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Key financial documents to use in a divorce

During the divorce process, an individual will want to have access to as much information as possible. A person could use a New York state tax return to gather data about his or her household's net worth. A federal tax return may also yield clues about how much a household is worth and whether a spouse may be hiding or obscuring assets. In most cases, returns from the past three years will be most relevant in a divorce proceeding.

Anything gleaned from a tax return can be used to create a statement of net worth. This will include the value of any assets a person holds directly, and it can also include the value of assets of which an individual may have an interest. For instance, an individual may be entitled to a portion of a retirement account held in his or her spouse's name only.

The value of the assets will be reduced by the amount of any sole or joint debts a person has accrued. As part of the divorce process, it may be a good idea to conduct a lifestyle assessment. This can help show how a person's income and expenses will change and what adjustments may need to be made to account for them. A variety of online tools can help determine a person's income and expenses, both now and into the future.

It is possible for a person of either gender to obtain financial support in a divorce. Typically, a judge will look at the income, expenses and work history of both parties. Those who may be able to find work after a divorce may be entitled to limited support until that happens. An attorney may help a person organize financial records for use in settlement talks or a divorce trial.

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