What you need to do will depend on the new finish. If it's a true refinish instead of a paint job, you can de gloss, scuff with steel wool, clean with TSP, and you're set.
Melissa: whatever you do ...prime before you paint --- for best results!
You can also use a chalk based paint. My favorite for kitchen cabinets is Annie Sloan, Jolie and Dixie Belle. :) They require no sanding! :) or priming!
You can check out my how to paint kitchen cabinets here. :)
let me know if you have any questions!
If you are painting your cabinets then you should do both before you prime. I like to use an acrylic latex paint in an enamel finish for a more durable paint finish. This is your best option for painting kitchen cabinets. Do the research! It will wear better than chalk paint unless you don't cook much or spend any time in your kitchen! I love chalk paint but I wouldn't use it for kitchen cabinets.
I painted my cabinets with milk paint by General Finishes. They turned out great! I lightly cleaned and sanded them before I painted them. You can see the materials and process I used here: http://momhomeguide.com/my-painted-kitchen-cabinets-a-year-later/