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    Divorce Requires Preparation and Negotiation

    Divorce is really about negotiating your future, not shutting an ex out of your life forever, especially if you have kids together. The key to a better new future is being prepared for the negotiation stage of divorce. Take the time to truly know what you need to survive after the divorce and have a qualified divorce attorney make sure what you’re asking for is reasonable.

    A family law attorney can help find a qualified financial advisor and/or therapist to be an advocate as they go through the stressors of a divorce. The attorney and advisor can make sure you’ve thought of all the assets and debts that should be divided and what scenarios could come up during the divorce proceedings.

    Divorce is not a winner-takes-all strategy. However, if parties chose to resolve their issues through mediation, they can be much more creative than the court. In fact, if a matter is decided by the courts, they must ensure there is an “equitable distribution” of all assets and liabilities. As Fadi Baradihi the CEO of the Institute for Certified Divorce Financial Analysts says, “…if both sides are somewhat unhappy with the outcome, then the negotiations went well.”

    First off, you must divide all the assets collected during the marriage. Some couples are very aware of all the details, whereas others must work through their attorneys to get a full financial disclosure from each party. If you are cognizant of the assets, it is as simple as listing out all the savings, checking, retirement and pension assets along with real estate, any business ventures, and other types of assets. Some people want to bicker about home furnishings and electronics, but it’s important to know that courts look at these items from the actual cash value, so you’ll get Craig’s List type of prices, not anything close to replacement value.

    As critical as it is to know what assets you’ll be left with, it’s important to be mindful of debts you’ll be responsible for. Individuals will need to estimate future expenses – what is needed for the kids, housing, and other basic living requirements – to truly chart the course ahead. A knowledgeable family law attorney will help their client determine child support and, if applicable, spousal support they can expect to receive. You want to be realistic about budget and cash flow needs of both sides.

    In the current real estate market, many divorcing spouses can’t afford to refinance the marital home due to decreased values or income levels. Even when a divorce decree states that one person is responsible for the actual payment on the home, if both names are still on the mortgage and deed, both are liable for the debt. Same goes for credit cards. Unless these debts are transferred into one name legally, creditors can come after the ex. If there is a way to refinance or pay off debt equitably during the divorce proceedings, individuals will not have that stressor lingering in the background in the months and years to come.

    Zephyrhills divorce and family law attorney Marcie Baker helps clients create a game plan to reach a productive divorce result. She is an experienced attorney who goes over every detail from the division of assets, debts, as well as parenting plans and child support. At Alston & Baker, P.A. she takes a problem-solving approach to help individuals and families resolve their divorce and family law matters through marital settlement agreements whenever possible, as a cost saving measure for her clients.  She will also prepare her client’s cases for litigation when necessary, although this approach is much more costly.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 28th, 2011. Filed under Divorce, News & Press.