If you can see a divorce approaching, there are steps you can take to minimize the stress and to bring things to a faster resolution. Preparation can also be the key to getting a fair result. Here are some actions to take if your marriage is irretrievably broken:
Consult a Long Island divorce attorney. Before you enter divorce proceedings, you have to be aware of the legal ramifications that simple actions have. You could unwittingly disadvantage yourself in property division and
child custody, etc. For example, even taking your kids to your parents' house during the divorce can hurt your case.
Make copies of all financial documents and titles, etc. This means getting your hands on tax returns, every single financial statement you can find, life insurance policies, mortgage papers, credit card statements, wills, Social Security statements, car titles, and more. It is all the more crucial that you get documentation if your spouse is self-employed. Copy the pertinent information from your computer, for example.
List all your property. You can sabotage yourself in
property division if certain items get passed over. You need to know and record each piece of furniture, valuables, appliances, vehicles, and more. You will definitely want to keep track of things in storage and in safe deposit boxes.
Keep track of household income and expenditures. This can mean going through each item in your check register, outlining utility and mortgage payment, and knowing what you spend each month in cash. The last step could mean writing down how much you spend every day, so by the end of the month you know the exact amount.
Get a handle on debt. First, establish whose debt is whose if any debt was incurred before marriage. If there is any marital debt, then see if you can bring it down before filing for divorce. The less debt there is, the smoother your divorce may go.
You need to know how much money your spouse makes. You may want a pay stub so you can know the full amount he or she earns. You may have to pay attention to monthly income for more than a few months to determine what a self-employed spouse makes. You would have to take the same step if a spouse owns a business or gets paid in cash at all.
Keep tabs on what you might be able to make. If you are unemployed, or if you are staying home to be there for your kids, then you will need to determine what your employment outlook is like. You should consider whether or not you will need training or more education before a divorce. If education is not possible at the moment, some types of
alimony can cover education expenses for you if necessary.
Look at your credit history. Do you have credit in your own name? You need to. If necessary, get a credit card, and start building good credit. Do you have bad credit? Try to improve it before the divorce.
Save, save, save. Even in a divorce when temporary support is ordered, you could have to go for some time without financial help from your spouse. He or she may even leave the house with bills unpaid. Have your own banking account, and save for both the court and household expenses you will face.
Remember the kids come first. You want as little disruption in their lives as possible. Too many divorces drag children through traumatic court battles and leave scars. Try to work things out with your spouse so that the kids do not see your fights, even if that means you two are never together when the kids are present. Also remember to not belittle or disparage the other parent in front of the children. Actively participate in your child's life, his or her educational, social, and sports events. If you do so, you may be able to ensure a bright future for your child.
If you have any questions about preparing for a divorce, going through one, or modifying a current divorce agreement, please do not wait to contact our Long Island divorce attorney.