Getting Your Paperwork Ready So You Can Get Help with Your Family Law Case

Find out what paperwork and information you can get together for your appointment with the attorney, paralegal, volunteer or domestic violence shelter staff who will help you with your family law case. #3130EN

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

We wrote this to help you get ready for an appointment with someone who will help you with your family law case. That someone might be:

  • A lawyer
  • A family law facilitator
  • Someone who works at the local domestic violence shelter
  • An attorney or paralegal from the CLEAR hotline going over forms with you by phone

We suggest you gather different kinds of paperwork for your meeting or phone call. You should have as much information available as you can. Try to have it organized. Then you and the person helping can go through it more easily.

Our lists are just suggestions. You do not need to have everything we suggest. It does help.

  • Not all our suggestions will apply to your case. Use your best judgment.

Try to get any suggested paperwork you do not have.
Example: If you do not have your pay stubs from your job, ask your employer for written confirmation of your wages.

  • Our lists include suggested paperwork for people with children. If you have no children, skip those.

Use folders or paper clips. Try to organize your paperwork by category and in the order things happened.
Example:  You and the other party have shared assets. Make a pile for those. Make different tabs for bank accounts, other accounts (retirement, investment), real property, and personal property. Put the oldest records at the bottom, newest on top.

  • Real property means land, and the buildings on the land. Personal property means your belongings.  
  • Police records - If you do not have any, contact the police department or Prosecuting Attorney’s office for copies. You might not get any if there is an ongoing investigation.
  • 911 call logs
  • Medical records - If you do not have these, contact your medical provider.  You might have to pay for copies.
  • School records
  • Counselor records - Be careful with these. You do not want to damage an ongoing relationship with a counselor by revealing confidential information in your court case.
  • Letters, texts, and/or emails between you and the abuser.

Financial paperwork, including:

  • Credit card account statements
  • Current bills
    • Example: medical bills, car loan payments
  • Deeds – to home, rental properties, vacation properties, and so on
  • Bank statements
  • Statements or letters for retirement and/or pension accounts and benefits
  • Title to personal property such as cars, trucks, boats, and any information about make, model, year, and vehicle identification number
  • Prenuptial or community property agreement
  • Mortgage or loan paperwork
  • Statements or letters for any non-retirement investment accounts
    • Example:  stocks, bonds
  • Tax returns for the past several years

Non-financial paperwork, including:

  • Anything from the “domestic violence” list, above, if you or a child is a victim
  • Any letters or notes from a child’s teacher
  • Child’s school records, including attendance records
  • Child’s day care records, including attendance records

Write this information down to bring with you:

  • If you are married:  date and place (county) you got married
  • If you are getting divorced:  date you separated
  • Dates of birth for you, the other party, and any children
  • Addresses:  yours, the other party’s, the children if they live somewhere else
  • Where your children have lived for the last five years
  • Any cause numbers of any other court cases involving your children
    • Example:  domestic violence protection order, dependency

Get Legal Help

Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help. 

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Last Review and Update: Jan 25, 2022
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