Filing For Divorce – What Has to Be Done? 

If you’re going to file for divorce, you might be wondering what exactly you should do next. Here are some tips to keep in mind: filing your income tax returns, serving your spouse, and calculating child support. Also, be sure to keep your separate property separate from the marital one. If you’re not able to afford a lawyer, you may be able to get help for free or at a very low cost. If so, check with your local legal aid office. 


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Income tax returns 

If you’re getting a divorce, you’ll need to file your income tax returns. Depending on the terms of your divorce, you may be able to deduct alimony and attorney fees associated with your divorce. These costs are considered personal expenses and can be deducted as long as they are related to your divorce. If your spouse has side hustles, you’ll also need to document those expenses. This includes anything from commissions to tips. Self-employed spouses will also need to provide tax forms and business forms showing their interest in their businesses. 

Serving your spouse 

Filing for divorce requires the service of a divorce petition. To serve your spouse, you must first attempt to locate him or her. If you are unable to find your spouse, you can request permission to publish the divorce petition in a local newspaper. The cost of publication varies by county, so make sure your spouse lives in the jurisdiction where you filed for divorce. Once you have the divorce petition, you must serve your spouse within 120 days or the case will be dismissed. 

Calculating child support 

How do you calculate child support if you’re filing for divorce? New York has two separate statutes that govern this matter. The first one is the Domestic Relations Law section 240(1-b) and the second is the Family Court Act section 413(1)(b). Both statutes almost exactly mirror each other. Both also include an office that assists individuals with disabilities. Then there’s a formula that considers the income of both parents and the number of children. 

Keeping separate property separate from marital property 

If you are getting a divorce, you should consider retaining some of your separate property. Marital property is anything that you purchased during the marriage. If you had a down payment on your home, for example, that would be separate property. On the other hand, if you financed the mortgage, that would be community property. Keeping your separate property separate from the marital property is essential if you want to protect your assets. 

Getting legal advice from a divorce attorney 

The first time you meet with your attorney, you should be sure to discuss the particulars of your case. Your divorce attorney can tell you about the divorce process in a way that you won’t understand unless you’ve spoken to them beforehand. The lawyer should take the time to understand your concerns, and you should have no concerns about your spouse finding out about your consultation. Make sure that you and your divorce attorney have similar priorities.