It is common knowledge that divorce is a less than amicable affair for all those involved. In addition to dealing with the emotional toll of ending a marriage, divorcing couples must deal with the inevitable question of dividing their assets. There may not be an easy answer for some couples as to what percentage of financial assets each party should receive, especially if one or both parties have been investing significant resources into increasing their net worth throughout the marriage.
In any case, it is crucial that individuals going through a divorce protect themselves and their future by understanding the consequences of their course of action during this difficult time. This starts by gaining clarity on everything, from property division options to retirement account protections, to how you can invest your money post-divorce.
So, how do you go about doing this? Here are some helpful tips on protecting your assets during a divorce:
Be Sure That Your Prenuptial Agreement Is Ironclad
While prenups are often seen as indication of a couple’s unwillingness to trust one another, it is still vital that an individual protects oneself. This can be achieved by drawing up an unbreakable prenuptial agreement before saying ‘I do’ and subsequently adhering to its terms. Of course, this is easier said than done, so it may be wise for you to retain the services of an attorney who specializes in family law before entering into a legal union.
Change Your Will
When you get a family law lawyer, speak with him or her about the possibility of making changes to your will. A new family situation may warrant a change in how you’d like your assets to be distributed. Keeping your will up-to-date can prevent family members from fighting over your property after you die. Once again, family lawyers are an excellent resource here as they have experience dealing with similar issues and can give guidance on ideal ways to go about this process.
Keep Liquid Assets Separate
Although most people combine all their liquid capital (cash, mutual funds, stocks, and many more) during the marriage for convenience’s sake, this does not mean that you should let your spouse have easy access to them. To do so would not only make it harder for you to protect these assets, but it will also hinder you financially as you attempt to rebuild your life after divorce.
Protect Inherited Assets
Suppose you are the recipient of significant financial resources (i.e., an inheritance) which has been gifted or passed down to you by a relative before getting married. In such an instance, these financial resources must be kept separate from the marital estate during the divorce proceedings. This is because these assets were given directly to you before your wedding day, thus, they do not have to be shared with your spouse.
Be Wary of Gifts
While gifts received before entering into a marriage are generally exempt from property division during a divorce, all ‘gifts’ received during the marriage are still subject to distribution during a divorce proceeding. For instance, if you have been gifted a new car or family heirloom, the onus will be on you to prove that it was given as a gift and not to your ex-spouse.
Close All Your Joint-Accounts
Having joint accounts is common with couples who share finances, but the spouse who wants to keep all their assets separate should close out their joint accounts as soon as possible. This ensures that only one person has full access to the available funds and helps to prevents any disagreements down the road.
Don’t Forget To File Your Taxes Separately
Whether you are married or single, how you file your taxes makes a big difference in your family law case. If you have been filing your taxes jointly, this will make it harder for you to argue for an unequal split of the marital property once the divorce proceedings begin.
As such, filing taxes separately may be beneficial if one party would like to convince the court that their income from the marriage was not used to support the family. Conversely, filing taxes jointly is advantageous as it allows for more exemptions and lowers your family’s taxable income each year.
Keep A Journal
When you first begin to suspect that all might not be well within your marriage, it may be helpful to document these suspicions and keep track of how they evolve. This journal can help you later when you must prove that the divorce proceedings began before a specific date and that no reconciliation was sought on your part after this point in time.
If you do not have sufficient evidence showing that the marriage ended before this threshold – say one full year – then your spouse may attempt to claim alimony or spousal support (which would likely depend on their income level and length of your union) and half of their assets would be distributed to you.
Open a New Bank Account
If your spouse keeps the family finances under their control, you may have a hard time keeping hold of assets that should be considered non-marital property. The best way to combat this issue is to get your hands on some liquid capital and keep it somewhere safe – a location which cannot be accessed by anybody else. In addition, you should also obtain a credit card for this account that does not offer joint privileges.
Be Aware of Tax Implications When Splitting Assets
All assets that are divided between family members during a divorce are subject to taxation. If you are looking for ways to save money on taxes, partial compensation might be advantageous. How much you get taxed will generally depend on whether or not your family’s assets were commingled with those of your ex-spouse’s at the time of division.
Hire a Well-Versed Divorce Attorney
Getting a divorce is hard enough, but doing it without the guidance of an experienced legal professional can mean that you walk away with less than half of your family’s assets or find yourself on the hook for alimony. A good divorce attorney will know how to correctly value your assets, recognize what can be classified as separate property, and draft an agreement in such a way that a family law judge will uphold it.
