Even though there are rules about not destroying documents around the time of a divorce and other rules about providing access to important documents during the divorcer, these rules are not always followed and it can be inconvenient and expensive – and maybe even impossible – to obtain the documents later.
If you can copy these documents before you leave the joint dwelling, it would be ideal:
1. The last three years of income tax returns (five years worth of tax returns would be even better);
2. The last three months of all financial account statements (bank, savings & loan and brokerage).
3. The last three year-end statements for all retirement accounts (Individual Retirement or IRAs; pensions, 401(k)s; SIMPLE IRAs, Keough Plans).
4. The last three year-end statements relating to profit sharing plans or stock options.
5. Any appraisal of a business or real estate, regardless of when it was performed.
These are just general rules and it is best to consult with an experienced family law attorney before filing.
If collecting these documents may place you at risk of physical harm, don’t do it.
Leigh Joy Carson has focused her practice primarily on domestic relations cases for almost 25 years.