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Although the dissolution of a marriage is typically fraught with emotions, it’s in your best interest to try to compartmentalize your concerns. As you work through your emotional issues with a counselor, work through your practical concerns with a divorce attorney. A divorce attorney in Tampa can help you learn how to prepare financially for the divorce and how to protect your interests.

Gather Financial Documents

Your divorce attorney will need lots of financial documents to arrange for a fair division of property. Additionally, you’ll be required to disclose certain financial information on an affidavit. You can expect to need tax returns for the last three years, three months of your most recent pay stubs, and the prior year’s W-2, 1099, and K-1 forms. Your lawyer will also need access to your bank account statements, life insurance policy, retirement account statements, and documents pertaining to any debts you and your spouse have.

Check Your Credit Reports

Divorce attorneys strongly recommend that their clients check their credit reports before the trial. Review your credit reports for any accounts your spouse may have opened without informing you or any payments that he or she may have missed.

Evaluate Childcare Costs

If you and your spouse have children, child support will be a factor in the court order. Calculate their basic expenses, such as food, housing, and clothing. Other discretionary expenses, such as extracurricular activities, are often not taken into account.

Appraise Collections

Does your spouse have a baseball card, vintage bottle, or another type of collection that might be valuable? Consider hiring a professional appraiser to estimate the value of the collection. You’ll also need to have the value of your home and cars assessed.

Close Joint Accounts

Talk to your divorce attorney about when you should begin closing accounts held jointly with your spouse. If the two of you have a shared credit card, for example, you could be held liable for any debts your spouse accrues while the divorce is pending.