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Gathering records before meeting with a divorce lawyer

Dallas-Fort Worth area residents who are headed for divorce often wonder what records they should bring to their first meeting with a divorce lawyer. In many cases, the lawyer's office will indicate when the client calls to set up the first meeting what documents the client should bring. This post is simply an overview of what an attorney may want to see at the first meeting or soon thereafter.

Property division is often a hotly contested issue when a marriage comes to an end. Texas is a community property jurisdiction, and in a divorce, the court will split community property between the parties usually 50-50. Accordingly, records listing community assets and their values will be helpful to the divorce lawyer. These records may include bank statements and lists of significant personal property such as vehicles, furniture, artworks and the contents of any safe deposit boxes.

Records showing the value of the family home, including appraisals, mortgage statements and property tax records are important. For older spouses, records relating to retirement accounts, pensions and 401(k) accounts, as well as estate planning documents such as wills, trusts and powers of attorney, should be reviewed.

Income records, including tax returns, will be important if the client plans to seek alimony or expects the other spouse to do so. Copies of any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements should also be brought to the first meeting with the lawyer.

Depending on what issues are likely to come up in the case, the attorney may want to see other categories of documents. The records listed above will be important in most cases, however.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Checklist: Documents to Show Your Divorce Attorney," accessed March 5, 2017

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