Divorce is one of the toughest life stages you’ll ever experience. The emotional pressure alone can force unhappy partners back into a loveless or broken marriage, confusing and prolonging the pain and discomfort for everyone involved. There’s no reason why this should happen. Once you connect with the right divorce lawyer and get the ball rolling, the entire process can be completed within just a few months if everyone’s on board. Since Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, it also offers some of the most affordable divorce options. The first step is the initial meeting with your Michigan divorce attorney. Relax. It doesn’t need to be stressful and being prepared can ensure smooth sailing right to the finish line. These are the main five things you’ll need to bring to that meeting.
Tax Returns for Both Sides – if Possible
Your tax returns show much more than just what you earn per year at your job. Tax returns can lead to information on individual or joint investment accounts, pension plans, and other monetary assets that can help fund your freedom. The returns can also help the attorney decide on the alimony and child support you may be entitled to or have to pay. Three years worth of returns is usually enough to bring to this meeting.
Current Pay Stubs
Like the returns, pay stubs can also help your counsel formulate financial support. The stubs show bonuses and commissions as well as compensated benefits such as mileage, phone plans, and meals. Retirement plans and special deductions are also listed on the stubs. Three income stubs per working partner are enough to help your attorney calculate support and alimony.
Pension Plans and Retirement Accounts
If you or your spouse have any open retirement savings accounts, the attorney needs to see those. These accounts can include military or work pension, 401K plans, or Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The most recent statements of these accounts can help your Mt. Clemens divorce lawyer discover which were employer vs mandatory employee contributions. This, in turn, has a bearing on support totals.
Bank Statements, Investments, Real Estate
Your divorce attorney will need to see recent bank statements, property forms, and current financial expenses such as credit cards and loan payments. Joint and personal information are required here. Bank and credit union statements will show information regarding loans, social security or pension payments, and direct deposits. This is important because once you’re divorced, you’re responsible for your own bills. And if you happen to make more than your spouse, chances are you won’t want to continue paying the outstanding bills you’re not responsible for just because you forgot to mention them and take your name off the accounts.
Don’t Forget Your Plan
You’ll need to consider several things before the initial divorce meeting, and one of those things will be an after plan. Will your new lifestyle really support full custody, or is joint custody or even visitation a better option for you and the kids? Do you really need the family home or can that go to the custodial spouse? Can the home be sold instead? What about vehicles, education, and career planning? All of these need to be considered prior to that meeting to ensure your divorce will be as quick and painless as possible.
Yes, there are plenty of financial matters to consider here, but that’s a major part of a divorce. The legal agreement doesn’t just end a marriage. It allows each spouse to start separate lives away from each other – on a clean slate. Emotions are usually far too high to handle the financial matters on your own, which is where a Michigan divorce lawyer comes into play. Feel free to get angry, vent, and cry. But don’t let those current feelings keep you and your kids from moving on and having a happy life.