If you are considering seeking a divorce or have recently been served with papers seeking a divorce, you might be overwhelmed by the process and wondering what you should be doing. Every situation is different, but starting to collect and organize your documents and information can help make the process go more efficiently and smoothly.
If you have an attorney, he or she can tell you what documents or information they need from you, but here are some common issues that are raised in divorces and the kind of information that can be important to collect:
Do you have assets that you may need to divide?
In Maine, most people seeking a divorce are going to have to fill out a form called a Financial Statement, which is available online here. A Financial Statement asks parties to identify all of their assets (real estate, vehicles, financial accounts, etc.) and debts (mortgages, loans, credit cards, etc.) and then provide information about the value of these assets and debts. Parties are also asked to provide their income and expenses, which shows each of the parties’ budgets. Filling out this form can take a lot of time, but reviewing it ahead of time will educate you about the type of records that you may need, so you can start collecting copies of documents you might need, including:
- Federal and state tax returns for the last two years,
- Last three paystubs,
- Deeds to any real estate with the recorded book and page,
- Bank statements,
- Existing appraisals of real estate, and
- Car loans documents.
Do you have children together?
If child support is going to be an issue in Maine, you are most likely going to have to fill out and file a Child Support Affidavit, which is a form you can get online here. This form asks you for many of the same details as the Financial Statement but with less detail, including your income, assets, debts and expenses. If you are collecting the documents and information you need to fill out a Financial Statement, you will have most of what you need to complete this form as well.
If time with your children is going to be an issue, you can begin compiling school report cards, attendance records, medical records for the children that could help the Court decide on a schedule, and the like. You can also start brainstorming contact schedules based on what you think would be best for your family, based on your schedules and commitments.
Is spousal support going to be an issue?
If spousal support is an issue, you are going to be required to fill out a Financial Statement. In addition, you may want to think about collecting documents like:
- Any showing unreported income from either party,
- Medical records or other documents that show how much someone can work or showing that they cannot work if they are, for example, disabled,
- Resumes, and
- Recent job applications and responses to those applications.
This article is not legal advice but should be considered as general guidance in the area of family law. You can contact us at 207.784.3200. Skelton Taintor & Abbott is a full service law firm providing legal services to individuals, companies, and municipalities throughout Maine. It has been in operation since its founding in 1853.