Texas Divorce Checklist
September 6th, 2016 by Tad Nelson in Divorce
A divorce is a major life-altering event. Divorce is not an informal process that is just between the spouses. Divorce is a legal proceeding—one spouse is suing the other for a judgment—and it is therefore important for each party to get all of their ducks in a row before heading to court. Here is a brief checklist of some of the critical items and issues you need to consider in preparation for divorce, whether you are the spouse seeking a divorce or the spouse who has been served with papers.
Step 1 – Personal Information
There are some basic personal documents that you should assemble in anticipation of a separation. This includes birth certificates for you, your spouse, and any minor children who are living with you. You should also make sure you have your marriage license. If you have have any prior marriages, you should gather any documents related to those relationships, including divorce papers or records of the prior spouse’s death.
Step 2 – Do You Have a Prenuptial Agreement?
Many couples choose to sign a contract that addresses each spouse’s property rights in the event of a divorce. These contracts are generally known as prenuptial or antenuptial agreements. You should make sure to have a signed copy of any such agreement.
Step 3 – Taking Inventory of Your Assets
After child custody, disputes over assets are the most common subject of litigation in a divorce case. You will need to provide the court with a complete picture of your financial situation. This means that you will need to gather, at a minimum, the following documents:
- All tax returns and supporting schedules (e.g., W-2 and 1099 forms) for at least the past three years;
- Bank statements for all accounts, whether held in your own name or jointly with your spouse;
- Statements for any brokerage and retirement accounts;
- Documents related to any mortgages, loans, and other debts (i.e., credit cards) owed by you or your spouse;
- Deeds to real property and any documents establishing title to tangible property, such as cars or boats;
- A list of any valuable items kept in your home or in a secure location, such as a safe-deposit box; and
- Any records related to a business that you or your spouse own or co-own, including any legal agreements governing the business and all current financial data.
Step 4 – Determining Who Is “At Fault” (If Anyone)
While many divorces in Texas are “no-fault,” there are cases where one spouse has alleged misconduct, such as adultery, on the part of the other spouse warranting judgment in the complaining spouse’s favor. It is therefore important to gather any evidence that might prove the complaining spouse’s allegations—or conversely, exonerate the defendant spouse.
Step 5 – Speak With a Galveston Divorce Attorney
A divorce is not something that you can handle by yourself. An experienced Galveston family law attorney can assist you at all stages of the divorce process and help ensure that your interests are protected. Contact the divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates if you are contemplating divorce and require immediate legal assistance.