A divorce attorney is focused on protecting the interests of his or her client, including financial interests. Some of the most important assets that your divorce attorney may try to protect include:
One of the most overlooked financial accounts by parties in a divorce is retirement accounts. Each spouse may assume that he or she will keep all of the benefits in his or her name. However, retirement accounts, like other financial accounts can be divided. Additionally, it is not uncommon for one spouse to underfund his or her own account because the couple is primarily depending on the account of the larger earner. A divorce attorney can explore options related to retirement account division to ensure that his or her client gets a fair share.
For many divorcing couples, the most valuable asset is the home in which they live. Divorcing couples may not agree on what should be done with the family home because they are both financially and emotionally connected to it. A divorce attorney can assess the situation to determine what will best serve his or her client’s interests, such as whether to sell the home, keep it or refinance it.
While financial accounts may ultimately be split between the parties, they can be particularly vulnerable while a divorce is ongoing. A divorce attorney can take steps to ensure that the other spouse does not access funds or injure the credit of his or her client. An attorney may advise closing joint accounts promptly and providing each spouse with an equal share. An attorney may also recommend that his or her client establish new accounts, including credit cards, in order to establish an individual and separate credit history.
If one of the spouses owns a business, he or she will want to take steps to protect his or her business and its reputation. This may include seeking a protective order relating to the business records. A divorce attorney may need to help evaluate the business in order to determine any portion that is subject to division. In some instances, a spouse may make a legal argument that he or she should receive some portion of the business or be compensated for the business interest due to providing time and energy to help the business or the other spouse. An attorney can help assess the situation to determine methods available to protect business interests, closely held businesses, family businesses and professional practices.
In some cases, one spouse will use the fact that certain property has special meaning to the other spouse in order to try to get that spouse to give up something of more monetary value in exchange for it. A divorce lawyer can advise clients on ways that they can protect property during the divorce so that such items do not become pawns in a scheme of this nature or “lost” in the process.
A divorce attorney can help you identify the property that is most valuable to you and navigate ways to protect it. It is also important to consider the long-term implications of owning or giving up certain property, so be sure that you consider every angle as you work your way through this process.