First Steps for Divorce
If you and your spouse no longer wish to be together, you may be wondering what the first steps for divorce are. Having an attorney to guide you through will be very beneficial.
First Steps for Divorce | What do I do to prepare for divorce?
What you do to prepare for divorce depends on the kind of the divorce – whether it’s amicable or high-conflict, and whether there are significant assets or children involved. No matter the particulars, you will need some basic documentation ready, including tax returns, credit card statements, and a statement of net worth. You should also be prepared to tell your attorney at your initial consultation about the history of your marriage, mentioning any time spent residing out of state, any children, and any history of domestic abuse, including verbal abuse.
The more assets you have, the more documentation you’ll need to gather. You should be ready to share bank account statements, pension and retirement account statements, investment information, and information on property holdings. Your attorney will need to know if you own collectibles like art or cars or anything that appreciates in value. Even things like holiday bonuses and other aspects of your compensation structure at work will be subject to examination.
An experienced family law attorney can tell you, based on the particulars of your case, what other documents you may need or steps you may need to take to protect yourself, your assets, and your children.
First Steps for Divorce | What if I can’t locate my spouse to file for divorce?
In New York State, absent the court’s permission, you must personally serve an individual with a summons with notice or a summons with complain for divorce. Starting on the following day, your spouse will have 20 days to respond. If he or she does not respond before the deadline passes, you can proceed to a judgment of divorce by default.
This doesn’t mean that you will retain all of the marital assets. If you and your spouse have lived separately – and financially independent – for many years, you may be able to retain all of the assets. However, if your spouse simply doesn’t respond, and, say, you have had a pension or shared savings account for many years of marriage, a judge may still order the distribution of those assets.
If you want to discuss the first steps for divorce, please call our Saratoga divorce attorneys today. We would be glad to help you.