Tips for Creating a Beneficial Settlement Agreement
Couples who are able to come to out-of-court agreements regarding divorce-related issues, such as property division, alimony, and child custody are often able to avoid the expense and stress that goes along with litigating a divorce. These agreements are known as divorce settlement agreements and can have a lasting impact on a person’s post-divorce quality of life, making it especially important for those who are thinking about dissolving their marriages, to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer who can advise them.
Hiring a Forensic Accountant and Certified Financial Planner
One of the best ways that divorcing couples can prepare for settlement agreement negotiations is to hire a financial planner who can:
- Review the parties’ assets;
- Account for all marital debts;
- Determine whether either party is entitled to retirement plan benefits; and
- Assist with divorce-related tax and financial issues.
A forensic accountant can also be of assistance during negotiations by investigating the parties’ financial documents, including:
- Tax returns;
- Bank records;
- Credit card statements; and
- Investment documents.
By thoroughly assessing this documentation, a forensic accountant can fulfill a number of important tasks, including:
- Identifying hidden assets, accounts, and properties;
- Valuing businesses and professional practices;
- Tracing assets to determine which is marital property and which is separate;
- Determining monthly cash flow; and
- Separating business expenses from personal expenses.
Making these determinations can help divorcing parties ensure that property valuations are conducted properly and that assets are fairly divided upon the dissolution of their marriage.
Determining Whether You Can Collect Benefits
It’s often easy to overlook retirement benefits during divorce negotiations. However, it’s important for Florida couples to take steps to avoid this, as retirement benefits are typically treated as part of a couple’s marital estate and so are subject to equitable division. Couples with retirement benefits who decide to end their marriages have a number of different options when it comes to dividing their accounts, including opting to receive a lump sum payment that is equal to the present value of the account or choosing to receive payments at the time of retirement.
To avoid leaving this decision in the hands of a judge, many divorcing couples choose to negotiate the division of retirement benefits, a task that is made much easier with the assistance of an accountant, financial planner, and attorney.
Retaining an Experienced Divorce Attorney
Negotiating a beneficial settlement agreement can be difficult for those without the aid of a legal representative who can:
- Review proposed agreements;
- Remove or add provisions based on what would be in their client’s best interests;
- Negotiate on the parties’ behalf; and
- Build a diligent and experienced divorce team made up of experts and advisers.
To learn more about how an experienced divorce lawyer can help during your own settlement negotiations, please contact our legal team today.
Schedule a Consultation
Developing a settlement agreement can be a complicated process, so if you have concerns about your own divorce negotiations, please contact dedicated Florida divorce lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today. A member of our team can also be reached via online message.