We’ve talked about Financial Early Neutral Evaluations (FENEs) and other important family law acronyms briefly before. Just to recap, a FENE is a voluntary program that divorcing couples can utilize to help them get an idea of how their assets will be divided in the divorce.

5 Documents

Now let’s dig a little deeper and take a look at the 5 most important documents to bring to a Financial Neutral Evalation (FENE).

  1. Copies of your most recent pay stubs. If child support or spousal maintenance is at issue in your dissolution, make sure that you have up-to-date paystubs reflecting your gross earnings per pay period. It is generally a good idea to bring your paystubs from the last three months (often FENE evaluators will require this).
  2. Copies of your last two state and federal tax returns (and accompanying W-2s).  Again, if child support or spousal maintenance is at issue in your matter, it is generally a good idea to bring this documentation to determine your gross monthly income. W-2 documentation helps paint an accurate picture of your gross monthly income to determine an appropriate child support and spousal maintenance award.
  3. Financial Statements.  You should also bring statements for all of your accounts, including bank statements, retirement accounts, mortgage statements, credit card statements, etc. In most counties, the Initial Case Management Conference (ICMC) hearing date is used as the valuation date for purposes of dividing assets and debts in a divorce proceeding, but parties can always agree to a different valuation date. You should bring documentation depicting the value of any assets and debts from the valuation date, as of the ICMC hearing date or otherwise agreed to valuation date.
  4. Non-marital tracing documentation. If you are claiming a non-marital interest in an asset, you should bring documentation depicting the date at which the asset was open prior to the marriage, the valuation of the asset as of the date of the marriage, and additional tracing of the assets for gains and losses after the date of the marriage.
  5. Monthly Budget.  You will also need to bring documentation of your monthly budget, along with documentation supporting your monthly budget, such as bills and bank statements. Sometimes, a party’s monthly living expenses may be considered if a downward deviation from the child support guidelines is appropriate for extraordinary expenses.

Having these documents with you at a financial early neutral evaluation can help the process move forward quickly and efficiently.