If you are considering getting divorced, it is a good idea to assemble the documents you may need to refer to in the future and put them somewhere for safe keeping. These documents can include state and federal income tax returns, monthly checking account statements, check book registers, house titles, deeds and abstracts, documentation from the sale or purchase of a home, documentation from the purchase of an automobile, monthly credit card statements, and recent paycheck stubs.
These are just a few of the primary documents that you should set aside. Fiskum Law Office has developed a comprehensive list of necessary divorce documents and complimentary copies are available upon request. Just send an e-mail request through this website.
Keep in mind that you should not open your spouse’s mail and you should not open his or her e-mail or other password-protected Internet accounts.
If you can assemble these documents before starting the divorce, you will save time and money. During the divorce p0roceeding, the parties and attorneys can engage in a process called “discovery.” Essentially, an attorney can formally demand that an opposing party produce copies of any documents that might lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. All of the documents described above are relevant to a divorce proceeding and would be have to be produced.
The problem with discovery is that it is expensive. It often takes hours or days to respond to formal discovery requests. Also, it is difficult to obtain a document if it has already been destroyed. You can get copies of some documents (summaries of tax returns, copies of bank statements, etc.) but some documents are not easy to get, once they have been destroyed. This includes documents like check book ledgers, documents relating to the purchase and sale of a home, etc. Also, it is very difficult to subpoena documents that are kept out of the State of Minnesota.
If you have any questions, feel free to call me – Dan Fiskum – at (952) 270-7700. I cannot give specific legal advice over the telephone, but I am happy to set up a free consultation to discuss your divorce case.