More and more custody and divorce cases are ending in settlement. This is a trend that is common across all types of litigation. This should come as no surprise, as coming to a settlement allows parties to save time and money, as well as have some control over the end result of their case. Nowhere is this control more important than when in family law, as the ultimate decision will have an immediate and direct impact on a family's finances and where the children spend their time. Even in the situation where divorcing parties have come to an agreement, it is still a good idea to retain an attorney.
First, if you share children with your spouse, an attorney will know how to properly calculate child support. There is a specific calculator that is required to be used to calculate support. To properly use this calculator, it will be essential to know which are the proper figures to use. This means that the parties need to understand allowable deductions from gross income, what gross income means when there is no W-2, what income to use in the case of a spouse who has stayed at home for a while, or a variety of other issues.
Next, in the case of property division, an attorney can help with understanding what is marital and what is separate property. For example, an attorney can help to determine if a family business or a marital residence that was owned before marriage is marital property that should be divided. An attorney will also be able to provide property division alternatives that will help avoid undesirable tax consequences. An attorney will understand the proper paperwork to divide pensions, 401ks, or investment accounts in order to keep the parties from paying penalties associated with cashing out the account.
Finally, an attorney can help you spot issues you may other be unacquainted with. For example, what are the tax ramifications of spousal support versus family support? Do you need a quit claim deed if your spouse is staying on the mortgage? Should you include the right of first refusal? Your attorney can help you decide about all of these issues that you would possibly be otherwise unacquainted with.
Every divorce, even those that have been amicably settled, would benefit from the expert advice of an attorney. We can help you review your case and settlement options. Call us today at (732) 529-6937 for an appointment.