Immediately before filing for divorce it is important to collect copies of as many relevant documents as possible. This is because once the case is filed, your spouse may make it very difficult to get copies afterwards, and these documents can be very relevant to your case. Also, after a divorce final judgment is entered, the division and transfer of assets and property may become exceedingly difficult if there is a lack of organization.
In the Beginning of the Uncontested Divorce Process
In the context of an uncontested divorce, you should start collecting as much information as possible before beginning the negotiation process with your spouse. Information can be in the form of paper documents, emails, text messages, logins and passwords, website addresses, pictures, keys, small items, expired credit cards, etc. Otherwise, you may be giving up much of your negotiation power if your spouse starts to hide documents that shows the value of assets they may have accumulated during the marriage. These assets would likely be marital assets, divisible in the divorce, and may include significant retirement accounts, lottery winnings, cash, brokerage accounts and business interests.
In addition, documents, pictures, text messages, emails, cards, small gifts, etc. can be used as evidence of infidelity. Many divorce cases are settled when the other spouse learns that their affair(s) are known and can be proven in court. Therefore, gathering proof of infidelity as early as possible may be helpful in the uncontested divorce process.
Following the Final Judgment in your Uncontested Divorce Case
After a judgment is entered in your Georgia uncontested divorce case, make a list from the judgment of particular items that may need to be addressed, such as the division of retirement accounts. It is important to address this list with the attorney to ensure that all priorities are listed and that there aren’t any loose ends on the part of anyone else. If there are loose ends it is important to tie them up and handle them prior to executing the steps listed for the completion of the court decree. It is your responsibility to ensure that all steps are taken by other professionals to fulfill obligations, including your attorney. Your accountant and attorney might not know what you need help with, especially in the case of division of retirement plans and business interests unless you let them know.
If a loose end is not accounted for in this process, then the final complete resolution of your case can be delayed and can also cause significant expenses to be incurred. We recommend that you maintain a master list of all the documents and things you have collected for your uncontested divorce case. You can use this list to quickly help you find any documents or necessary paperwork to address the transfer and division of assets and debts. For example, one may make a folder for transferring deed to a home, title to a vehicle, or holder information to an account or retirement plan. Once the list and all documentation is complete it is important to either send the items certified mail or to send them email so that there is a paper trail of where the documents were received by the other ex-spouse. Be sure to keep all proof of email or copies of other items delivered to your ex-spouse because if a problem were to arise then the correspondences may be used to enforce the judgment.
The Following Items that should be Secured and Organized Before and After a Divorce
- Birth and death certificates
- Marriage license
- Divorce related agreements and judgments
- Passport and other citizenship papers
- Deeds to Real Property
- Car / Automobile Titles
- Mortgage agreements
- Inventory/ photos of household property
- Tax returns last six (6) years
- Insurance policies of all types
- Bank, brokerage, and mutual fund statements
- Employment benefit documents – including brochures
- Employment agreements
- Copies of Paystubs, Payroll Checks, etc.
- Deferred compensation agreements
- Stock option plans
- Keogh and IRA documents and current benefit statements
- Business documents, such as partnership agreements, tax returns, stock redemption/ buy-sell agreements, and financial statements
- Trust documents
- Wills, powers of attorney, advanced directives, etc.
- Children’s documents in separate files including, birth certificates, social security cards, immunization records, educational evaluations, etc.
- Text Messages, Emails
- Letters, Cards, Gifts
- Copies of Keys
- Websites, Logins, and Passwords
- Expired Credit / Debit Cards
- Credit Card Statements and Other Loan Statements
- Copies of Utility Bills
You will need to show all the documents you collect to your attorney so that they can best advise you on what affect they have on your case. The documents may have a significant impact on the alimony (if any) to be paid in your case, the child support amount, and the division of assets and debts. For example, the documents may show significantly more in income or marital assets than you anticipated. Or they might show that your assets are non-marital and also not divisible in a divorce case. In any event, it is best to know where you stand in the uncontested divorce negotiation process as soon as possible.
The Next Step, Following the Divorce
After all documents are organized and an itemized account has been made and the ex-spouse is given notification of all items listed for exchange then a meeting date and time may be presented for the exchange of the items. The items should be provided in the manner depicted by the final agreement which may have set particular deadlines or conditions for the manner in which the items are to be exchanged. Again create a paper trail which demonstrates the meeting arrangement to exchange properties. If property is not being distributed in accordance to the final decree then you may ask for the ex-spouse formal to abide by the order or face further legal action. On the other hand if the ex-spouse refuses to accept an exchange of ownership than you may ask in writing for permission to discard the items/ property following a deadline that determines when the property will be disposed without recourse.
Some exchanges of property will require special third-party handling through a special court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This type of order is necessary in transfers concerning retirement plans and once entered by the court it will require the administrator of the account to transfer the funds as per court order. Other payments; such as, child support or alimony should provide a paper trail and all copies should be retained on file. Payments should never be accepted in the form of cash. All related billing and cost related to child or alimony should be documented and all paper evidence should be retained. Overall maintain all documentation following the divorce proceeding and build upon the organization/ retention of files even following the divorce.
Obtaining Legal Help from an Experienced Georgia Uncontested Divorce Law Attorney
If you are facing an uncontested divorce in Georgia, call us at 770-609-1247 to speak with one of our experienced Georgia uncontested divorce attorneys today. We look forward to hearing from you. Contact >