- Your previous year's income tax return, and any related data from the IRS. (Kunstler recommends providing your lawyer with several years' returns)
- Information about your current income, (e.g., a current pay slip).
- A list of substantial assets and liabilities of both spouses.
- Copies of any applications for credit, such as mortgage applications which often contain a wealth of helpful information.
Separation Agreement , Summons and Counterclaim
The Separation Agreement
Clearly, the easiest way to prove marriage breakdown is by meeting the "living separate and apart" rules. While living apart, you'll probably want to be protected by a Separation Agreement, which spells out in detail matters such as financial relief, child custody and support, visitation rights, and division of property.
There's often a lot of time and work involved in finalizing a Separation Agreement, so if a suit for divorce has been started, the court has the power to order one spouse to pay support to the other while the case is ongoing. It may also determine temporary custody and enjoin the spouses from doing any of several things -- like removing the children from the state or substantially reducing the marital estate.
If you're amicably separated, it may be possible to create a simple written agreement as to support payments while the divorce is proceeding. (It needs to be written down and signed by both parties so that the amounts paid as alimony can be tax deductible by the payer.) My ex-wife and I handled things this way just fine and saved the trouble and possible animosity involved in court-ordered interim support. Having an existing Separation Agreement in force greatly simplifies the subsequent filing for a divorce. Lacking a Separation Agreement, the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage will have to address all of the same sorts of issues anyway. So having the Separation Agreement drawn up early is a wise investment.