An attorney will be able to go through all the legal documents and explain what they mean so that you can be sure of where each family asset stands during the proceedings.
How To Find The Best Family Lawyer
If you’re having family-related issues, you must look for family law solicitors who can help you get the result you want. If family law is utterly new to you, it can sometimes be confusing to figure out precisely what attorneys do and how they can help. As family law covers a broad spectrum of issues, a divorce lawyer must have a vast knowledge of family matters to provide sound advice on different types of family issues.
Experience is one of the most important factors that should be considered when you are looking for a family law attorney. If he or she has experience, there might not be any need for you to conduct extensive research on any topic, which will ultimately save you time and money. As well, a divorce attorney must stay up-to-date about family-related laws so that they can provide you with the best advice.
Lawyers need to be good at communication, and this is a crucial factor that should be considered when you are looking for a family law solicitor. A family legal aid solicitor, who has excellent communication skills and makes you feel comfortable, will work with you to understand your family situation and any concerns which you might have.
Once your lawyer knows the situation in depth, he or she will come up with various solutions that you can choose from. You should discuss all possible options with your family solicitor before making any major decision. This is because once the decision has been made, it might be difficult for you to retract it.
Family law solicitors should be willing to help you with all your legal family issues and to listen to your family problems carefully. They will start working for you only when mutual trust is present. Family legal aid solicitors will make sure that everything goes smoothly from beginning to end so that there are no unnecessary complications in the future.
Family lawyers need to consider your family situation carefully before coming up with a solution, as law covers almost every aspect of family life. This can be extremely challenging without experience and good communication skills.
You should seek family legal aid solicitors who will look after you, address your concerns, and provide you with sound advice. If you come across a family lawyer who is not interested in you or your case, it is best to avoid him or her since commitment is crucial in ensuring that you have the best chance at getting the results that you are hoping for.
The most critical aspect which should be considered while looking for a family law solicitor is confidentiality. Your lawyer must keep all your information safe, without any hesitation. This ensures that you are well-protected at all times.
Family attorneys need to be flexible and able to work according to your convenience. If they are inflexible, it might be difficult to establish a beneficial partnership whereby your best interests are well looked-after. You should speak with your family solicitor before making any commitment, as it is to your benefit to engage a solicitor who will remain available to you when you need him or her the most.
Even if your family lawyer needs to travel, they must let you know about it in advance so that your case does not suffer because of their absence. Lawyers should always maintain open lines of communication, whether it be through emails or phone calls.
Costs associated with hiring a divorce lawyer can be significant. No one wants to spend more than required. Hence, it is best to have an understanding of a lawyer’s legal fees before hiring him or her to represent you and your case.
It might be beneficial to find a law partner who offers free consultations. There might be many issues initially, such as getting familiar with the case, taking all necessary documents from you, doing some research or study about it, etc. But finding out these things through free initial advice will help save a lot of money in the future.
Knowledge of the Law
Look for a family legal aid attorney who is familiar with all the legal issues which are related to your case. This will give you the best chance at getting the outcome that you are hoping for. . As well, you must be sure about a lawyer’s expertise before hiring him or her to help you make informed choices, such that you do not waste any time nor resources.
Family lawyers should have negotiation skills since there might be disputes between both parties involved. When negotiations involve the custody of children, for example, you want to ensure that you have a lawyer who can use his or her skills to come into a mutual agreement where everyone benefits without losing anything. That is why it is crucial to check whether or not your solicitor is well versed in skills associated with negotiations.
If you come across online reviews and testimonials related to any law firm which offers family law services, it is in your best interest to check their reviews before enlisting their assistance. This is the best way to gain insight on their track record.
Your family attorney must be licensed to practice law. Inadvertently hiring an individual who is not legally certified will ultimately harm you and your chances in receiving a fair outcome. So it is always better to check a lawyer’s credentials before hiring him or her for your case; otherwise, it may lead to further issues later on.
Before you file for a divorce, ensure that you are well prepared and understand all possibilities and consequences of your actions. It is always better to get proper family legal aid before going through with such a serious decision. This ensures that your wellbeing, health, and financial stability will be priority over anything else at this critical stage of life.
In addition, there is nothing wrong with protecting your valuable assets and properties. After all, you are getting what you have as a result of continuous hard work and struggle. Do not let anyone deprive you of your hard-earned resources.