Preparing to File for Divorce in the New Year

The end of the year is a common time for unhappy couples to start thinking about divorce. People in troubled marriages may think of the new year as having a fresh start. Although you are looking to file for divorce after January, there are some things you can do to prepare for divorce that will make the process smoother.

  • Know your Debts: Make a list of all the debts that you have. This would include credit cards, mortgages, car loans, student loans, personal loans and any other debts you might have. Make sure you include both “your” debts, your “spouse’s” debts, and any joint debts.
  • Know Your Assets: Know your assets and make a list of the same. Most divorces will require you to fill out a document called the “Statement of Net Worth”. The Statement of Net Worth is similar to a budget statement. When considering your assets, make sure to include:
    1. Real Estate (both your primary home and any vacation homes)
    2. Cars
    3. Financial Accounts: i.e.: Checking, Savings, Money Market Accounts, CD’s.
    4. Stocks, Securities, Mutual Funds
    5. Pension and Retirement Accounts: i.e.: 401(k), IRA, Profit Sharing, etc.
    6. Life Insurance
    7. Business Interests
    8. Personal Property: i.e.: Art Work, Jewelry, valuable collections
  • When making your list of assets, try to determine their value and if you are claiming them as joint or separate property.
  • Gather and Organize Important Documents: Important documents include tax returns, W2 Statements, and Banking Statements.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., have represented countless clients in their divorces. If you have questions regarding filing for divorce, contact David Badanes at 631-239-1702.

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Why You Should File for Divorce BEFORE the New Year Starts

In December, for those persons considering to file for a divorce, many times they will wait until January to file. However, there may be a good reason why you should file before the New Year starts.

It is important to know, that you can file in December, and you do not have to serve your spouse in December. You can file in December and then wait until January to serve your spouse with the divorce papers. In this manner, you get the benefit of filing early, yet, you do not have to upset the holiday season.

What are the potential benefits of filing in December and before the New Year:

  1. Debts: For most debts, the amount of marital debt that is considered is determined as of the date of filing. The most common example is credit card debt. Credit card debt is a joint marital debt. So, no matter whose credit card it is, you most likely will owe 50% of the amount of credit card debt that existed as of the date of filing for a divorce. Once, you file for divorce, you most likely will not be responsible for any additional credit card debt that is incurred after the date of filing. Of course, there are many exceptions to this rule, but, you may benefit from filing in December to freeze the amount of credit card debt you are responsible for.
  2. Valuation of Assets: The valuation of assets almost always changes. Whether or not an asset has a higher or lower current value may benefit you. You may want to file early to “lock-in” the valuation of an asset.
  3. Changes in Income: When determining child support or spousal maintenance (alimony), the starting point is last year’s W2 or income. So, if you file in December, you first look at last year’s W2. If your income is less last year than this current year, you may benefit from filing in December.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., have helped numerous clients in determining whether or not to file in December or in January. If you are contemplating getting a divorce or if you have been served divorce papers, contact David Badanes at 631-239-1702.

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What Happens if I Miss Court?

If you are scheduled to go to Court, you should attend. However, if you can’t attend or just “miss” your court date, then this is what you should do.
If you have an attorney, then the first thing you should do is contact your attorney and tell your attorney that you cannot attend court. Your attorney will advise you on what to do.

  1. If you do not have an attorney, then as soon as possible, you need to contact the court and explain why you could not attend. This should typically be done by a letter to the Judge. In your explanation, you should explain that you are sorry that you missed court. Then you should explain why you did not attend.
  2. If you do not attend Court, then you could face the following penalties: (1) the Judge could issue a warrant for your arrest; (2) the Judge could hold you in contempt; and/or (3) the Judge could order you to pay your adversary’s legal fees to attend court (while you were not there).

You should do everything possible to make sure you attend Court. As stated above, if you miss Court, then you could face serious consequences. Furthermore, your absence will not bode well as to how the Judge handles your case.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. represents clients in their divorce and family court matters. To make an appointment or to learn more then contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. today at 631-239-1702, email at or visit our web site:

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Is It Considered Abandonment If I Leave The Marital Home?

There is a misconception concerning “abandonment” or leaving the marital home. Prior to 2010, New York State required divorcing couples to establish “fault” in order to get divorced. One of the grounds was abandonment. One way to show abandonment was to establish that one spouse left the house for a period of one year or more.

However, since, 2010, New York State is now a “no fault” divorce state. Therefore, divorcing spouses do not have to establish any fault, and can simply file for divorce without any grounds. Accordingly, since 2010, virtually every new divorce is filed using the no fault statute, and very few divorces are filed under the old basis of abandonment.

Although, leaving the marital home will no longer be used as a legal basis for a divorce, it still may have some negative consequences. If there are children involved, leaving the home may hurt your ability to gain custody of the children. It is often better to stay in the marital home, until you can discuss, with your attorney, strategies on how you can leave the home without injuring your ability to gain custody.

Even in situations without children, it may not be a good idea to leave the marital home. If you establish another residence, outside the marital home, and you are paying the expenses (mortgage, rent, etc.) for both the marital home and your other residence, that may work against you when computing spousal maintenance (alimony).

Therefore, although leaving the marital home, will not be considered “abandonment”, at least in the legal sense, you should consult with an attorney prior to leaving the home.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. can help you with your divorce and other family law issues. Please call or contact David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. at 631-239-1702, email at or visit our web site: The Badanes Law Office, P.C. has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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