Step 2C – Determine Income (yours and your spouses)

Your lawyer will need documentation showing your income (if you work outside the home) and the income of your spouse. This is important for a number of reasons, but primarily for child and spousal support.

If your spouse is a salaried employee then your job is easy. Obtain a copy of the most recent pay stub and the most recent Income Tax Return. If you do not have access to either of these, you can obtain a copy of the Income Tax Return by requesting it from the IRS.
Complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return and mail it to the IRS address in the instructions along with a $39 fee for each tax year requested. Copies are generally available for returns filed in the current and past 6 years. You can download the form at

If your spouse is self employed, then the job of determining their income becomes much more difficult. This is why discretion about your divorce plans is important. You may want to discreetly question your spouse (or if he has one, his business partner or his partner’s spouse) about income. You can attempt to get copies of bank account statements and financial statements of the business.

Another good way to prove income and assets of a self employed spouse is to obtain a copy of a loan application or net worth statement that they may have submitted to a bank or other lending institution for a loan.
Sometimes it is difficult to prove the actual income of a self employed spouse. At this point, gather the information you can. In the case of a self employed spouse, your lawyer will likely have to help you by using the discovery process to obtain and analyze additional information.

Preparing for Divorce: Step 3 – Make photocopies of all the financial records

Continuing our series on practical steps to take when it becomes obvious that divorce is imminent, we are now on to step 3. Step 3 is simple, but important.

Step 3 is to make photocopies of all of the pertinent financial documents.

As you gather the important financial documents, you should make two copies of each of them. One is for you and one if for your lawyer. Keep your copy in your divorce notebook or file folder. It is important to keep a list of what documents you have, what documents you still need, and which of them you have given to your lawyer.

Each case and each lawyer may require a unique set of documents. But, some of the common ones will include at least the following basic ones:

  • Income tax returns for at least 3 years;
  • Most recent pay stub showing year to date income;
  • 12 months statements on every financial account (including retirement accounts);
  • 12 months statements on every credit card or line of credit; and
  • Deeds for all real estate owned by either party individually or jointly.

Jim Jeffries | Mobile & Baldwin County Attorney

Jim currently is a member of the Alabama Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Child Support Guidelines and Enforcement as well as a statewide committee that has been tasked with reviewing and making recommendations for possible revisions to Alabama's version of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). Jim was also recently appointed by the President of the Alabama State Bar Association to a serve on a committee whose purpose is to review and comment on Alabama legislation regarding joint custody for a proposal to the Alabama Legislature for possible changes in this legislation.

Jim has attained a Peer Review Ranking of AV from Martindale-Hubbell® - The highest an attorney can be ranked by his peers.

He continues to lecture to attorneys across the state regarding family law issues.

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Jeffries Family Law, LLC

Divorce Attorney | Child Support & Child Custody Attorney | Prenuptial Law Attorney

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