What is pre-divorce planning?
Pre-Divorce Planning is a very in-depth preparation and education process designed for anyone who is considering divorce. It can include as many as 20 hours of advice on how to finance your attorney’s time and your divorce, protect your assets and your business ownership, and gather the appropriate information prior to filing for divorce. Pre-divorce planning is different from a consultation in which an attorney is ethically prohibited from offering you pertinent legal advice because you haven’t yet signed a Retainer Agreement. In pre-divorce planning, you will receive extensive legal advice and guidance and ample time with your attorney to address any and all concerns in depth.
There are several steps to effective pre-divorce planning. First is a general assessment of your financial circumstances and your assets. When I conduct pre-divorce planning with my clients, I use this time to get to know their goals. That way, I can ensure nothing is overlooked later on in the process. Together with my client, I assess pertinent financial aspects, such as:
- Tax implications
- Non-marital assets
- Property ownership
- Business ownership/partnership
- A realistic monthly budget
After gathering the necessary financial information, I delve further into the many factors which will be relevant in a possible future divorce. These factors include custody, spousal maintenance, and distribution of assets. I also address the possibility of adverse activities which might arise later in a possible divorce proceeding. Each marriage is different, so I use pre-divorce planning meetings to create a custom plan of action for my clients.
Who should consider pre-divorce planning?
Anyone who likes saving money and reducing his or her stress is a good candidate for pre-divorce planning. In other words, most anyone can benefit from it! If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets in preparation for a divorce, you should absolutely consult an attorney to explore this possibility and get your financial paperwork in order. However, you can also initiate pre-divorce planning if you’ve been the one considering divorce, or if the upcoming divorce is a mutual decision between you and your spouse.
While anyone can benefit from pre-divorce planning, those with substantial assets may benefit most. This includes business owners, executives, and physicians. Often, people in these professions have unique assets to divide during their divorce. For example, a physician’s practice must be accurately valued (sometimes by several experts) prior to fairly compensating his or her spouse in the divorce. With these additional factors at play, planning prior to divorce is extremely beneficial for anyone with substantial assets.
Why is pre-divorce planning necessary?
Whether you’re seeking a divorce yourself or you think your spouse is planning to file, it’s crucial to be prepared. Divorce can cause financial ruin for some people, but that doesn’t have to be the case for you. You can prevent financial catastrophe post-divorce by working with a qualified attorney and preparing extensively for the possibility of a future divorce. Regardless of whether you trust your spouse to cooperate during the divorce process, everyone going through a divorce has their own best interests in mind. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming you’ll get what you deserve without taking the time to examine your marriage and assets from every angle.
Not everyone going through a divorce chooses the ethical path. Sometimes, one spouse will begin concealing assets in preparation for a divorce. He or she will hope to blindside the other partner with divorce paperwork after hiding bank accounts, real estate and business holdings, and other marital assets.
You are entitled to an equitable distribution of your marital property, but you need to be able to find the assets first. A qualified attorney can help you pore over financial records to determine whether your spouse may have been dishonest about how they’ve been handling the family finances.
How can I begin pre-divorce planning?
You should begin pre-divorce planning if you feel a future divorce is a strong probability and you’re interested in securing your financial future. As an experienced pre-divorce planning lawyer in Edina, Minnesota, I have tailored my services to suit clients of all backgrounds. My pre-divorce planning services will save you money during the divorce process if you choose to file, and they can protect you from emotional and financial ruin because of the divorce you may initiate in the future.
Contact me for pre-divorce planning to save yourself money and stress during your divorce.