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Getting divorced? Make a checklist in advance

Lists seem to be a hallmark of New Year’s resolutions and intentions, and for good reason. Rather than wasting time trying to figure out ways to improve from last year, a list can jump-start the process by identifying and putting names to those trouble areas. 

In the same way, a divorce checklist can help an individual through the divorce process. That list can help make a first meeting with a divorce attorney more productive. A brief list should include documents that an individual typically receives in a month regarding his or her income, assets and debts: statements from credit card companies, mortgage companies, bank accounts, retirement accounts, securities, and health insurance providers.

A list of assets and debts will greatly expedite the process of defining and quantifying the marital estate. However, the estate will not automatically be divided in half. In Florida, state law calls for the equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities. That law means that a court will attempt to reach a fair division of assets and debts incurred during the marriage, which may not be a 50-50 split if fairness calls for a different arrangement. 

Not surprisingly, the issue of fairness can be hotly disputed between spouses who are divorcing. Fortunately, state law also provides a list of factors that a court may consider in support of an unequal distribution of assets and/or debts. Those factors may include each party’s unique economic situation and earning potential, the length of the marriage, the contributions made by each spouse during the marriage, and any considerations to allow for the raising of minor children.

Our family and divorce law firm has experience helping clients through complex and hotly contested property division matters, including the division of savings and retirement accounts, intellectual property, and even family businesses. Check out our firm's website to learn more about our divorce and family law practice. 

Source: FindLaw, “Checklist: Issues To Discuss With Your Divorce Attorney,” copyright 2015, Thomson Reuters

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