Divorce is a complicated process, even for individuals who agree on many of the terms of a divorce settlement. There are still extremely important nuances in the law, which is why working with an experienced Florida divorce attorney is an important part of the Florida divorce process. Often, it is easy to make financial mistakes throughout the divorce process that can end up having a significant impact on the divorce settlement and/or each person’s individual finances after a divorce is final. The following are some common financial mistakes individuals make throughout the Florida divorce process. Being aware of these pitfalls can help you work with your attorney to avoid them.
Not Utilizing Mediation
For many couples going through divorce, mediation can be a productive option. If you can effectively communicate your needs and wants with your spouse during the divorce process, mediation will allow you to maintain flexibility in the way you structure the divorce settlement. This means that you will have more control over the terms of the settlement, which can benefit you in the short and long term. By failing to utilize mediation to its fullest extent, couples put control of the terms of the settlement in the hands of the court. That may result in a settlement that has more rigid terms than each person may have wanted. Even if communication with your spouse is difficult, it is important to try and allow the mediation process to work.
Hiring a Confrontational Lawyer
The stereotypical divorce lawyer from television and film is a shark who goes right for your ex to punish him or her for the behavior he or she may have engaged in which could have led to the divorce. However, it is a common mistake to rely on combative and confrontational representation. Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means Florida courts will rarely “punish” a spouse for poor choices, like adultery. This type of approach to legal representation can stall mediation and other positive opportunities throughout the divorce process, leading to the same result of the court having ultimate control over your divorce settlement. You may have a lot of anger towards your spouse, but hiring this type of lawyer often causes far more problems than it is worth. While your spouse’s poor behavior could have an impact on some parts of the divorce settlement, you do not need an overly aggressive attorney to bring such issues to light.
Failing to Budget
From the moment you begin considering divorce, you will notice that finances play an integral role in the divorce process. You will need to be aware of every detail of your financial situation, and that of your spouse, to ensure that you can make informed decisions about property division and other matters related to your divorce. It is extremely important to budget accurately from the start of the divorce process so that you are aware of the financial needs that will arise after the divorce. For instance, what arrangements will you need to make to afford rent and utilities if those were costs previously shared with your spouse? Will you need to purchase a new car? What other costs will you need to be concerned with because of the divorce? By anticipating these concerns, you will be able to create a budget that helps you understand your current and potential future financial situation.
Another budgetary issue that often arises is that, for many couples, one spouse primarily handles financial matters which can leave the other spouse in the dark about budget matters. If you are concerned that your spouse may take advantage of that arrangement and may try to hide assets or engage in other prohibited actions, it is important to discuss those concerns with your attorney as soon as they arise so that he or she can work to investigate them and bring them to light. Even for adults, it can often be a difficult process to again consider the myriad financial responsibilities associated with a divorce and with emerging from one successfully.
Failing to Consider the Impact of Taxes
Often, especially in contentious divorces, couples underestimate the significant impact that taxes can have on finances during and after a divorce. When couples find it difficult to communicate during the divorce process and instead focus on trying to gain the upper hand in negotiations, they fail to recognize that each of them has a common concern: the Internal Revenue Service and its impact on divorce. An experienced Florida divorce attorney can help you understand the potential tax consequences of your divorce settlement, and can even help you find an experienced financial planner who will help you figure out an effective way to approach taxes and other financial concerns. It is almost always in couples’ best interest to work together to avoid the potential tax pitfalls that can accompany a divorce, especially when taxes related to property and some support are factored into the equation.
Not Fully Evaluating the Potential Impact of a Divorce Settlement
During a divorce, it can be difficult to look past the day when the divorce is finalized. However, when determining whether or not a divorce settlement is right for you, it is important to consider the long-term financial effects of that settlement. For instance, if you and your spouse agree that you will retain control of the marital home in exchange for your spouse receiving other property, there may be important factors to consider if you plan on selling the home down the road. Especially important for younger couples considering divorce is the impact that divorce will have on retirement, specifically for couples that may have intertwined retirement assets. You will also want to recognize the potential impact of factors such as inflation and asset depreciation as they relate to the ultimate value of a given divorce settlement. Working with an experienced Florida divorce attorney can help you approach these concerns with confidence so that you can make the best decision for you regarding a proposed divorce settlement.
Not Working with an Experienced Florida Divorce Attorney
One of the biggest mistakes people considering divorce make both legally and financially is engaging in the divorce process without the help of an experienced Florida family law attorney who focuses on divorce and various aspects of the divorce process. Like most areas of law, family law and divorce statutes can change quickly. It is important to work with an attorney who has a finger on the pulse of these changes so that he or she can help you understand the divorce process and allow you to make the most informed decisions throughout it. Scott J. Stadler has worked with numerous clients through all phases of the Florida divorce process and can put that experience to work for you. Each divorce is unique, with individual concerns and needs that Scott J. Stadler is ready to address. Contact Florida divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler to schedule a consultation where you can find out more information about the Florida divorce process and how it could potentially impact you.