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Getting a Divorce in Florida? A Checklist of Documents You'll Need

Before you begin divorce discussions with your spouse or file for divorce in Florida, you'll want to start collecting the documents that relate to your marriage and your assets. If you wait to collect these documents until after divorce discussions begin, you may be surprised to discover the documents have disappeared.

If your spouse has taken the documents, you will be able to obtain copies from your spouse's divorce lawyer. However, this request can take time to fulfill and you'll have to pay your lawyer to make the request. If you and your spouse have a civil separation, talk to your lawyer about whether you should proactively share copies of these documents with your spouse.

If filing for divorce in Florida, your paperwork checklist should include:

Personal Records

  • Birth certificates for family members including you, your spouse and your minor children
  • Social Security cards for you, your spouse and your minor children
  • Your marriage license
  • Any marriage or divorce-related legal agreements you have with your spouse, including antenuptial agreements, a prenuptial agreement and/or a separation agreement
  • If you or your spouse was previously widowed, the death certificate of the prior spouse
  • If you or your spouse was previously divorced, any divorce records related to those marriages, including the court decrees and divorce judgments (copies of Florida divorce records can be obtained from the Bureau of Vital Statistics)
  • Employment contracts

Financial Documents

  • All tax returns (federal, state and local) for both you and your spouse for at least the past three years
  • Pay stubs for both you and your spouse, including records of any overtime or bonuses, as well as W-2 and 1099 forms from past years
  • Bank statements for any individual or joint checking, savings or money-market accounts, as well as records of CDs
  • Brokerage account statements
  • Statements for any retirement accounts, including 401(k)s and IRAs
  • Life, health, auto and homeowners insurance policies
  • Loan documents, bank statements and credit card statements, including documents related to mortgages and vehicle loans
  • Leases for property you rent
  • Your household budget and/or documentation for essential monthly items such as food, utilities, education, clothing, gas, entertainment and other household expenses

Assets You Own

  • Copies of the titles or loan statements for any motor vehicles or boats you own jointly or separately
  • Documents describing any property or land you and your spouse own jointly or separately
  • A list of valuables you and your spouse jointly or separately own (and copies of appraisals, if available)
  • A list of items stored in safe-deposit boxes

Businesses You Own

If you and/or your spouse own a business, you'll also want to collect records that show the company's revenue, expenses, debts, assets and profit, as well as ownership details.

  • Federal, state and local corporate or business tax returns for at least the last three years
  • Business profit and loss statements
  • Business balance sheets
  • Business financial statements
  • Corporate records and minute books, including the articles of incorporation and bylaws
  • Partnership agreements
  • Shareholder agreements
  • Business credit card statements and records
  • Business insurance policies
  • Business contracts
  • Deeds, mortgages, leases and other real estate interests held by the business

Divorce in Florida is "No Fault"

Divorce in Florida is considered to be no fault, meaning neither you nor your spouse needs to allege wrongdoing when filing for divorce. However, if one spouse is at fault, it could affect alimony decisions. If you expect allegations of fault, you'll want to collect documents that demonstrate why your spouse was at fault, or why you were not at fault. Among the documents to consider collecting if one party or another is allegedly at fault:

  • Relevant photographs of you, your spouse and your children
  • Relevant letters, notes, e-mails and text messages that show or disprove allegations of fault
  • Movies, videotapes or other relevant recordings

Filing for Divorce

You may be surprised to discover that paperwork starts to disappear from your home once you've talked to your spouse about getting a divorce. You'll make things much easier for yourself by starting to collect these items even before you contact an attorney or initiate divorce discussions with your spouse, because it pays to get your paperwork in order before filing for divorce in Florida, or in any state.

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