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What do I need to know about property before divorce?

A divorce is never an easy thing for a couple to go through, even if the proceedings are amicable. Although children of a marriage that is breaking up are the most important and often most divisive issue in a divorce, the division of property from a marriage is usually a close second for parents.

A lawyer may be a person's best friend when sorting out all the needs for divorce proceedings. Attorneys make things better when they have all the right information, so there are inquiries that people should make when planning for the end of their marriage.

What kinds of property should be divided?

Anything that a couple gained or maintained together during a marriage is considered "marital assets" that need to be dealt with during divorce proceedings. This often includes any real estate owned by the couple, as well as money and other financial instruments in both spouses' names.

What information do I need about these assets?

Real estate often requires the most research before a complete divorce proceeding. Information about mortgage payments, the disposition of the property at the end of the marriage or how the property will be retained by one spouse after divorce is required. Any tax information, especially liens or other encumbrances on the property, is also necessary.

Where do I start finding this information?

Nassau and Suffolk counties both maintain online databases of property information dating back to at least 1987. This includes land ownership and taxation records. An attorney can also help with the search for this information and other data that may be required.

Source: Suffolk County, "Online Records," accessed Feb. 07, 2018

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