No one who has ever been through a divorce will tell you that it’s an easy process. In fact, in addition to the emotional toll it can take, there’s also anxiety dealing with complicated matters that can affect your financial well-being for years to come.

While you may feel at times that the process is overwhelming, there are steps you can take to make the experience less stressful and help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Three steps helping you prepare for divorce

New York is an equitable distribution state for dividing marital assets, meaning a court will divide property equitably or fairly. However, this does not mean it will be a 50/50 split. Take these steps before filing for divorce to ensure that you receive your fair share:

Inventory all assets: Make a checklist of all accounts, property and any other assets or debts along with the paperwork verifying the information. This includes:

  • Bank and investment accounts
  • Wills and trusts
  • Insurance policies
  • Personal financial statements and balance sheets
  • All personal property, marital and non-marital
  • Real estate deeds
  • Mortgage and loan documents
  • Credit card statements
  • Premarital agreements
  • Retirement accounts and long-term care plans

Organize paperwork: Develop a system for those documents that help you or your attorney locate them quickly. Consider grouping similar records, such as keeping all homeownership documents together. Do the same for insurance, retirement, health care and so on.

Classify property: Once you’ve located all assets for you and your spouse as well as the documentation you need, separate each asset as marital or non-marital property. If you’re unsure how to classify certain assets, your attorney can help you make that determination under New York laws.

Protect your future by being prepared

Divorce can be an emotionally-draining experience, especially when children are involved. However, being on top of your financial information can help alleviate some of the stress as well as reduce legal costs. It also helps your attorney pursue a satisfactory outcome for you either through mediation, collaborative divorce, or fighting aggressively for your interests in court.