There have been many times meeting with new clients that they state they want their divorce to be quick, simple, and inexpensive. They want swift closure to the case, so that they can move on in their lives. However, the mindset of “let’s get this done fast” can lead to clients making poor financial choices. And the choices clients make during their divorce can have long lasting financial impact on their future.
There are many financial decisions to be made when getting a divorce such what party will retain the house or will the house be sold, what is the value of the marital home, how much child support am I entitled to, how much spousal support am I entitled to, what will be the division of the stocks, bonds and retirement accounts, and who will be responsible for the debts acquired during the marriage.
So, what does it mean for clients to make informed decisions about the matters listed above? In order for clients to make informed decisions regarding financial matters, it is necessary to know the client’s assets, debts, and income – a spreadsheet of their finances is required. In order to obtain a full picture of a client’s financial position, it requires documents to be gathered and analyzed. Once the attorney has a full picture of the client’s financial position, it is then that the attorney can provide solid legal advice to the client.
There are times the necessary financial documents and information are easily obtained. Other times, it requires third parties to assist such as appraisers, financial advisors, and accountants. If the parties cannot agree on value of the business, marital home, or personal property, appraisers need to be hired. If there are complex issues in a specific case, it is not uncommon for the parties to have discussions with their financial advisors, and for the attorney to defer to an accountant to assist with review and preparation of a financial spreadsheet.
Clients grow weary during the divorce process. And at times clients fail to see the value in appraisals and third-party assistance. However, it is then that the attorney must educate the client as to the reasons to obtain an accurate picture regarding their financial status so that a fair and equitable division can be made. And, without accurate financial information it is difficult to calculate what is appropriate for child support and spousal support.
Because financial decisions made during a divorce impact the clients for a significant period of time, or for a lifetime, it is imperative that clients be educated to the value of “getting it right” the first time, to eliminate “buyer’s remorse”. Clients must understand that there is no second bite of the apple when it comes to property and debt distribution.
For more information about your rights as it pertains to divorce, contact me, Laurie Schmitt, Attorney at Law, at Schmitt Law, PLLC, by calling 616-608-4634 or on the following link: https://laurieschmittlaw.com/contact/