Complete Divorce Support Guide
• DIVISION OF PROPERTY:
In every divorce, one of the main considerations is how the marital property will be split between the spouses. Not all assets are equal, and it is crucial to understand the tax and other implications of various proposals. We will analyze and illustrate for you the long-term effects of different property settlements and help you make the best decisions for your future financial security.
• SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE (ALIMONY):
When applicable, spousal maintenance is an important source of support for the lower-earning spouse. In many situations, women give up their future earning potential to be stay-at-home wives and mothers, and the divorce forces them back into the workforce at a low, entry-level salary. Spousal maintenance can be temporary, rehabilitative, or permanent. We will help you determine your need for spousal support, your spouse’s ability to pay it, and work with your attorney to build a case for you to receive the appropriate amount of support that will allow you to be financially secure.
• CHILD SUPPORT:
Arizona guidelines determine the amount of child support that should be paid by one spouse to the other, if any. However, there are a number of variables that can affect the calculation, such as time with each parent, calculations of income, health insurance costs, and other child-related expenses. We will create a strategy using these variables to ensure that you receive the child support you need to maintain your children’s lifestyle.
• LIFESTYLE ANALYSIS:
In the early stages of your divorce, your attorney will ask you to complete an Affidavit of Financial Information, which is a summary of your income, expenses, and debt obligations. You may complete these forms using a number of estimates or guesses for various amounts since you may not know the actual amounts, not realizing the implications. Your attorney will rely on these amounts as factual since you will sign your name to the document.
A lifestyle analysis can often make a meaningful difference in your spousal maintenance, child support, and the property settlement.
A lifestyle analysis establishes what your standard of living was during the marriage, including living expenses and spending habits. It can also uncover hidden assets that your spouse may not have revealed. And after your divorce is final, it will be valuable to you as a beginning budget in your new life as a single person. As your Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™, we are uniquely qualified for this important work.
• PENSION VALUATION:
How should a pension be split? This is a common question that requires a complicated calculation. There are various methods by which it can be accomplished, but it is difficult for the non-professional to evaluate the options on their own. Each method has benefits and risks, so it is important to understand which makes the most sense for your situation. We will run the necessary calculations to determine what a future stream of income such as a pension is worth today for purposes of divorce negotiations. We will then provide you and your attorney with a detailed report that supports our valuation and can give expert witness testimony to the Court if needed.
• EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION:
Executive compensation refers to the various ways in which an employee may be compensated for services other than a salary. It includes bonus structures, stock options, restricted stock, deferred compensation, long-term incentive plans, executive perks, and retirement packages. We will evaluate and explain these various types of compensation and determine their value for purposes of your divorce settlement. We will ensure that your attorney understands these marital assets as well.
• TAX SOLUTIONS:
Every divorce affects both spouses’ tax liabilities, and it is critical to understand and plan for these changes. Being blind-sided by a large tax bill the following year can be ruinous to an otherwise secure financial situation. We will explain the tax implications of any proposed property settlement before you accept it and calculate the taxes that will be due on any spousal maintenance you might be awarded. We will prepare a tax projection for both the year of your divorce and the following year to help you avoid any surprises. We can also prepare your tax returns and assist with any estimated tax payments that may be due.
• CUSTOM REPORTS:
One of the biggest benefits of having us on your divorce team is that we will present valuable information to you, your attorney, and the Court in easy-to-understand ways, incorporating charts and graphs to illustrate various outcomes and calculations. We will also prepare customized reports that can be presented in court to help the judge understand the facts of your case better. This can often help the judge to make a decision in your favor.
• EXPERT WITNESS TESTIMONY:
In some cases, it is helpful for the Court to hear an explanation of one or more of the calculations we create related to the property settlement, spousal maintenance, or child support. Judges and attorneys are not financial experts, so it is valuable to your case for them to hear a rational and logical explanation of the numbers. In these instances, we provide expert witness testimony to support and explain our work to the Court. When testifying as an expert witness, we provide objective facts to the judge to assist him or her in understanding the information presented and making decisions about the case, so our testimony carries substantial weight.
• INCOME TRACING:
In some divorces, one spouse may not be honest and up-front with his or her financial information and attempt to hide income and/or assets. In these situations, we track down the missing items of income locate hidden assets to ensure an equitable settlement that includes all community property. To accomplish this, we examine tax returns, bank and credit card statements, bills for living expenses, pay stubs, business profit and loss statements and balance sheets, and other documents to trace your spouse’s income locate undisclosed marital assets. This information can make the difference between an equitable and an inequitable settlement.
• POST-DIVORCE TRANSITION MANAGEMENT:
Once your divorce is final, there will be many changes to make in terms of transferring marital assets into your name, changing beneficiary designations, retitling assets, filing deeds of trust, changing custodians, closing credit card accounts, etc. We will support you through our post-divorce transition services to accomplish these details and ensure that nothing is overlooked during this emotion-filled and stressful time. We are experts in handling these administrative details and our comprehensive checklist helps ensure a smooth transition for you. We take the hassle out of making sure you get the assets you are awarded in your divorce.