November 21, 2021

Document Checklist for Getting a Divorce

Document Checklist for Getting a Divorce





When you are getting a divorce in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, it is critical to begin planning in advance and to ensure that you have all of the documentation you will need for your case. Even in situations in which it seems as though you and your spouse are likely to agree on most or all issues pertaining to the divorce, now is the time to focus on your needs and to make sure that you have everything in place to support your case. You should start the process of gathering documents and other related materials in advance of filing for divorce. In some cases, a spouse might try to conceal assets and accompanying documentation of those assets, which will make it necessary to get the information in advance. Moreover, by gathering all your materials in one place, you can effectively plan for your divorce with your Chicago divorce attorney.

What documents do you need to copy or obtain before you file for divorce or before your case gets underway? Although each person’s checklist may vary slightly based on the particularities of their situation, pay attention to the following checklist we have compiled for you.

Employment Documents

For purposes of property division and determining what an equitable distribution of marital debts and assets looks like, the court will need to have many different forms of information concerning your income and assets, as well as your spouse’s income and assets. Employment materials are one way of providing some of that information. Further, if you or your spouse will be seeking spousal maintenance, the court will need detailed information about both parties’ incomes. Accordingly, you should gather copies of all of the following:

  • Tax returns for the past five years (yours and your spouse’s if you filed separately);
  • Any business tax returns if you or your spouse owns a business;
  • W-2s from the past five years, or 1099s or direct deposit information if you (or your spouse) are an independent contractor;
  • Existing employment contracts or agreements that clarify salary, stock options, and other benefits; and
  • Benefits information for both spouses through the employer.

Bank Accounts and Related Investments

Understanding assets will also require extensive information about bank accounts and related investments. As such, you should gather copies of all of the following: 

  • Bank statements for any and all accounts owned by you, your spouse, or both of you;
  • Any 401(k) or other retirement account statements for you and your spouse;
  • Statements from your or your spouse’s pension;
  • Stock portfolio materials;
  • Money market accounts and other related accounts;
  • Savings account statements; and
  • Statements from any online accounts where you and your spouse receive money, such as Venmo or PayPal.

Physical Assets

You should be sure to have a clear list of all of the physical assets owned by you and your spouse, along with accompanying documentation. You should list all physical or tangible assets regardless of whether you believe they will be classified as marital or separate property, and you should include documentation or information about the following: 

  • Description of the asset;
  • Date of purchase or acquisition;
  • Price when you purchased it; and
  • Appraisals for the asset (any appraisals you have had done over the years).

You should also be sure to gather all of the following for property you own: 

  • Mortgage statements if you own a house;
  • Property tax statements; and
  • Motor vehicle statements if you own one or more automobiles.

Record of Debt

Gather record of debts owed by you or your spouse, including:

  • Mortgage documents;
  • Motor vehicle loan documents;
  • Credit card bills;
  • Healthcare bills;
  • Student loans; and
  • Any other loan or line of credit.

Learn More From a Chicago Divorce Attorney

Are you thinking about filing for divorce? Have you begun the process of planning for divorce, but you need more information about getting the case underway? Our experienced divorce attorneys in Chicago can help to ensure you have all the documentation necessary for your case to go as smoothly as possible. We want to be sure that you have the best chance of reaching a satisfactory outcome in your divorce, including in the division of marital property and other significant matters that will arise in your case. Contact the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group today to speak with one of our advocates about your personalized divorce checklist.





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