Advance Planning can reduce your costsDocument Transcript
ADVANCE PLANNING CAN REDUCE YOUR COSTSPotential divorce litigants will occasionally realize that they will benefit from talking to a gooddivorce attorney before filing a Petition for Dissolution or Legal Separation. Advance planning isregularly beneficial to numerous endeavors, and divorce is no exception. Probably, when youare reading this very article you are engaging in a form of advance planning, and you alreadyknow that looking before you leap can help you avoid jumping into some dreadful pit – or, ifjumping into a pit filled with hungry crocodiles is your only option, at least by knowing what toexpect you can try to avoid being eaten alive.One example of that principle is borne out by looking at the California Family Code which has anentire section expressly stating duties of Disclosure (FC §2100 et seq) making clear that bothparties in a divorce in California must be allowed to know all material facts and informationregarding the existence, characterization and valuation of all assets in which the community hasor may have an interest and debts for which the community is or may be liable (FC §1100(e)). Asettlement of the divorce case made before the required disclosure could be set aside (FC§2107(d), §2122(f)). A good divorce attorney knows about the statutes and what they say. Agood divorce attorney also knows that, just like the laws regarding everything from murder topetty theft, the reason the statutes were written is that some people ignore the principlesbehind those laws. Expecting the other divorce litigant to play fair, when maybe they really justwant to tear out a pound of your flesh can be naïve and dangerous to your interests.Because not everyone will play fair, a good divorce attorney will suggest that you take somereasonable steps to protect yourself if divorce is coming, including:DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING: It is actually quite common for a party to decide they want a divorce,and they concoct some bogus story to tell their spouse about why the house needs to be in theirname only. If you sign that deed taking your name off of title to the house you will make extrawork for your divorce attorney, increase your legal fees, and increase your risk of not gettingwhat you should get. If the house is then sold and the money is all gone, getting your sharecould be impossible. Just do not sign.MAKE COPIES OF DOCUMENTS: It is also quite common for one party to decide that they canhide money or assets, or lie about their income. Copies of recent tax returns, bank statements,brokerage statements, deeds, closing escrow statements, and similar documents can be veryhelpful in tracking down the money. Credit card bills and/or cancelled checks showingpurchases for the other parties’ new romance could also be helpful. Photocopies are cheapcompared to the cost of subpoenaing every bank or brokerage firm your spouse might haveused. Just make the copies, put the originals back, and store the copies somewhere safe.SECURE SOME FUNDS: Unfortunately, it is also quite common for one party to decide that ifthey play hardball they can do better in a divorce. The bad party will empty out the joint bankaccounts, so that the other party has no access to any funds. When the Court finds out aboutthis tactic it will go very poorly for the bad party (FC §721(b), §1101(g) & (h), §2030, §2032 andrelated sections), and no good divorce attorney will advise this hardball approach.Nevertheless, it can be very stressful to be on the receiving end of this tactic and have no fundswhen you know the other party might be spending all the money in an effort to cheat you.
Placing some survival funds in an account the other party cannot access, usually not more than50% of what you have, can be a prudent thing to do. You should discuss this precaution with agood divorce attorney if you are thinking of filing for divorce.The general advice tendered above is obviously geared towards an acrimonious divorce. Thegood news is that in a more peaceful setting planning ahead can yield even greater benefits, asamicable parties can reach an agreement and avoid ever showing up in Court. At the LawOffices of Thomas Chase Stutzman, A Professional Corporation, our attorneys and paralegalswork hard to promote your best interests by trying to get the settlement you know is fair, whileat the same time nudging you towards some caution, just in case you were married to a badperson.At Law Offices of Thomas Chase Stutzman, you will find everything which is allowed in law, toobtain your objective. Mainly their service areas are Divorce and Family Law. A good divorceattorney will counsel you on how to present your side of a child custody dispute without makingthe Court angry or being sanctioned. For more details please contact us athttp://www.tomstutzman.com