Gathering the needed documents for your divorce will not be fun, but it is necessary. If you and your spouse are filing an amicable divorce, it will be much easier to gather all of the information you need. If your spouse does not know you are planning to file for divorce, you may need to search for documents in private.
You will need all documents related to your home. Even if you do not own your home, you will need a copy of your lease or rental agreement. In some instances, you may need a court order to dissolve a lease without penalties. Make sure you include all property you own – summer homes, businesses, etc.
For financial documents, you will need check stubs, investment information, bank statements, credit card accounts, and all bills you have (both personal and joint). You will also need health, car and life insurance policies. Even if it is something that is offered through your employer and covers only you, you will need that information.
Anything you own will be part of the divorce proceedings. This includes automobiles, vacation time-shares, art, jewelry and household furnishings. Hopefully, you and your spouse are working on an amicable divorce and all of these items can be divided by the two of you without dragging it into court. Remember that the more you fight over, the longer your divorce will take and the more expensive it will be. It is in your best interest to work together to separate all of your property.
When you are searching for papers, you should also keep any evidence you may find of your spouse cheating. It will be painful to see, but it could help with your case. If you have papers that incriminate you for anything, you should keep those papers, too. A divorce is traumatic enough with having criminal charges filed against you for hiding paperwork. It may be embarrassing for people to find out private details about you, but it is better than spending time in jail.
When you are searching for documents, it can be hard to decide what may be important. If you feel it might be important, then it probably is and you should keep it. Always make copies of every document and if you are concerned about your spouse destroying information, keep those copies somewhere besides your home. Send them to a trusted friend or family member.