Navigating Through a Smooth Transition

Divorce can be a challenging and complex process, but being well-prepared can significantly ease the journey. This not only supports your claims for alimony, child support, and division of assets but also ensures fair treatment and a favorable post-divorce life. To help you in this endeavor, we’ve compiled the ultimate divorce checklist.

Quick Tips to Get Started

  • Open personal checking and savings accounts.
  • Apply for a credit card in your name.
  • Order a free credit report or sign up for a service like LifeLock for credit monitoring.
  • List all assets and liabilities, including memberships and rewards points.
  • Begin identifying financial information, even if you’re not fully aware of your finances.

The Benefits of Being Organized

  • Saves Time and Money: Organizing documents in advance reduces the workload for your attorney or financial analyst.
  • Clear Financial Picture: Comprehensive information assembly provides a better understanding of your financial health.
  • Informed Decision-Making: A complete overview of your life’s financial aspects enables better negotiation for a fair settlement.
  • Effective Legal Counsel: Full disclosure of your assets allows your legal team to offer the most effective advice.
  • Manageable Tasks: Organization breaks down the process into simpler tasks, like dividing household expenses post-divorce.

What to Do If You Lack Access to Records

  • Gather Information Early: Collect as much data as possible before informing your spouse about the divorce.
  • Legal Entitlement: Remember, you are legally entitled to all relevant documents during a divorce.
  • Formal Discovery Process: In difficult cases, use subpoenas and interrogatories to obtain necessary records.
  • Professional Assistance: Consider hiring a forensic accountant or a certified divorce financial analyst.

Communication is Key

Maintain open communication with your spouse. Effective cooperation can expedite the divorce process and reduce complications.

Additional Pro Tips

  • Consider Amicable Divorce Options: For simpler situations, online services like 3 Step Divorce can be cost-effective and less stressful.
  • Patience: Take your time to avoid costly mistakes and added stress.
  • Prepare for Adjustments: Your credit and expenses might change, so plan accordingly.

Documents to track before a divorce

  • Contact details: Address, phone numbers, email.
  • Proof of state residency.
  • Employment information: Employer’s name, address, phone number, length of employment, and salary details.
  • Spouse’s personal and employment details.
  • Current custody arrangements for children, if applicable.
  • Information about previous marriages and children from them.
  • Details about child support and health insurance for children.
  • Marriage details: Date and location of the wedding.
  • Spouse’s divorce lawyer’s name, if applicable.
  • Information about marital therapy sessions.
  • List of reasons leading to the divorce, including any issues of abuse, infidelity, etc.
  • Temporary orders and court documents related to the divorce.
  • Birth certificates of children.
  • Domestic partnership certificate, if applicable.
  • Social Security Statement.
  • Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.
  • Separation agreement.
  • Lifestyle-related expenses and monthly budget worksheet.
  • Information on debts owed to you and any ongoing lawsuits.
  • List of personal and pre-marital assets, including livestock.
  • Details about inheritances received.
  • Contents of safety deposit boxes.

Financial Documents

  • Tax and income documents for the past 5 years.
  • Corporate and partnership tax returns.
  • Financial statements for individual or joint accounts and business entities.
  • Employment contracts and employee benefits summary.
  • For self-employed: Financial statements, business returns, valuation agreements, business loan statements, and appraisals.
  • Real estate documents: Ownership records, appraisals, mortgage and loan statements, rental property records.
  • Personal property inventory with estimated values, including jewelry, art, vehicles.
  • Current statements for all bank, investment, retirement accounts, and policies.
  • Information on tax refunds, life and disability insurance policies, and other insurance.
  • Details about student loans, tax liabilities, support arrearages, unsecured loans, credit card debts.
  • Full credit report.
  • Business records: Tax returns, financial statements, partnership agreements, stock or membership interest documentation.

Estate Planning Documents

Bring control to your divorce

A well-organized approach to divorce not only ensures a fair settlement but also sets you up for a better post-divorce life. It might be a time-consuming process, but the effort is worth it for the clarity and control it brings to this significant life transition. Remember, the right preparation can transform a potentially tumultuous experience into a manageable one.

Initiating the Divorce Conversation

If you haven’t yet discussed divorce with your spouse, it’s important to carefully consider the timing and setting of this conversation. Avoid scheduling this discussion on significant dates like holidays, anniversaries, or children’s birthdays. 

Choose a time that allows both parties ample opportunity for discussion, reflection, and rest, ideally outside of work hours or other commitments. 

Choose a neutral place for this conversation, somewhere away from the familiarity and distractions of home. When you talk, try to keep it straightforward and stay calm. It’s important not to go into too much detail or let the situation get heated.

Seeking Support

Divorce can be a challenging process, even in the most amicable situations. It’s beneficial to surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family who can offer emotional support. 

Consulting with a therapist is advisable, particularly if there are elements of trauma, such as domestic or substance abuse. 

Additionally, consider seeking financial guidance. Schedule a meeting with a financial planner or a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) to help navigate financial decisions related to the divorce.

If you’re seeking a divorce in Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, or anywhere in Arizona, give our team of dedicated professionals a call today.


We value each and every one of our clients, employees, friends, and neighbors. Together, we have a social responsibility as a community partner to take proactive measures to keep our community well and to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Our office will remain open during regular business hours. However, we are implementing some additional precautions to limit social interactions and personal proximity. Specifically, we will seek to conduct consultations, meetings, conferences through video teleconferencing or on the phone whenever possible. Should an in-person appointment be needed, then we will coordinate those on an appointment basis.

If you have questions about your case and the status of the court, then please call. Our Firm will continually monitor the status of the coronavirus, so we are prepared to resume normal operations as quickly as possible.

From all of us at The Peterson Law Firm, please stay well.