The first step in any divorce is finding someone to guide you though the process. The right guide will be able to answer your questions, explain the divorce process, and prepare you for what is likely to come. You may want to consider making an accounting of the family finances prior to obtaining advice so you know what you own and what income is available.
If you have not traditionally handled your household’s finances, it might be hard for you to answer questions about your net worth, income, or financial status. Not to worry, this information can always be obtained during your divorce using formal or informal discovery. In Kentucky, parties to a divorce are required to complete a financial disclosure. If your spouse has all the financial information, their disclosure might be a starting point for discovery.
If you have access to your most recent tax return, it is often a helpful place to start. If you and your spouse file a joint return, your return will include the income from you and your spouse, as well as information on income-producing assets. The IRS has resources that can assist you in understanding your tax return, or you can enlist the assistance of an accountant or family law attorney to get started. If you do not have access to your tax return, check with your accountant or financial advisor and ask for a copy of the records in their possession.
Ultimately, attorneys have tools they can use to get information. The right guide will help you to determine the best and most efficient way to obtain what is relevant to your case.
Elizabeth M. Howell