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When you decide to initiate a divorce it seems like such a big weight on your shoulders and you don’t know where to start. We always tell our client’s considering a divorce to start with getting together important documents and let us put the pieces of those documents together for you. At the Law Office of Steven N Cole, we are experienced in the divorce process and in this article we are going to walk you through documents you need to collect when initiating a divorce.

1. Agreements

When you got married and throughout your time together you most likely had agreements you signed. This normally revolves around finances and estate planning. You will need to find copies of any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements and all estate planning documents.

Examples: Wills, living wills, trust documents, powers of attorney, and advance healthcare directives

2. Marriage License

It may have been a long time since you have searched for your marriage license, but it is needed when filing for a divorce. If you can’t locate it, you can contact the local clerk of courts and order those records.

3. Life Insurance Policies

Gather copies of life insurance policies for either spouse. If you wish to change your beneficiary you need to wait until after the divorce is finalized before making any amendments.

4. Assets and Liabilities

Begin compiling a list of your joint assets, including vehicles, bank accounts, credit card debts, medical bills, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, and anything else you believe the court will want to see. Also include any joint debts you have. This includes mortgages, vehicle loans, retirement plan loans, and student loans.

Even though courts require both spouses to provide full financial disclosures, not all spouses make the process easy, so gathering as much information as possible now will help you in the process later. Make sure all of the information is as detailed and as accurate as it can be. You don’t want to exclude anything when listing these assets and liabilities. Even if you think it is not accurate it may look like you are hiding something.

5. Additional Information

Like a detective, you will want to gather some personal information before filing for the divorce. This information is easier to get before filing because it is more widely available. To start, gather all the information you can on any retirement or pension accounts that either spouse accrued during the marriage. If you have access to your spouse’s W-2s or other paycheck information, make copies to provide that information to your attorney. This will help your attorney establish income. As will any joint tax returns you can find.

6. Gather Other Essential Documents

-Credit report. Pull your credit report so you have a complete view of your finances before the divorce.

-Log-in credentials. Write down and access log-in information for your joint accounts.

-Deeds. Locate any documents showing the property you own together or separately.

-Vehicle titles. Make copies of the pink slips to jointly and separately owned cars and trucks.


Going through the divorce process can be a lot of work, but the Law Office of Steven N Cole is here to help. You need someone with experience guiding you through these important decisions and making sure the steps you take in your divorce are helping you when building your case.  If you are considering a divorce or are currently in the divorce process contact the Law Office of Steven N Cole. We will discuss your case and see if we are the right law office to represent you.