Should you consult with an attorney before filing for divorce?

Although some celebrity divorce filings may be spontaneous, the reality for many couples is a gradual decision, perhaps reached after a period of difficulty or even estrangement. However, that period can work to an individual’s advantage.

Specifically, an individual who is preparing for a divorce can benefit from a consultation with a divorce attorney in advance of the filing with the court. There are several benefits to this proactive approach. First, an individual can get a better sense of the other spouse’s finances when there isn’t the added emotional pressure of a divorce.

Taking an inventory of assets taken before a divorce filing may help avoid the situation of a spouse trying to conceal or shield assets. Similarly, it would be better to know in advance about hidden debts that are a joint obligation. At a minimum, the advance investigation may help equalize the power differential between spouses in a household where only one spouse primarily handled the financial affairs.

An advance meeting with an attorney can also help a spouse understand the potential tax implications of post-divorce transfers of real estate, securities or other types of assets. For example, the owner who transfers stock to the other spouse may have additional taxes on any gain to pay. Understanding that consequence may provide for a better financial strategy.

Spouses who are not working full time can also utilize the advance preparation to refresh their resume and prepare for reentering the workforce to a greater degree. An advance consultation can also help pinpoint any areas where the divorce process might be streamlined in advance. Our law firm can help guide clients through the difficult process of a divorce as gracefully, and with as much advance preparation, as possible.

Source: Huffington Post, "40 Secrets Only Divorce Attorneys Know," Lia Sestric, Nov. 19, 2015