Be Aware of 29 Key Financial Records

Records You Will Need to Be Divorced In Massachusetts

One of the things you will find once you start the divorce process is that very little in your life will remain private. Your (soon to be) former spouse will attempt to find out - and possibly show the court - everything about you. This is particularly true of your finances. You need to be prepared to supply all the requested records. Otherwise, a Motion to Compel may be filed and, if the court finds that you have not followed the Rules of Procedure, you will be sanctioned. The purpose for full financial disclosure is so that the court can equitably divide assets and debts.

The 29 Most Frequently Requested Financial Records

What follows is a list of the 29 most frequently requested financial records. These records document income, assets and debts. Not providing them could have negative consequences down the road if your ex charges you with hiding assets because you did not provide certain records.

  1. Personal tax returns
  2. Business tax returns
  3. Bank statements
  4. Pension reports
  5. Social Security reports
  6. W-2 forms
  7. Loan applications
  8. Insurance policies
  9. Brokerage account statements
  10. Wills and trusts
  11. Appraisals
  12. Deeds
  13. Mortgages
  14. Vehicle titles
  15. Credit card statements
  16. Property tax bills
  17. Frequent-flyer miles
  18. Stock option reports
  19. Leases
  20. Information about payments for daycare, cleaners and babysitters
  21. Cancelled checks
  22. Listing of safe-deposit box contents
  23. Listing of debts
  24. Certificates of deposit
  25. Listing of property sold or gifted in three prior years
  26. Benefits received from insurance, Social Security, unemployment insurance or pensions
  27. Partnership records
  28. Student loan disbursement statements
  29. Credit reports

At Law Group, P.C., our family law attorneys are in a good position to advise you about each of the records you must provide. Not all of these records are things that we ordinarily keep; we can point you in the right direction as you search for them.

A Word About Tax Returns

Tax returns, both business and personal, contain a wealth of financial information. Here are some of the things you can learn:

A. Sources of income from employment

B. Sources and amounts of interest and dividend income

C. Interest from tax free bonds

D. Taxable refunds of state and local taxes: How was the refund used? Was it transferred into a retirement account?

E. Overpayment of state and federal taxes that are credited for future tax years and then refunded

F. Retirement plan distributions: Did the party receive a distribution from a deferred compensation plan or IRA? If so, how were the funds used?

G. An entry on the alternative minimum tax line (line 5 on the 1040) might indicate that the taxpayer may have tax preference and can lead to the discovery of hidden assets.

H. Form 6521 contains the alternative minimum tax calculation. This calculation was designed to prevent taxpayers from using shelters and credits to reduce or eliminate tax that would normally be due by providing for a separate taxing method, creating tax preferences. Other lines on this form might indicate accelerated depreciation on real estate, mining exploration and development costs, research and experimental expenditures and incentive stock options. If a stock option has been exercised, its value will be reflected on this form.

I. Form 4797 will indicate the sale amount of a business item and the gain or loss from the sale of business assets.

J. State and local income tax may reflect income generated in another state or income generated by assets located in another state.

K. Real estate and personal property taxes: Are taxes being paid on properties that are not listed on an asset statement?

L. Interest paid, mortgage interest and points reported on Schedule A: Deduction of interest reflects the existence of loans. Such deductions may lead to the disposition of loan proceeds or to the loan application filed for the purchase of an undisclosed asset.

M. Property used to earn income or for business purpose appears on Schedule A.

N. Investment interest paid could reflect the existence of a liability related to an investment or a margin account.

O. Casualty and theft loss: If a loss is reported, inquire into the disposition of the insurance proceeds.

P. Miscellaneous deductions: Safety deposit rental expense, other expenses incurred to produce income and tax advice. Estate planning advice may be deductible. This could lead to the existence of an estate planning file that could contain information about the entire estate.

Q. Schedule B, Interest and Dividend Income, Lines 11 and 12: An entry on these lines may be the only clue about what is commonly called a "foreign asset protection trust."

R. Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business: This schedule could reveal a side business that is used to fund a Keogh plan to increase retirement plan deductions.

S. Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses: Reflects the sale of property for gain or loss: Trace the proceeds from any sale.

T. Schedule E, Supplemental Income and Loss: Shows rental properties and income from partnerships, S corporations, estates and trusts as well as existence of investments in partnerships and "S" corporations. The schedule may also reflect passive activity carryovers which should be considered an additional asset.

From our office in Boston and from other locations throughout the Commonwealth, our attorneys advise clients about the information they must provide as they go through the divorce process. With many years of combined experience, our lawyers know what the other side is looking for and how to find it.

Why So Many Records to Get a Divorce?

These types of financial records are used in almost all aspects of divorce - division of property and debt, child support and alimony. They will help establish the relative financial positions of each of the parties, which in turn will determine how much child support will be paid or received as well as how much spousal support/alimony must be provided. And if you have to go back to court to modify a child support or alimony order, you will need these records again.

Our Brain Trust

At Law Group, P.C., we employ the best forensic accountants, appraisers and retirement specialists to help analyze the financial records you and your spouse provide. Together with our in-house attorneys, these experts constitute what we like to call our "Brain Trust," a legal team that puts its knowledge and experience to work for each client in pursuit of a positive outcome.

Contact a Massachusetts Divorce Lawyer Today

To learn more about us and how we can help you with your financial records, call us toll free at 800-851-7724 or contact us online. Learn how having the right attorney can make a difference in the outcome of your case. We can meet with you 24/7 anywhere in the state to discuss your case.

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