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How to Prepare for the Divorce

If you think that your marriage may be heading for divorce, there are some things that you could do to prepare yourself for the legal and financial divorce. Remember, however, that there are other kinds of divorce that may be more difficult than that of dissolving an economic partnership – the religious divorce, the physical divorce, and the emotional divorce (dealt with elsewhere).

Start getting financial records together:

  • Tax returns for the past three years.
  • Current pay stubs and previous stubs, to determine current income.
  • A summary of typical monthly bills and expenses. Do a budget.
  • A list of all assets, their current values, current statements – house, other real estate, retirements, cars, stocks, bonds, stock options, checking accounts, insurance policies (face value and cash value), business ownership, professional practice, household items (art, antiques, collections, gold, precious objects)
  • A list of current liabilities – mortgages, home equity loans, bank loans, personal loans, auto loans, credit card balances, insurance loans, retirement loans, taxes due.

Research your state’s divorce laws to find out what the guidelines are for division of marital property and marital debt, guidelines for child support, guidelines for spousal maintenance, options and requirements for divorce filing in your state.

Research divorce mediation services in your state if you want to stay in control of the decision making process, and if you want co-operative resolutions that enable you and your spouse to retain your individual parenting roles.

Many bankruptcy attorneys suggest that applying for bankruptcy before the divorce can be more advantageous than doing it after the divorce.


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In order to file for divorce in New York, on spouse must be a resident for one (1) year. However, if the spouses were married outside the state, both parties must live in the state for two (2) years before filing for divorce. These New York residency requirements must be met in order for the court to have jurisdiction over the case.
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