Protecting Your Financial Interests During Divorce
Divorce is an important event that impacts almost every aspect of a family’s life, including their financial situation. Protecting your financial interests during divorce is critical not only to ensuring financial stability during the proceedings themselves, but to ensuring financial security after the divorce has been finalized. In this post, we’ll walk you through a few tips for safeguarding your own financial interests during a Florida divorce.
Understand Florida’s Equitable Distribution Laws
Every state has its own method for dividing a couple’s assets upon divorce. Florida adheres to an equitable division standard, under which a divorcing couple must divide their marital assets and debts in a fair manner. This does not, however, mean that a couple’s assets will be split down the middle. Instead, courts will determine what type of arrangement would be equitable or fair, based on a few different factors, including the parties’ incomes, occupations, and whether they share children. These distribution laws, however, only apply to marital assets, or property that was acquired during the marriage. Separate property will usually remain in the sole possession of the original owner. This is why it’s so important to have a thorough understanding of what assets and debts qualify as marital assets and which as separate property.
Gather Financial Information
As a part of the property division process, divorcing couples will need to disclose a wide range of financial information, including their incomes, debts, and separate assets. This information will also come into play when making alimony and child support determinations, so it is critical for couples to have a detailed understanding of their financial situation before filing for divorce. Couples will need to collect and assess many types of financial documents, including bank statements, tax returns, and valuation estimates. It will also help for spouses to become familiar with their monthly bills and expenses.
Hire a Financial Expert
Another step that divorcing couples can take to help protect their financial interests is to retain a financial expert, like a forensic accountant. These experts can assess the value of joint assets and debts, identify joint and separate property, and determine whether one spouse is attempting to hide valuable assets. This information can, in turn, make all the difference when attempting to secure a fair share of marital assets.
Create a Post-Divorce Budget
We also often encourage divorcing couples to create a post-divorce budget that takes into account:
- Living costs, such as mortgage and rent payments;
- Household expenses, such as utility bills;
- The cost of food, clothing, and other necessities;
- Monthly loan payments;
- Tuition payments; and
- Entertainment costs.
By developing a budget, divorcing couples can gain a better understanding of their financial needs after divorce and the type of settlement agreement that will be necessary to meet those needs down the road.
Seek Help From an Experienced Florida Divorce Lawyer
Call dedicated Florida divorce attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. for help navigating your divorce proceedings and protecting your financial interests. You can set up a free case review by calling 954-945-7591 today.