In a divorce, assets must be fairly and adequately distributed. Our attorneys have decades of experience advising clients on property division, alimony (spousal support), and child custody.
Your lawyer can help you prepare for this process by collecting records of your financial health, including bank accounts, investment statements, mortgages, and past tax returns.
Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is a legal contract between two people who are planning to marry or are already married. These agreements can protect assets in the event of a divorce.
These agreements identify the property as separate that would otherwise be considered marital property, specify the character of future earnings and pensions, and determine the value of intangible assets like goodwill and stock options. A certified family law specialist can help couples reach an arrangement that complies with state laws and protects their financial interests in the event of a divorce.
These agreements are often helpful when one or both spouses have significant assets from previous relationships, own a business, or wish to leave certain family heirlooms unmarried. They can also help clarify how a couple will handle debt during the marriage.
A divorce lawyer can explain how a court looks at assets and what might be realistic regarding alimony and child custody. They can help you create a settlement that is fair and equitable.
Parents with joint legal custody can decide about their children’s health, education, and welfare. In some states, this is called shared custody. In others, it’s known as time sharing or parenting time. Many courts prefer that children spend significant time with each parent, even if they live in different homes. The idea is that the children will have two engaged and involved parents with real homes. However, this is only sometimes possible. Judges consider age, relationships with other relatives, and each parent’s ability to care for the children.
Child support is typically based on a formula considering both parents’ incomes. A court will generally order both parties to share their children’s food, shelter, clothing, and education costs. Additional expenses, such as work-related childcare and health insurance, may be mandated.
A divorce lawyer can review the specific circumstances of your case and help you determine how much child support is appropriate. They will also review the necessary financial documents and help prepare you for trial.
It’s important to remember that the attorney-client privilege protects any communications or strategies discussed with a divorce attorney. Doing anything that violates this could seriously jeopardize your legal case.
Many couples bring their personal and business assets into a marriage, and these investments may be subject to equitable distribution if the marriage ends. Setting terms on separate versus marital property early in the marriage through prenuptial or postnuptial agreements can help reduce conflict and save time and money in a divorce.
Assets must be classified as marital or separate – and each asset has a monetary value considered for division. We will work with you to identify all your assets and liabilities, classify them, determine the monetary value of each, and then equitably distribute them. We will also help you avoid situations where your spouse tries to hide or conceal assets. Our lawyers are skilled at identifying red flags, such as unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts.
Spousal support – or alimony – is a form of financial aid that a judge may award as part of a divorce settlement. It can be temporary while a case is pending or permanent and included in the final divorce judgment. Courts consider various factors, including each former spouse’s earning capacity and standard of living, the length of the marriage, and the contributions each made to the other’s career. A court will only limit or deny alimony in the rarest of circumstances.
A court may also award rehabilitative alimony to help a financially dependent spouse become self-sufficient. Rehabilitative alimony usually only lasts a few years. Permanent alimony is only granted in long-term marriages where one spouse has been out of work for a significant period and is unlikely to achieve financial independence.