Law Office of Daniel E. Forrest, P.A.

Some residents in Florida who may be contemplating divorce in the near future or presently undergoing one may find a recent article on the subject somewhat enlightening. Its author acknowledges the inherent difficulties in divorce cases owing to issues such as asset valuation and division, but nevertheless believes that at least some of their hardship may be alleviated by proper planning and care before the divorce even begins. She proposes five possible courses of action someone may take to protect their assets in the event of a legal separation.

According to the author, one of the most important decisions related to divorce someone can make is their choice of attorney. Since divorces have the potential to be painful and tremendously expensive experiences, it may be very beneficial to spend the time choosing a qualified attorney that can advocate one's interests to help prevent them from being taken advantage of. In addition, the author says that an attorney may be able to help their client prepare important financial records ahead of time and thereby have these documents ready if a court requires them. Furthermore, she advises people to have separate financial accounts, both to attain independence ahead of time and help protect their assets from being confused with their former spouse's. Fourth and fifth, she advises people to distinguish property that they own from that which is jointly owned, and in that same line of thought, thoroughly document their own assets and most prized possessions.

Property that was once non-marital property can become marital property over the course of time, particularly if one's spouse has invested their own money into its operation. Retirement accounts, business assets and other such properties are particularly prone to this form of intermingling.

In cases where this occurs, it is often necessary to conduct a complex valuation of assets to delineate the lines of ownership. This may allow for an equitable distribution and allow both parties to reach an amicable settlement.

Source: GoBankingRates, "How to Perfectly Plan Your Divorce to Protect Your Assets", Amanda Garcia, January 08, 2014

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