Divorce itself can be a complicated matter, and not just because of the law. Relationships with a spouse, family members, children, friends, and even coworkers can often take on a new and challenging dynamic in divorce that individuals must adjust to. Additionally, there are many financial considerations that come into play during divorce that may not have otherwise been a concern for someone. This is especially true in situations in which individuals are facing high asset divorce. A high asset divorce involves larger individual and marital assets, and this can have significant implications on the divorce settlement as well as things like tax consequences of a divorce. The following tips can make a high asset divorce easier for individuals involved in one.
Create an Asset Inventory
It is important to create an inventory for all of your assets no matter what type of divorce you are facing. This is extremely important in high asset divorces, especially ones where a premarital or prenuptial agreement may be in place. Providing this type of list to your divorce attorney can help you make informed decisions about asset division and have a clearer picture of what your finances could look like after a divorce settlement has been finalized. While it is not always possible to predict exactly what a divorce settlement will look like, even in cases in which a premarital or prenuptial agreement is in place, it is often possible to make educated predictions on how divorce will impact each individual. Asset inventories are an important part of these predictions.
Close Joint Checking/Savings Accounts and Joint Credit Cards
To help keep a clear picture of assets involved in a divorce as well as protect your financial stability, it is important to close any joint accounts you and your spouse share. This can help prevent reckless spending or one spouse draining an account. This also applies to any joint investment accounts or any other financial assets you and your spouse share. There are several laws in place that govern shared financial assets during a divorce, but taking proactive steps to protect those assets can make the divorce process easier on everyone involved.
Open Individual Accounts and Make Appropriate Adjustments to Existing Ones
An important element of dividing assets in a Florida divorce is having a clear picture of how much money each individual has, which might be necessary in determining spousal or child support. It is also important for you to have a clear financial picture of your own earnings and assets to make more informed decisions about how you wish to emerge from the divorce process. Assets like retirement accounts, trusts, or savings accounts may also need to be updated to reflect any changes to beneficiaries. By creating an asset inventory, you can revisit individual assets throughout the divorce process to make sure that all appropriate paperwork has been updated and submitted to reflect any changes you may wish to make or are ordered to make in the divorce settlement. Keep in mind that retirement accounts can sometimes become part of a divorce settlement, and it is important to discuss such circumstances with your attorney so that you can ensure you are complying with Florida law as well as the terms of a divorce settlement.
Ensure Your Business is Protected
If you own a business, either a business started before the marriage or during the marriage, it is important to have a plan in place to protect it. Businesses can be handled several ways during a divorce, but it is important to take steps to ensure that it is handled in the way in which you prefer. If it is a jointly-owned business, then it is important to have a clear plan for how you and your spouse will handle business affairs during and after the divorce. In some cases, you may need to consider the possibility of having to sell a business as part of a divorce settlement and you may wish to inform employees of the potential for such a significant change in the business. There are a number of considerations related to business in a divorce that your Florida divorce attorney can work with you on.
Be Prepared to Reevaluate Estate Plans
If you have taken the important step of creating a comprehensive estate plan in case of your death, you may wish to revise it soon after your divorce to appropriately address changes in how you wish assets to be distributed. Changing your estate plan, especially one that involves multiple types of assets, can be a complex process and may involve different procedures than those you initially went through because of changes in relationships and/or changes in the law. However, revising your estate plan is an important step in making sure that your assets are distributed in the way you choose, something that can be impacted by divorce. Keep in mind that future remarriage may also impact your estate plan, and it is important to revisit such plan whenever there are significant changes to your estate or in your personal life that could impact your wishes.
Consult with Experts
Financial planners and attorneys that specialize in things like business law or estate planning can be an essential part of successfully emerging from a divorce, especially one in which large assets are involved. If you have a team of experts that work with you on your assets, make sure to keep them informed about important developments like divorce so that they can continue advising you effectively during a divorce and after. This can be an important part of protecting your assets and making informed decisions in divorce settlement negotiations.
Seek Legal Counsel Early
When it becomes obvious that divorce is unavoidable, and even if it is still just a possibility, it is important to get legal help as soon as possible. The earlier you enlist legal assistance from a Florida family law attorney that focuses on divorce, the more prepared you will be to go into the process. It will also help you navigate the divorce process more efficiently and emerge from it more productively. If you are facing divorce, including high asset divorce, contact Scott J. Stadler to schedule a consultation where you can find out more about how divorce might affect you and your assets.