The Essential California Divorce Document Checklist

When filing for a divorce in California, there are a number of different documents you should provide for your attorney, so that he or she can know how to best proceed in the matter. Depending on the issues involved in your case, you may wish to produce documents that date back approximately a year prior to the date on which you separated from your spouse through the present time. In some cases, you will need to provide documents that date further back. If this is the case, your attorney will advise you regarding exactly which documents are necessary.Getting all of these documents together before you file for divorce will help your attorney speed-up the divorce process. In addition, it will help preserve critical evidence that may be needed to resolve your case. You should gather the following documents:

  • Individual income tax returns from the past three to five years (federal and state)
  • Any business income tax returns from the past three to five years (federal and state)
  • Proof of your current income (Including W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and recent pay stubs)
  • Prenuptial agreement, if one exists
  • Bank statements
  • Retirement account statements
  • Stock portfolios and options
  • Pension statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Any existing loan documents
  • Utility bills and other bills (tuition, medical bills, etc.)
  • Life, health, automobile and homeowners insurance policies
  • Real property deeds for each property you or your spouse own, or any properties owned by any entity that you have an interest in
  • A detailed list of personal property, including jewelry, home furnishings, artwork, electronic equipment, clothing, etc. If you and your spouse own any particularly valuable or unique items you may wish to photograph them and inventory them and perhaps obtain an appraisal.
  • List of real property and assets owned by each spouse prior to marriage
  • Wills, trusts, living wills, powers of attorney, durable powers of attorney

It is important to remember that this list is not exhaustive. Your family law attorney may require additional documents from you. The more of these documents you can provide, the easier it will be to proceed with your divorce.

Gerald A. Maggio is an Orange
County divorce attorney
, in Irvine, California. To learn more about Orange Country divorce lawyer, Gerald A. Maggio, visit