Hiring a divorce attorney can be like hiring a physician to do cosmetic surgery: You do not want to just hire anyone who is not certified to do that surgery. Getting a divorce is extremely stressful, and the last thing that you will want to need to do on top of coping with the logistical and emotional consequences is checking up on the work of your divorce attorney to ensure that they are managing everything properly… There is a lot of information regarding divorce law that you will need to understand. Divorce attorneys are just like any other doctor. They are there to provide medical advice to patients. It is important that you trust them, and they should have a long and impressive track record when it comes to providing you with excellent legal services.
The first issue that you should be aware of is asset division. There are two main categories of assets when it comes to a divorce: marital assets and non-marital assets. Spousal support and child custody are separate matters; however, these are very often separate from and in different legal entities. In most states, marital assets are included in the marital property settlement; while non-marital assets are either transferred out of or included in the marital estate plan. If there are no marital properties or no funds left in the marital estate, the court will usually order an intestate estate evaluation to determine which assets will be distributed.
Once the evaluation has been completed, your spouse will be expected to pay all applicable taxes on the transferred assets. This is why it is so important for you to have an experienced attorney on your side; the last thing that you want is for your spouse to skip out on paying their share of the taxes by using your retirement account or putting the money in a bank account overseas. An experienced divorce attorney will be able to help you fill out the appropriate forms, as well as inform you whether you can move forward if your spouse decides not to pay the taxes. Even if you happen to be able to keep your overseas bank account, your attorney can inform you of the possibility that you could still be required to pay the tax.
Many times, couples who are married will decide that they want a divorce but do not want to get a divorce immediately after the marriage is terminated. If this is the case, your divorce attorney can help you with a number of things. Perhaps your spouse agreed to share some assets before you were married and now that you are divorced, they are trying to change the agreement to keep you from receiving more than you deserve. If this is the case, your attorney can file a petition with the courts to have the agreement changed to include additional assets that are jointly owned. Your spouse will probably have to supply documentation, but an experienced attorney will be able to present this proof to the court and have it approved.
The court system may also be willing to allow your spouse to continue making payments into joint bank accounts. Again, your divorce attorney will be able to assist you with this. If payments are stopped, your spouse could face financial ruin because of continuing to be in default of payments. Your divorce attorney can make a petition to the courts for an order that the payments be stopped. The court may decide in favor of the payments or may order your spouse to repay what he or she owes to you based on what the courts determines is fair and just. This is a very good reason to retain a lawyer who specializes in family law.
As you can see, your divorce attorney can make a huge impact on the success of your divorce process. It is important that you hire a lawyer who is well experienced and has a good reputation. The last thing you want to do is get involved in a situation where your lawyer makes the mistake of representing you and your spouse in court. Make sure that your attorney is reliable and has the experience needed to represent both of you.