What to Expect When Expecting Divorce

This article will help you maximize the result you want to achieve from your action for divorce or child custody, and will try to inform you as to what you should do and know before you see your divorce lawyer in New York State.

This article will help you maximize the result you want to achieve from your action for divorce or child custody, and will try to inform you as to what you should do and know before you see your divorce lawyer in New York State.

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This article explains what you should know and do before going for a divorce consultation with a New York State Divorce Lawyer.

New York City Divorce Attorney. We help people

When you feel at the pit of your stomach, that something is terribly wrong in your relationship with your spouse, and that what you are experiencing is a nagging recurrent problem rather than a rough patch that all couples go through. That nagging feeling could mean one of two things:

  1. that you are ready to learn about your rights and obligations as a spouse. Such that you can become more of an equal partner in the ongoing, ever changing and vital, relationship we call marriage
  2. that you are ready to break away from a destructive relationship

We are imbedded in a culture that tells us that love and marriage is our greatest success. We are taught very early on that somehow we will “fall in love’ and live happily ever after. From the advertisements we see on television, to the books we are forced to read in elementary school, we are lead to believe that something is wrong if we are not married. Even the finest artwork of the Masters, displayed in museums throughout the world, depicts love and the institution of marriage as a panacea for all of our problems, that it is a romantic escapade that will, somehow rope in the light at the end an abysmal day. Renoir, for instance, was particularly devoted to the subject of lovers and often as an abstract impressionists unknowingly capitalized on the frailties and weaknesses of lovers. In “The Boating Party Lunch”, this work has an obscure brightness to it that glorified romantic love and made his paintings great. Renoir was an abstract impressionist, not a realist, and as such the beauty of his work arose from the fact that he, Renoir, rarely sought out the substance of what he saw, but only the superficial appearance of things.

So no wonder people feel ashamed, even mortified when their marriage has failed and they are forced to appear tail between their legs. Into the office of a stranger, the loathed “New York State Divorce Lawyer”, left with the option of divorce, the abysmal antithesis to the notion of perfect love. The parties are left with no in between, place where they can redefine themselves and their spouses. Especially if there are children involved.

Life sometimes imitates art. Enter Jackson Pollock, the antithesis of Renoir, an abstract expressionist who saw ugliness in convention, he rebelled against it. He defied all conventions and imparted beauty through acts of defiance rage and alcoholism. Wholly disregarding and disrespecting the institution of marriage, he lived as he had died, meeting his gruesome death as a married man, wrapped around the wheel of a car and seated with him, not his wife, but his lover, Ruth Gligman.

So what lesson does life impart upon us? Is the romantic reverie of marriage the panacea of the human condition, as Renoir would have us believe, or must drunken love and betrayal leave weeping widows (or widowers) behind who would have been far happier divorced. The answer is not at all clear, but we are closer to the truth when we identify marriage as what it really is…a lifetime partnership, romantic or otherwise, that will only work under the regular principles of a business relationship.

Business partners have responsibilities. Business partners know that, hurting each other is hurtful to the business. Business partners know that a partnership will fail if both partners are not thriving. A marriage then is a partnership of sorts, equally complicated by the reality of romantic love. By taking concrete steps to assume more responsibility for yourself in the marriage you will feel less helpless, more empowered and ultimately less dependent upon your spouse to provide for your financial, emotional, physical and psychological needs. These are things that are not taught to us in school, or growing up at home. By learning about your rights and obligations you will become less dependent upon your spouse, and that will tend to lessen the feeling of entrapment that the enfranchised spouse always has when the unemployed spouse is leaning to heavily upon that partner for financial and psychological support. Thus, knowing what a marriage entails, and not the Hollywood version, should be an integral part of saving you marriage. Seeing a New York State Divorce Lawyer might in fact save your marriage rather than end it.

But, what if both parties have realized that all love is lost, then what? The parties appear helpless, alone and infuriated. They feel like they have failed in their ultimate role as perfect husband or perfect wife. Again, not a good enough reason to get divorced, but perhaps a good enough reason to seek a marriage counselor or a psychologist, a consultation with your priest or rabbi, a serious talk with family and friends. When you have exhausted all measures to make it right, and you still feel “disconnected’ from your spouse and that feeling is not just a fleeting whim but rather an ongoing weight, then at this stage it’s time to start thinking about seeing a divorce lawyer. But if you are a victim of domestic violence, you should call the police and then seek a divorce lawyer.

I firmly believe that the New York State divorce lawyer, of your choice has a genuine interest in helping you. I know this from my eighteen years of practicing in this area of law. However, in many ways you can make it easier for that divorce lawyer. Have your documents in order, and when you see your New York State Divorce Attorney come prepared.

