Unless you are doing your own divorce, your divorce attorney may suggest you consult with other experts, especially someone in the field of finances. Financial consultants may be needed for a variety of reasons:
Determining The Value of Your Assets
You and your spouse have assets that will have to be split between the two of you. Before that can happen, however, these assets need to be appraised for their current value. This can include real estate, jewelry, businesses, and other personal property such as clothing, furniture, rare wine collections, and art.
In fact, you may want several appraisers, as a real estate appraiser would not qualify as an appraiser of artwork or rare books or wine. Appraisers with very specific and narrow expertise may be needed. A general appraiser of books may not have sufficient knowledge to determine the value of a rare Shakespeare collection.
When it comes to real estate, you may need a residential appraiser and a commercial appraiser. Your attorney will help assemble the most appropriate collection of experts to help you.
Income and Expenses
The status of your financial assets is not limited to copies of your tax returns and pay stubs. In some cases, tax liabilities and benefits need to be determined. Expenses, including future expenses for children’s education, need to be calculated. Your attorney will bring in a financial expert familiar with lifestyle income and expenses. If your divorce is expected to be litigated, you may want a forensic accountant who is qualified to testify as an expert in his or her field. Should the divorce be resolved outside of the courtroom, your personal accountant may have the knowledge needed to determine the present and future state of your finances.
Whose Property Is It, Anyway?
During your divorce process, you will be dealing with diverse types of property. For example, there is the property you and your spouse brought into the marriage separately, referred to as “premarital.” There is a good chance that this property will not be deemed marital property and the original owner will retain said ownership. In addition, one of you may have come into an inheritance during the marriage. Again, this will likely be deemed personal property instead of marital property. A financial expert can help paid a clear picture of your assets and liabilities. You may need to produce evidence that you owned the certain property prior to the marriage or that certain assets acquired during the marriage belong solely to you.
For example, you inherited money from an aunt, which you invested in stocks. Subsequently, you sold some of the stock to purchase a car. It will take an expert money tracker to track those funds back to your inheritance and exclude the car from marital property.
If you and your spouse agree on the division of assets, there will less of a need for these experts. It does become necessary if the matter goes to court and you need to prove the value of disputed assets and liabilities.
Why Do You Need An Attorney In The First Place?
It is certainly possible to arrange your own divorce without an attorney. This may work if there is no property or children involved. And yes, you will save money. However, there are excellent reasons to hire an attorney to represent your interest in the divorce:
The Attorney Is An Expert
You and your spouse may agree on most details. But an expert family law attorney can help with scenarios you may not have considered. Financial issues such as retirement funds or custody are not static. Circumstances that you may not foresee at this time may need to be addressed, such as what happens to custody if one of you decides to move out of state. What happens to pension funds? An attorney can offer advice even when the divorce is without general contention.
An Attorney Can Lessen Stress
Regardless of how well you and your spouse get along, a divorce is a major life event and stressor. The attorney can help ease the stress by handling the necessary details, such as the filing of documents. He or she can also talk you through the procedure and explain what is expected, thereby eliminating unpleasant surprises.
An Attorney Can Help You Avoid Mistakes
Any legal process, even an amicable one, can become complicated. There are so many details involved, you may easily miss a few. Such mistakes can turn costly when the papers are reviewed by the court. A form that is improperly filled out and signed may have you agree to something you never intended. A divorce attorney will ensure that your paperwork is handled properly and that your interests are protected, even if you never step inside a courtroom.
Get A Divorce Without Unnecessary Delays
As has been stated, filing all the needed divorce documents can become complicated. Any problems will likely cause delays that could be avoided with the assistance of an attorney. This means that the attorney will move the divorce process along as quickly and efficiently as possible without you struggling in a state of limbo for any unnecessary period of time.
Do Divorce Attorneys Cause Animosity?
Some people are under the impression that divorce attorneys expand their roles by encouraging hostility between the divorcing couple. The fact is, most attorneys simply want to reach a fair conclusion for their clients. To prevent a prolonged trial, attorneys will generally refer the couple to mediation to help them work through disagreements and find solutions without stepping inside a courtroom.
The idea is to get past the anger and move toward resolution. An attorney can be a valuable asset during your divorce.
Divorce involves more than the pain of breaking up a marriage. Legally, it can involve hundreds, if not thousands, of minute details that may be difficult for the divorcing couple to handle. For that reason, and in the interest of both parties, a divorce attorney, and any other needed experts, can facilitate and ease the process for everyone.
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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