marriage also means the untangling of accounts and a distribution of assets. Who gets what – and who pays who are some of the most commonly asked questions; both are answered in part by a thorough examination of the couple’s finances, assets, and financial situation.

Part of preparing for your visit to the divorce attorney’s office is gathering documentation and information about your income, finances, and even expenditures. Gather these documents before your appointment, and you’ll have everything you need to give your attorney the details she needs to help you with your case.

What Financial Documents Should You Bring to a Divorce Consultation?

Your attorney needs an idea of the amount of money that is arriving each month and an understanding of how much is leaving your household for essentials like food, shelter, transportation, and childcare.

Bank Statements

Your bank statements show how much money you have available, what your typical expenses are, and can provide some insight into your overall financial situation. Bring your most recent statements for both checking and savings if you have joint accounts – or at least your own if you have separate ones. Your bills need to come along for a visit as well.

Pay Stubs

Bring the last few paystubs from your own and your soon to be ex-spouse’s jobs. These papers show how much you earn, how much you keep, and who is providing which services for the family. Health insurance, life insurance, and similar deductions reduce your paycheck but are essential if you have children. Your divorce attorney can use your paystubs to help determine a fair settlement and division for you.

Tax Returns

Even better than individual pay stubs are your annual tax returns. Whether you filed jointly or not, bring the last few for each of you. If anyone owns a business, investments or other items, the tax returns will help give an accurate overview of your total financial picture.

Legal Papers

You may not have anything to share, but if you do have a prenuptial agreement or other important papers that impact your marriage and divorce, you should bring them. If you or your soon to be ex-spouse are being sued, are in foreclosure, or are in the middle of inheriting a pile of cash and assets, these papers need to come to the attorney’s office with you.

Retirement and Investment Accounts

The accounts you hold separately and together need to make an appearance as well, from retirement savings to college savings (if you have a 529 plan, you are likely the owner, not your child).

Having all this information can help your attorney provide you with the best possible advice and ensure you have covered any aspect that could arise. While you may need additional documentation, locating and bringing these items to your consultation is an excellent start.

Categories: Divorce
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