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Do you need document backup when asking for spousal support?

While you don't always need as many documents as you might think to file for spousal support, it does help to come prepared. If you think you might file for spousal support of any type during or after a divorce, consider gathering some information ahead of time. When you meet with a lawyer, you'll already be somewhat prepared with documents and data, which can speed up the process. Here are some common documents you might need when filing for alimony or support.

Credit card statements, bank statements and savings accounts statements might be required. In fact, if you have financial statements of any type, it's a good idea to organize them in a file as you prepare for or go through divorce. It's not that everyone who deals with divorce or spousal support matters will need all those documents, but you might need them and having them in an easy-to-access place will make the entire process less stressful.

Pay check stubs or other proof of income is usually a must have when financial documents are required. It's a good idea to keep physical paycheck stubs for a while or ensure you have access to digital copies to print as needed. If you don't have pay check stubs, you might be able to rely on bank statements that show direct deposit income.

Tax returns are another important piece of financial data you might need in a divorce. They are a great way to provide evidence of an overall financial narrative through the years. Other types of documents you might need include passports and identification, credit reports, explanation of benefits from insurance companies and bills. If you aren't sure whether a document might become relevant, hold on to it until you can ask your attorney.

Source: Divorce Magazine, "Making Your Case for Spousal Support," Michelle M. Smith, accessed Feb. 16, 2017

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