Raleigh, North Carolina (WiredPRNews.com) — By: Contributing Attorney: S. Nicole Taylor. Nicole Taylor, a Raleigh Family Law Attorney, is a leading North Carolina Divorce Lawyer. Ms. Taylor is a member of the North Carolina Family Law Firm of Gailor, Wallis & Hunt, PLLC. and educates consumers on what documenst and information they should provide to their divorce lawyer.
Divorce is a complex financial transaction. When determining how to best resolve the issues involved in divorce, whether support, property division, or both, it is vital that you have the information necessary to evaluate your case. Often times once you separate you may no longer have access to crucial financial information, absent going through the court system to request it, a process that is often expensive and cost prohibitive.
If you are able to gather as much financial information as possible and have a general knowledge about the income and expenses during the marriage, as well your assets and debts, before consulting with a lawyer, it will be extremely helpful to the lawyer’s initial case assessment. To that end, planning ahead by gathering this information early on in the process often saves you time and money in the long run. The financial documents that your lawyer will likely want to review include, but are not limited to:
- Tax Returns for at least the last five years of the marriage
- Pay stubs, vouchers, and similar statements showing income for both spouses
- Employee benefit statements, including stock and stock option statements
- W-2’s, 1099’s, K-1’s and other income reporting statements
- Personal financial statements and loan applications given to third parties, such as banks and other lending institutions
- Bank account statements (checking, savings, money market, brokerage or other investment accounts), and as applicable, cancelled checks and check registers for such accounts for at least the preceding two years
- Quicken records and other computer generated reports utilizing personal accounting software and other similar financial data stored on a personal computer to which you have legal access for at least the prior two years
- Documents that evidence health, life (term or whole life), casualty, automobile and liability insurance, including copies of the policies, plan booklets or plan documents with descriptions of the medical, dental or other health insurance benefits.
- Complete statements for credit card accounts for at least the prior 2 years.
- Documents for all mortgages, equity lines, and other secured debts, including the loan and payment terms, amortization schedule and current balances owed.
- Deeds, deeds of trust, promissory notes, closing documents, appraisals, rental contracts, listing agreements and other related documents concerning any real estate.
- Titles, bills of sale, notes and amortization schedules for motor vehicles and other transportation vehicles
- Documents related to retirement plans and accounts and other deferred compensation (IRA, SEP IRA, Keogh, 401K, Profit Sharing Plans, Pension Plans) including account statements, plan descriptions, plan documents, benefit statements and account valuations.
- Documents related to life insurance and annuities, including policy contracts, statements showing cash value, and if there are any loans against any cash value, documents related to the loans.
- Your credit report.
- Documentation related to all stock owned, including investment account statements and stock certificates.
- If a party owns an interest in a closely held corporation, partnership or joint venture, or is otherwise self employed in a business, the following:
- a. All corporate income tax returns for the past five years, including all schedules.
- b. Year end financial statements (profit and loss, balance sheets and statement of cash flow) for the previous five full calendar years.
- c. Monthly financial statements for the current year.
- Any appraisals of any property, including insurance appraisals, real estate appraisals, and any other opinions of value, such as market value analysis.
- Bills of sale of other documents related to the transfer of any property.
- Wills, trusts, powers of attorney and other estate planning documents.
- A copy of any premarital agreements executed prior to the marriage.
- Gift tax returns if either party received gifts from a third party prior to the marriage.
This list is not all inclusive, and other relevant information is often needed, depending on the facts of each case. However, if you get this information together in advance, it will help your lawyer with the initial case assessment.
CAUTION: Just because you are married does not mean that you are entitled to remove and copy whatever documents your spouse has that you can find, or access information in any way that you want. Rather, there are limitations about accessing documents information and privacy rights may apply, regardless of marital status. In some instances, criminal statutes prevent accessing information absent consent. If you have questions about whether you are entitled to access financial or other information, whether from your spouse’s computer, lock box, brief case or other location, consult an attorney before doing so.
For more information contact: S. Nicole Taylor, Gailor, Wallis and Hunt, PLLC, a Raleigh, North Carolina Family Law Firm at 1101 Haynes Street, Suite 201, Raleigh, NC 27604, Tel: 919-832-8488 or go to www.gailorwallishunt.com.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is intended as a general guide and is not to be used as legal advice by Gailor, Wallis & Hunt, PLLC. Whether or not you may be entitled to take action in regard to the information addressed in this article can only be determined after a thorough review of the facts and circumstances of your case. You may contact North Carolina Family Lawyers, Gailor, Wallis & Hunt, PLLC, a full service divorce law firm, at 919-832-8488 or 910-509-7223.