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It pays to be fully informed and act decisively during a divorce

Whether one lives in Florida or another state, there may be more to a divorce than the participants thought possible. When people start to think about all of the issues and related side issues, they may be surprised by the many decisions and actions that need to be taken. That fact makes it often better to proceed judiciously through a divorce rather than racing to the finish line as though seeking a grand prize that waits there.

There are many different things to take care of before, during and after a divorce. Many are obvious matters of common sense, and others may be easily overlooked without professional guidance. It is important to cover the following items and more when going through the steps of the process.

Compare the value of assets in terms of tax consequences. For example, the $500,000 dollar house may be worth more than an equally valued asset that will be hit by tax assessments when cashed in early. It is also important to know all of the marital and separate assets and the details of each. Negotiating a deal with a missing or forgotten asset not included can lead to an unfair result.

Also, look for hidden assets. In one survey, about 15 percent of persons admitted to hiding a bank account from a spouse.  Notify all institutions to separate or even freeze joint accounts pending a settlement. It's not uncommon to see a spouse rushing to withdraw joint funds without a joint agreement.

Regarding credit cards and loan accounts, get the other spouse off of all cards that will be kept and close out other accounts where appropriate. Thinking these things through, along with a fairly long list of remaining tasks, is a necessary protective measure for one's successful emergence from a tough divorce situation. A Florida resident facing that prospect will benefit greatly by consulting with tax advisers, financial experts and one's family law attorney quickly and regularly. In this way, one can go through the divorce with full knowledge of all of the important factors that will impact the future.

Source: cnbc.com, "Breaking up is hard to do: Protecting assets in divorce", Kelli B. Grant, Jan. 17, 2016

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The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
200 S.E. 6th Street, Suite 402
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-3424

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