Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Monday, September 16, 2019

5 Things You Can Do to Prepare Yourself for Divorce

It may be impossible to be completely prepared for a divorce. However, there are certain things that you can do to prepare yourself for the divorce process. Working with a New York family law lawyer who has experience handling divorce cases is one of the best ways to prepare for divorce. Below are five other things that you can do now in anticipation of beginning divorce proceedings.

1.  Learn about your legal rights and your options

It is not dishonest to meet with a family law attorney as soon as you contemplate a divorce action. Preparing for divorce protects you, your children, and your future. An attorney can give you valuable insight into New York divorce laws, your legal rights, and options you have available to you for obtaining a divorce.

2.  Make copies and get organized

It is best to have as much information and documentation in your possession as possible before you announce your intention to seek a divorce. You never know how your spouse may respond to the news that you want to end your marriage. Some spouses react by destroying documents, especially if they believe those documents could be used against them or if destroying the document may make the divorce more difficult for you. Therefore, it can be very beneficial to make copies of important documents and records that you and your attorney will need to prepare for the divorce.

Examples of documents that you want to have in your possession include:

  • Your original birth certificate, Social Security card, passport, and other personal identification
  • Copies of income tax returns, single returns, joint returns, and business returns (even if your name does not appear on the returns)
  • Copies of income documents for you and your spouse, including W2s, paycheck stubs, retirement accounts, etc.
  • Copies of bank statements, mortgage statements, stock accounts, credit card statements, and all other financial accounts
  • Copies of real estate appraisals, financial statements, and other evidence of the value of your separate and joint property
  • Copies of any emails, text messages, and other evidence of wrongdoing
  • Copies of life insurance policies and other insurance policies

3.  Make a financial plan for yourself

If you did not handle the finances during your marriage, you need to get up-to-date on your financial situation quickly. You can't divide your assets and debts unless you know what there is to divide.

You also need to make a financial plan for yourself to minimize any financial hardship or struggle after separation and divorce. It can be helpful to have two financial plans — a financial plan during the divorce and a post-divorce plan. Create a household budget based on your income alone so that you know what you can afford and how much support you might need to pay for basic living expenses for you and your children. A budget also helps you find an affordable place to stay if you are not remaining in the marital home.

4.  Put a team together to protect you and your children

A divorce team can help you deal with the emotional, financial, and legal aspects of separation and divorce. Some individuals may need several professionals to assist them with various aspects of the divorce, but that is not the case in every situation. An experienced divorce attorney should be high on the list of professionals you want to consult regarding your divorce. Other professionals that might be helpful to have on your divorce team, depending on your circumstances and needs, including a financial planner, child psychologist, therapist, divorce coach, appraiser, and realtor.

Additionally, you also want to surround yourself with a personal support system of friends and family who can help you when necessary and lift you up emotionally throughout the divorce process.

5.  Minimize the impact of the divorce on your children

Divorce affects children emotionally and financially. The children’s lifestyle, physical residence, school, and social activities may change during and after the divorce. Whenever possible, the details of the divorce should not be discussed when children can overhear. While you want to be honest with your children, some details of the divorce do not need to be discussed. If possible, work with your spouse to formulate a parenting plan that minimizes the impact of the divorce on the children. In some cases, it can be helpful to have a mediator to help facilitate productive discussions regarding matters related to your children.

Contact a New York Family Law Attorney for More Information

There may be additional steps you should take to prepare for a divorce. A New York family law attorney can discuss the specific details of your situation with you to formulate a plan that gives you the best chance of obtaining the outcome that you desire. Contact Gassman Baiamonte Gruner, P.C. to speak with a New York divorce lawyer today.

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