Divorce is, perhaps unfortunately, all too common. Today, divorce rates in the U.S. are approximately 41% for a first marriage, 60% for a second marriage, and 73% for a third marriage. In the end, however, you have to make the decision that’s right for you. If you’re ready to move forward with finalizing the end of your marriage, there are certain divorce forms that you’ll need to fill out and go over with a lawyer. While the specific requirements vary from state to state, here’s what to expect overall.
- Financial Documents
You’ll want to have on hand your personal income tax returns for the past three to five years, as well as proof of income for both you and your spouse. These may be important to speed up the divorce process and get the financial arrangements you need. Bank statements, retirement accounts, and stock portfolios will also come in handy.
- Prenuptial Agreement
Did you file a prenuptial agreement or separation agreement before your marriage? One of the first questions to ask your divorce lawyer is whether the agreement is still valid and can be executed fairly.
- Wills and Estate Planning
These documents will most likely need to be revised if you don’t want to include your spouse in your will or list them as your power of attorney anymore. You’ll also need to consider mediation for child custody if you have kids together.
- Petition for Divorce
Of course, the most important divorce forms are the ones that seals the deal. You’ll likely need to acquire this from your local government office, such as a county clerk. They will help you with the summons and notice of hearing papers as well.
Although divorce is often a highly emotionally charged issue, it nevertheless requires rational planning and execution — not to mention a lot of complicated paperwork. That’s just one of the reasons why so many people turn to divorce attorneys for assistance during this tumultuous time. No matter your situation, remember that there are people out there to help you get your paperwork in order and your new life back on track.