Monday, April 15

How Lawyers Can Protect Your Rights in a Divorce Settlement

Divorce filings are public and reveal intimate details about a couple’s financial situation. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer can help you navigate the process while maintaining privacy.

A settlement agreement can resolve key issues such as property division, child custody and spousal support. Your divorce attorney can negotiate a settlement that meets your needs and reflects the facts of your case.

Hidden Assets

Safeguarding assets is one of the primary concerns for individuals who hire divorce attorneys. This involves understanding who owns what property that was acquired throughout the marriage, as well as determining which assets are separate. In some cases, spouses attempt to hide their financial wealth during a divorce case in an effort to avoid sharing it with the other party. This can lead to numerous problems, including increased attorney’s fees, a damaged relationship with the other spouse post-divorce, and even criminal charges for money laundering or tax evasion.

When this occurs, it is important for the person who suspects hidden assets to work with a trusted divorce lawyer who can help uncover these hidden assets. This can include conducting a thorough review of the person’s business and financial records, as well as analyzing their lifestyle and spending patterns to identify suspicious activities. Often, an investigator or forensic accountant will be necessary to detect these hidden assets.

This type of investigation can be a lengthy process, but it is vitally important to ensure that the person gets a fair settlement when the divorce case is settled. In addition, discovering hidden assets can also have a significant impact on the outcome of the divorce case, as it may affect how much spousal support is awarded.

Although it’s a shame to see a show like this end, Hidden Assets does have some good moments, and there are plenty of opportunities for Wallace (Kwaku Fortune) and her team to do their job. The first thing to remember when searching for hidden assets is that it is important to get everything in writing, and not to rely on electronic copies. Having hard copies of all the financial documents can help protect you in the event that a vindictive spouse decides to change the password on joint accounts.

Child Custody

A couple’s most significant asset, often times, is their children. This makes child custody one of the most sensitive issues in a divorce case. Parents can get caught up in the anger and resentment they feel towards their ex-spouse, which can make them say or do things that can be used against them during court proceedings.

The best way to protect your rights in a child custody hearing is to behave responsibly and maturely. This includes wearing appropriate clothing to the courtroom and abiding by courtroom etiquette. A judge will form an opinion about you before you even say a word, so your behaviour in court can affect how your case plays out.

If you want sole or joint custody of your children, it is important that you hire Gold Coast’s top family law firm. A court will not award you custody if you are simply seeking revenge or are only interested in keeping the kids away from your ex-spouse. You need to have a valid reason to want full or partial custody, such as the ability to provide your children with a safe and secure home.

The trend in recent years is to favor joint custody, allowing parents to spend significant time with their children and share decision-making responsibilities. In these situations, the judges consider factors such as each parent’s work schedule, living arrangements, and whether either spouse has a history of alcohol or drug abuse. The established relationships between the children and extended family members are also taken into consideration. Lastly, if a parent violates a custody or visitation order repeatedly, it may be grounds for modification of the existing arrangement.

Child Support

If you have children, then child support is a big issue in your divorce. Both parents are legally obligated to provide financial support for their children after a separation or divorce. In some cases, the parties can agree to a mutually agreed-upon amount of child support. In other cases, a judge decides the level of child support based on a set formula that considers the income of both parents. Generally speaking, the basic child support obligation covers costs for food, shelter and clothing. In addition, mandatory add-on expenses include health care costs and childcare costs for the minor child or children.

Sometimes spouses try to hide assets in order to avoid paying child support. They do this through trusts, overseas accounts and less sophisticated methods like transferring property to family members or friends. Having an experienced attorney on your side who specializes in finding hidden assets can make all the difference in the outcome of your divorce settlement.

Often, one parent may feel that the other party is misusing child support checks for their own needs. They may claim that the receiving party is spending their child support money on vacations, expensive clothing or personal items. However, this type of argument is unlikely to be successful given how the law determines child support payments.

After the final judgment of divorce is entered, a modification of child support is possible, but only upon showing a non-temporary change in circumstances. This could include (but is not limited to) a change in income, a change in the proportion of time the child spends with each parent, and/or a change in the child’s needs. Your lawyer can review your case and determine whether it is appropriate to seek a modification of child support.

Property Division

When divorce is on the horizon, it’s important to have an attorney’s help to make sure your property interests are protected. This is especially true for complex cases involving high-value assets. These cases often require careful classification of property as marital or separate and a detailed valuation of those assets.

It’s also vital to understand how state laws on property division affect the outcome of a divorce settlement. Many states follow a doctrine called equitable distribution, which means that the court will try to make a fair property division award. This can be difficult for some couples, especially if one spouse has more wealth than the other or if there is a business interest involved.

The first step in this process is identifying which property is marital and which is separate. This includes determining whether or not there has been commingling of separate property with marital property and establishing the source and history of all assets. For example, it is relatively easy to prove that a house bought during marriage is considered marital and assign a value based on tax values or appraisals. It’s much more complicated to determine the value of a business or a personal interest in real estate.

Finally, the court must decide what percentage of the total value of all assets each spouse is entitled to. This can be influenced by a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s income level and needs after the divorce, and any alimony awarded.

This can be a difficult area to negotiate, and it is not uncommon for attorneys to work on a consultative basis rather than handling everything from start to finish (known as full-scope representation). In these situations, the attorney’s role is limited but still vital to helping you secure the best possible result in your case.

Business Ownership

Business owners work hard to develop and grow their businesses, and they don’t want to lose a portion of their business in the event of a divorce. A few pre-emptive steps can help to protect business ownership interests in the event of a divorce.

A couple can choose to establish a business as separate property before they marry, which could allow it to remain that way in the event of a divorce. However, if the business increases in value during marriage, it can be considered marital property and subject to division.

Alternatively, the spouses can use a buy-sell agreement to safeguard their business interests in case of a divorce. This type of agreement outlines what will happen to the shares in the event of a divorce and can be prepared by a lawyer experienced in business law.

If a spouse is employed by the business or manages aspects of the business, it can be more likely that the business will be deemed marital property and the non-business owner spouse could claim a share. Ideally, a business owner should try to ease their spouse out of the business as early as possible and make it clear that they are not interested in their spouse profiting from their efforts.

For those with significant investments in a family-owned business, they can also consider establishing a trust to manage the assets. This can avoid a court having to determine the value of the business and ensure that any money distributed by a court will be used as intended. If you’re struggling to preserve your business ownership in the event of a divorce, contact a skilled New York City family law attorney for assistance.