When one spouse makes significantly more than the other, the spouse making less may be entitled to financial support. Numerous factors are involved in determining whether a spouse is entitled to support, how much that support should be and how long support should continue.

Post-separation support is the support received by a spouse after the date of separation and before an absolute divorce is granted and is temporary.

Alimony is support given from one spouse to another to continue after the date of absolute divorce. Your state's laws governs the factors that the Court willconsider when deciding to award alimony. For example, marital misconduct is a factor that the Court can consider when choosing to award support.

Gathering Documents

Be sure that you have gathered all of your financial documents, such as pay stubs for the last 12 months, tax returns for the last three years, and bank statements for the last 12 months. Your attorney will probably ask you for many other financial documents, but these will get you started.

Because the law is broad and the facts are varied, having an attorney is essential to maintaining a solid financial future. Make sure that your attorney understands your financial needs and knows as many facts as possible regarding your marriage. These will be important in preparing your case, whether it is to be settled or resolved in Court.

Documents You Need to Gather

Below is a list of some documents that you should gather to help your lawyer represent you. These need to be organized by type of document and by date (chronological order). If there is something in the documents of particular importance, put a post-it note on it (or some other way of marking it without writing on the document itself).

  • Pay stubs, statements, vouchers and/or direct deposit receipts;
  • Employee benefit statements;
  • Stock and stock option statements;
  • W-2’s, 1099’s, K-1’s and other income reporting statements;
  • If a party is self-employed or a partner, shareholder or member holding a 5% or greater interest in a company, business, partnership, joint venture, LLC, corporation or other entity; company financial statements (whether audited, reviewed or compiled or internal), including, but not limited to, balance sheets and profit and loss statements for the pastthree (3) calendar yearsand through the date of production;
  • If a party is self-employed or a partner, shareholder or member holding a 5% or greater interest in a company, business, partnership, joint venture, LLC, corporation or other entity: company tax returns or personal tax returns (if the party is self-employed) for thepast three (3) calendar yearsand through the date of production;
  • Federal and state individual tax return(s) filed by the party, or on the party’s behalf (whether filed individually or jointly with another), including all schedules and attachments (W-2 forms, 1099 forms, etc.) for thepast three (3) years, together with all year-end documentation (W-2 forms, 1098 forms, 1099 forms, extension requests, etc.). If any of the last three years’ tax returns have not been filed (including the most recent year’s return), any requests for extension of time to file and correspondence with the taxing agency (e.g. state department of revenue and/or IRS) for thepast three (3) calendaryears and through the date of production.
  • Documents pertaining to health, life (term or whole life), casualty, automobile and liability insurance, including, but not limited to, policies, booklets describing benefits of all medical, dental or other health insurance coverage which is or could be available for a child or spouse;
  • Statements evidencing all accounts in banks, credit unions, brokerage accounts and other financial institutions for which the party has been a signatory;
  • Complete statements for all installment and credit card accounts;
  • Bills, statements, invoices, mortgage payment booklets or other evidence of all outstanding debts, which show the principal balance currently owed and the payment terms;
  • Personal financial statements furnished to any third party (i.e., bank, other financial institutions) during the previoustwo (2) years preceding the date of separation and/or two (2) years prior to filing of the complaint, claim or motion;
  • Computer generated reports or data (or which can be generated) utilizing personal accounting software programs such as Quicken or Microsoft Money including reports showing: income, expenses, profit and loss, deposits and withdrawals.