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In Washington, a community property state, all assets acquired during marriage by either spouse are split 50-50 in a divorce with limited exceptions. To determine which assets constitute community property, attorneys and accountants sometimes need to trace the history of assets to see when contributions were made and in what amount. Accordingly, there are several financial documents that must be maintained and produced for the other spouse during divorce proceedings. To make things easier for themselves, individuals may want to compile and organize their documents before meeting with an attorney.

Financial documents

Any documents reflecting income, like tax returns and pay stubs, should be compiled and organized by date. If one spouse owns a business, that spouse should also bring documents relating to business expenses, like financial statements, bank statements, and profit and loss statements, to his or her family law attorney.

It may be a good idea to put financial documents relating to the parties’ bank accounts in a separate file. These documents would include statements for savings, checking and investment accounts.

Other retirement fund documents

Community property may include a person’s retirement account or pension fund contributions, so documents reflecting the value and contributions to any of these funds will be relevant to assessing the value of the community property. Individuals should also find any documents designating beneficiaries for their retirement or other funds since they may want to change the designations if they previously designated their spouse.

Real estate documents

Individuals filing for divorce will also need their attorneys to review documents reflecting the value of their community property home and the amount paid for the initial purchase and in mortgage payments. Documents relating to the refinance of the home and showing the property’s legal description could also be relevant.

Retaining an attorney

These are just some of the documents that will likely be relevant when getting a divorce. In most cases, individuals will need outside assistance to help them reach a divorce settlement. If you are filing for divorce, you may want to consult with a family law attorney.