We have found it very helpful to give clients a head start on collecting the usual necessary financial disclosure documents. It can give you more time to root around to locate these papers. Sometimes, if you haven't begun living separate and apart, it can help you realize what you might not want to "leave home without".
FAMILY LAW – Relevant Documents to Collect
- The more of these documents you are able to collect, organize and provide to me – the better.
- Don’t panic if you can’t locate them or if you are unable to access them.
- Your spouse will be required to find the same papers, so if you come across theirs in your search, keep them separate and after we take a copy we will be sure to provide them with their documents.
- Ensure that you have discussed your “Date of Separation” with your lawyer before starting your document gathering.
Income Documents (Gather any that are applicable)
- Proof of your salary (such as pay cheque stubs) for most recent three months;
- Employment Contract, Collective Agreement or Employment Handbook with employment benefits;
- If self-employed, your income statement and balance sheet for the past three years, and an indication of how you draw cash out of your business (how much, how often, etc.). We will also need to know about everything you “expense” through the business (car, cell phone, part of house, etc.). You will also likely be asked for your banking records and credit card statements for those three years as well;
- Tax returns (your copy of your T1 General form) for the past 3 years, including T-4’s, T-5’s, along with the Notice of Assessment for each of those years. If you haven’t got them and your spouse hasn’t got yours, sign the CCRA consent form and get it back to our office right away so we can get your tax information;
Documents about Asset Values and Debt Balances
- Bank Statements for any bank accounts you have (or had) for the three months before and the three months after your date of separation. If you are still cohabiting with your spouse, get the last three months statements, pass book and cancelled cheques, if applicable;
- RRSP Statements, for the same period;
- Statements of your non-registered investment accounts, or any GIC, T-Bill or other paper assets, for the same period;
- Credit card statements for any active credit cards and store charge cards;
- Statements of any line of credit, overdraft or other credit facility on which money is still owing;
- Your last annual mortgage statement, plus the terms of your mortgage now (balance owing, rate, renewal date, monthly payment amount);
- Current employment pension plan statement (most recent and most detailed statement available);
- Written statement (e-mail is acceptable) from your employer about what accumulated employment benefits (banked sick leave, annual leave, vacation, termination or severance pay) you may have had on the date of separation. This likely requires an inquiry with your company’s HR department or officer;
- Insurance polices (whole life, term life, long term disability, mortgage insurance), with any “cash surrender value” statements for whole life insurance;
- Any house appraisal or other documents about value (MPAC, etc.);
- Inventory list of contents of any safety deposit box;
- List of denominations, coupons, and residual value of any bonds;
- List of any other real estate other than your primary residence, such as cottages, or commercial property, any part or whole interest in any other property – and any documents that may help us determine the value of that property;
- Any “Net Worth” statement provided to bank in the last three years;
- Details of any stock options, warrants, along with associated terms and restrictions – along with current market value of the shares;
- List of vehicles, with appraisals, if you have them, if you don’t, attempt to get an approximate value from the internet, at www.autotrader.ca (Value Finder) or www.kbb.com (use 14240 as a zip code – Buffalo, NY). Don’t forget to convert the US$ for the kbb.com values (any major Canadian bank site has a currency converter);
- Jewelry and art appraisals, if you have them;
- Copy of any Personal Guarantees you have signed;
Other Important Papers
- Marriage Licence/ Marriage Certificate – the original if you have it;
- Any court papers, court orders, or separation agreements relating to any earlier marriage, and any pre-nuptual agreement, marriage contract or other agreements relating to this relationship;
- (This one is sometimes tough) Any information you may have about what assets, debts or property you owned on the day before you got married – so things you brought into the marriage such as bank accounts, cars, bonds, RRSPs, etc. and what those things may have been worth. If you don’t have documents then estimate. This does not include any gifts you received on your wedding.
- Anything else you think may be relevant or helpful.
The general rule is that if you think it might be relevant or helpful – bring it in and let’s look at it. It is better to bring to have a bunch of documents we really don’t need than not have a really helpful document because you decided it wasn’t useful and left it at home.