Your Legal Rights at Work

Divorce Is Tough – Two Areas Where Your Lawyer Can Help

by Lewis Hamilton

Divorce isn't easy emotionally. It also tends to be a financial wake-up call. Before you and your partner take that final step, it's necessary to discuss a number of issues. If you are already living apart or the separation is not an amicable one, it may be necessary to get a divorce lawyer involved before you've ironed out the details between you. Two important areas where your divorce lawyer can help include financial and family issues, including the fair and compassionate support of any children affected by the split-up. A brief listing of required documents needed for the fair division of personal and business property is also included.

The Financial Issue

You both need to know where you stand financially and how you intend on dividing up property. Information should include income amounts, any debts owed singly or as a couple, expenses and a list of assets. Spousal support, also known as alimony, may or may not be part of the discussion. If your spouse is being uncooperative your lawyer may get a court order to get the answers.

The Family Issue

If there are children involved the divorce process tends to get more complicated. Spouses should do their best to agree on custody, visitation and child support issues, but this doesn't always happen without legal intervention. A lawyer can help create a settlement and/or custody situation that both parties can agree on. Lawyers often try and resolve issues through arbitration or mediation before taking the issue to court.

Division of Property

Personal Concerns

While gifts and inheritances tend to remain in the name of the receiving party, depending on your state laws, all else could be divided equally. Your financial situation may also be used to decide amounts of spousal or child support, if granted. Some items your lawyer needs to examine include:

  • Personal tax returns
  • Mortgages and deeds on any personal real estate
  • Statements from bank accounts
  • Documents from retirement programs, such as your 401k or pensions
  • Proof of ownership and/or a list of miscellaneous personal property items of value, such as electronics, jewelry, artwork and home furnishings.

Business Concerns

If one or both of you own a business, then additional information is typically needed, such as:

  • Business tax returns
  • Documents that list business assets, such as real estate, bank accounts.
  • Documents that outline business debt, such as outstanding loans
  • If the business is incorporated, then copies of the by-laws, incorporation documents and any partnership or shareholder agreements apply

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