Be sure you have the following documents or at least know where they are kept and be familiar with their contents:

  1. Do you have your birth certificate, and the social security numbers of all member of your immediate family ?
  2. Your spouse’s birth certificate?
  3. Birth certificates for each child?
  4. Your marriage license or certificate?
  5. Are you in possession of all Divorce decrees or death certificates regarding any prior marriage of with spouse. ?
  6. Records showing title to the family real estate and the cost basis adjusted for improvements and depreciation?
  7. Real and personal property tax receipts?
  8. Income tax returns for the past four years?
  9. Title to your cemetery lot or mausoleum, if any?
  10. Titles to automobiles, boats, etc?
  11. Your social security number?
  12. Your spouse’s social security number?
  13. Social security numbers of each of your children?
  14. Knowledge of where your spouse keeps his or hers life insurance policies?
  15. A list of the life insurance policies on your spouse’s life, including group insurance?
  16. The face value (less loans) on all insurance on your spouse’s life on January 1 of this year?
  17. The name and address of the life insurance agent for your spouse?
  18. The premiums, due dates, and beneficiary designations on life insurance?
  19. Similar information on life insurance on your life and the lives of your children?
  20. What medical, accident, and health insurance your family owns?
  21. The nature of and coverage’s, premiums, and due dates on all property and liability insurance?
  22. The name and address of the insurance broker who handles your casualty insurance?
  23. The life, accident, health and other group insurance from your spouse’s (or your) employment?
  24. The amount of social security benefits you and your children will receive upon your spouse’s death?
  25. A list of any benefits to which you, your spouse, or your children may be entitled, based upon your spouse’s military service, or corporate stock options?
  26. The market value of your separate assets on January 1 of this year?
  27. The market value of your spouse’s assets on January 1 of this year?
  28. The market value on January 1 of this year of all real estate, stocks, corporate bonds, government bonds, and other property owned with your spouse (or anyone) in any form of joint ownership?
  29. The location and number of any safe deposit box in your spouse’s name, your name or joint names?
  30. The location of the banking institution and the keys to the safe deposit box and the parties who have access thereto and the passwords or box numbers ?
  31. All family bank accounts, including the banks, the titles of the accounts, and the persons who have powers of attorney?
  32. Where your spouse’s Will is kept?
  33. The contents of your spouse’s Will, including the name of the personal representative?
  34. Whether you have a power of attorney under your spouse’s Will or any other instrument?
  35. The name and address of the attorney who drew the Will or should represent the estate? (You should know her or him personally.)
  36. The name and address of the accountant whom your spouse employs on personal affairs?
  37. The name and address of the preparer of your tax returns?
  38. Your spouse’s principal banking contact?
  39. The names, addresses and telephone numbers of all financial institutions where you and your spouse have you money?
  40. The approximate family income for the last year?
  41. Your spouse’s various business interests, including percentage of ownership, rights upon death or the death of an associate, and whether such businesses are operated as corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorship?
  42. Do you know the desires of your spouse in the event of disposition or dissolution of any partnership, corporation or closely held business?

Be sure you know whether you and your spouse have the following documents:

  1. Do you have liability coverage on your automobile? Your insurance cards registration, lien holders and title ?
  2. Do you have up-to-date beneficiary provisions on life insurance that have been reviewed within the last three years?
  3. Do you have a current will or trust. Your New York State Divorce attorney will ask you for this information. If so, are you aware that your testamentary rights will be altered by virtue of your divorce decree? Do you have acceptable personal representatives, trustees, and testamentary guardians named in your Wills? DO you have or need a financial planner? DO you have an estate plan in place that will take advantage of the marital deduction if gross family assets, including life insurance and joint property, exceed $675,000
  4. Does your estate plan minimize your income taxes and estate taxes? Did you consider the expense of your children’s education and your continuing education or training needs?
  5. Do you have an appraisal on the marital residence and on all real property which you think you may have an interest in, whether or not the property is in your name or in the name of your spouse or any other person?
  6. Do you have an appropriate amount of insurance on your jewelry, furs, an art objects based on recent appraisals?

Warning: The information contained herein is not intended to substitute for legal advice from your own retained lawyer in new york state. This article is merely informational in nature, and is based upon one attorney’s knowledge of the practice of family law, matrimonial law, domestic violence, child custody, child support and orders of protection.

Retain counsel before you do anything to affect your marital status and follow the advice of the lawyer you retain, not what is written herein.

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