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Pre-Divorce Planning Guide

In the first of this two part series, Family Law Attorney Gwyneth Murray-Nolan, Esq. gives you tips for preparing for the divorce process.  

Divorce is a daunting process. Once you are at the point of emotional acceptance and ready to move forward, what do you do? Everyone you know has advice and an anecdote, but how can you truly know how to prepare for what is coming? Whether you and your soon to be ex-spouse use attorneys or mediation, some things are still important to organize prior to having a discussion with your spouse. Some will be easy to collect and useful to both parties, while others may take some planning and work.


Living Arrangements

The documentation regarding your living arrangements will be important in regards to your household costs and expenses for your residence. If you are renting, get a copy of your lease agreement and your rental insurance policy. If you own your home or condo, you will need:

· Monthly Mortgage statement

· Access to any online mortgage services

· Deed to house

· Co-op Agreement - if live in a co-op

· Condo Board information -if live in a condo- obtain condo rules and regulations, condo financial statements

· Insurance documents such as home owners' insurance policy, including any riders

Monthly Bills

You will need statements of all monthly household bills - electric, gas, cable, cell phones, lawn service, snow plow, cleaning person, etc. for last 3-6 months. Check to see that you are an authorized user on all of the accounts. If you are not, now is the time to get your spouse to add you. Imagine having your cell phone shut off because your ex does not want to pay it, and you cannot even transfer your number as you are not AUTHORIZED to do so. You will need this to calculate the monthly expenses as well as for certain required court documents later in the process of divorce (such as your CIS).

Tax Time

In the early part of the year, taxes are at the forefront of everyone's thoughts. Collecting information and getting taxes filed through an accountant or other service is a part of your "to-do" list. After April 15th, this might not be the case. Spend some time compiling information from the last 5 years. Required information includes:

· Copies of all tax returns for the last 5 years - both state and federal

· Copies of all W2s, 1099s and proof of earnings for both spouses for last 5 years

· Copies of last 5 pay stubs for both spouses (most recent pay stubs)

About the Author

Ms. Gwyneth Murray-Nolan is a Partner at Weiner Law Group LLP, specializing in a number of diverse areas of the law. Ms. Murray-Nolan has extensive trial experience in the State of New Jersey in a wide variety of practice areas including family law, personal injury and insurance defense cases. Ms. Murray-Nolan is a Member of the Morris County Bar Association, a Member of the New Jersey Association for Justice, and a Member of the American Bar Association. 

Gwyneth Murray Nolan small for social media.jpgMs. Murray-Nolan has served as a Morris County Civil Mediator and a speaker for various functions and associations pertaining to the law.


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