The divorce process can vary substantially in terms of complexity, animosity and sophistication of the issues. Unless you have a fairly simple divorce, the decision to retain a proven and experienced West Palm Beach divorce attorney can have a substantial impact on the disposition of the issues in your marital dissolution. There are certainly straightforward divorce scenarios where you may get by with merely consulting an experienced matrimonial law attorney, but these are exceptions rather than the rule. If you have only been married for a couple months so that you have not acquired any significant debts or assets and do not have children together, for example, the level of involvement of your attorney may only be to provide legal counsel and prepare the appropriate paperwork. However, those who are not involved in this type of narrowly defined divorce can obtain some or all of the benefits below from their Florida matrimonial lawyer:
Establishing Realistic Positions
One of the most damaging aspects of trying to navigate the divorce process in Florida without a divorce lawyer is that the parties may not know their legal rights and obligations. This “information deficit” can lead either party to frustrate negotiations by taking positions that are completely unrealistic based on Florida family law. Common examples include requests for a waiver of child support or denial of alimony following a long-term marriage with a sole breadwinner. West Palm Beach divorce attorney James Cunha and his legal team often receives inquiries from prospective clients whom wish to take such positions though a Florida family law judge would never grant such a request. When parties to a divorce get hung up on positions that are not attainable under Florida law, it can significantly slow down the negotiation process, thus causing increased hostility and conflict because of the lack of progress in resolving those issues.
Furthermore, a seasoned West Palm Beach divorce attorney can provide reasonable expectations regarding how a judge would rule on certain issues under Florida law based on his experience. When parties to a Florida marital dissolution are armed with accurate information and realistic expectations, this facilitates effective and efficient settlement negotiations.
Smoking Out Hidden Assets and Diverted Income
Both spouses in a Florida divorce have a fiduciary and legal duty to provide disclosures to their spouse regarding income, assets and debts. This financial information is essential to craft an equitable distribution of marital property and resolve the issues of spousal maintenance and child support. Sometimes a spouse will attempt to “game” the system by diverting assets through sham transactions to friend, paramours, family, or, if they are sophisticated and there is a substantial sum of money, through the use of shell corporations posed as vendors–especially when the income is generated by a family business or professional practice. Cash income from family businesses is typically hidden from a spouse the same way it would be hidden from the IRS.
When these types of fraudulent practices are employed to deceive one’s spouse in a West Palm Beach divorce, they can threaten the fairness of property division and support issues. During the discovery process, our skilled Florida matrimonial lawyers thoroughly and meticulously review all tax returns, profit and loss statements and other financial documents to identify attempts by a spouse to hide or misappropriate marital income or assets. If you suspect that your spouse is engaged in such activity, you should inform your divorce attorney and outline the basis of your suspicions.
If you have questions related to a Florida divorce, we invite you to contact our knowledgeable and caring West Palm Beach family law legal team.