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How to Financially Prepare for Divorce

Posted by Sunshine, Isaacson & Hecht LLP on October 27th, 2020

If you believe that divorce may be on your horizon, it is ideal to take certain steps before the process begins in order to protect yourself. In today’s blog post, we’re discussing the financial side of preparing for divorce. 

Before You Meet with an Attorney

One step you need to take immediately is to gather together all of your bank statements, mortgage statements, and related documentation going back at least one year. It is wise to do this before you even meet with your attorney, as it is something they will surely ask you for, and you can save time and money by already having it on hand.   Perhaps the most important document to bring with you to your initial meeting is your most recently filed tax return.

A Line in the Sand

In the state of New York, there is a presumption that anything that occurs before the divorce is filed is marital, and anything that occurs after is separate property or debt. This means filing draws the line in the sand for “yours” vs. “mine.” This also means that you should be prepared to open new accounts once you file for divorce so that, for example, your paychecks can be deposited into your personal account and not a joint account. 

Do Not Conceal Assets or Income

Concealing assets or income during a divorce is illegal and you are likely to be caught. Your spouse’s attorney can subpoena your banks and employers easily and get all of your information.  If you conceal something, the attorney will likely find it (we certainly would!), and then you will lose all credibility with the Court.  You will also incur additional legal fees as we try to remedy the oversight or concealment.

Be Careful with Your Spending and Saving

During or just before the divorce process is not the time to make large purchases or spend exorbitantly. This is one time in your life in particular where it’s wise to be careful and measured in your spending, and save as much as possible. You can never be sure how lengthy your divorce process might be, or how property division will pan out, or how much alimony or child support you may be required to pay, so be careful not to throw money around recklessly.

Consult a Lawyer

Your attorney can provide you with advice that is more catered to your unique circumstances. If you anticipate a divorce or if you’ve already started the process, the Sunshine, Isaacson & Hecht team is here to help you. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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