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I did talk to an attorney before I left my ex. I was told that if we had an idea of how we wanted to work things, to do that--just work things out and then see an attorney to just codify what we'd worked out.

We ended up using a mediator and so didn't have to follow all our state's (NY) rules, for reasons I still don't understand. Or maybe it was just that the standard formulae were not applied since we both agreed to do it differently. Anyway I know I was lucky to have a relatively unacrimonious divorce and it was relatively simple, though it did drag out over time.

Bottom line: I left, we split all our assets including the co-op we owned jointly and shared custody of our children (1 week with each parents; kids stayed together but we were both very flexible). Seems there was no penalty for me being the "leaver".

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