An easier, faster and better overall divorce experience is possible if you obtain competent and reliable information. Getting reliable legal and financial advice is extremely important. You must develop a divorce plan and strategy, be informed and educated, and become the manager of your own divorce case.

You must prepare on three difference levels to fulfill the necessary requirements of a successful divorce in New York State. These include mental, emotional and financial preparedness. Prior to beginning your divorce case and before you take any affirmative action, you must prepare yourself.  You have to think carefully about your case, your life, and your children.  It is important to make a detailed and specific list of all the things you want to achieve by undertaking the divorce or separation.  These need to be consistent with your life goals, values, your children's best interests, and your property and overall financial security.

The issues involved in a legal divorce in New York are very specific when it come to your finances, the equitable distribution of marital assets, custodial arrangements that are in your children's best interests, child support, and maintenance.

1. Put your papers in order
First, you need to put your divorce papers in order. Be sure to keep in a secure place copies of important financial documents. Essential and critical financial papers include tax returns, insurance policies, bank statements, investment accounts, salaries, and benefit programs.

2. Keep an expense journal
It is important for you to keep and maintain a journal of all your expenses, along with receipts. This is especially needed for your children's expenses.

3. Establish credit
It is very helpful if you can establish personal credit relationships such as gasoline credit cards, department stores, and nationally issued credit cards with companies such as Visa, MasterCard, etc.)

4. Open a bank account in your name
Be sure to open up in your name a new bank account. This should be at a separate bank from where your spouse does business. Begin to put away as much money on a regular basis as you possibly can. After you separate, you will find that you will need to have available funds to retain a good New York divorce attorney, as well as to afford your day-to-day living expenses in the event that your spouse refuses to pay for your support. If this is the case and your spouse withholds financial support, you could be placed under a financial burden until an application for temporary support and maintenance can be heard and decided by the court.

5. Keep inheritances separate
It is important to keep any and all inheritances separate from the marital estate. Do not put an inheritance into joint names or accounts with your spouse.  Furthermore, don't use your inheritance money to pay for family expenses or purchases or to pay down debts.

6. Have access to your car
If you have a vehicle, make sure that it is in good working condition.  Also see to it that it is titled jointly or, preferably, in your sole name.

7. Don't quit your job
If you are employed, it is very important that you do not quit or leave your job. It is essential to maintain and secure your financial independence and earn enough to maintain assets such as your home, apartment, etc.

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8. Save receipts
It is advisable to save all of the receipts for major purchases while you are still married and living together with your spouse. Be sure to prepare an inventory of all of the property and assets acquired during the marriage. If you have a safe deposit box, keep a current inventory of its content.

9. Keep your documents secure
All of your valuable documents should be stored in a safe place.  Find a safe address where you can receive your personal mail. Consider repayment of family loans, if possible, and upgrade your clothes and personal appearance.

10. Prepare your spouse
Consider how you can prepare your spouse and let your spouse get acclimated to the reality of being divorced in the near future.

More on getting started with a New York divorce

For more information on preparing for a divorce or to schedule a consultation to discuss your case further, contact NY divorce lawyer Ingrid Gherman at (212) 941-0767 or fill out the on-line form.