Five Mistakes To Avoid In Your Divorce Settlement
When getting a divorce in Fort Lauderdale, it is generally preferable to negotiate a settlement rather than leave it to a judge to decide. In addition to potentially saving time and legal fees, it gives you greater control over the outcome and allows for a more personalized settlement.
Obtaining a reasonable settlement is one of the keys to recovery after divorce and helps to protect your current and future financial security. These negotiations should be conducted formally, with you, your spouse, and both of your attorneys present. Attempting to negotiate a settlement on your own is generally a mistake and will likely result in getting less than what you are entitled to. Other common divorce settlement negotiation mistakes include:
- Not accounting for all marital assets and debts.
Under the Florida Statutes, any property earned, acquired, or otherwise accumulated during your marriage should be divided on an equitable basis in your divorce settlement. It is important to conduct a thorough inventory of all real estate, household belonging, bank accounts, and other assets you own. Overlooking certain items, such as vacation homes or collectibles, could result in your getting less than what you deserve in your settlement. Similarly, you want to close any joint accounts you have and make sure payment of marital debts is included in any final arrangements.
- Attempting to hide assets from your spouse.
It is not uncommon for one spouse to attempt to hide assets from the other to avoid having to divide them in a divorce. Attempting to do so is likely to backfire and could result in serious penalties. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets from you, notify your attorney immediately.
- Not addressing retirement benefits.
Retirement benefits are an asset that is often overlooked, despite the important role they play in ensuring your future financial security. You may be entitled to a portion of any pension benefits or funds in 401k and other accounts, but will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to show to the plan administrator. Do not forget any Social Security retirement benefits your spouse has earned, which you may be entitled to as well.
- Failing to consider tax ramifications.
When dividing retirement benefits and other types of assets, it is important to consider potential tax ramifications as well. For example, you may want to avoid lump sum payments or direct distributions from a 401k. Instead, you may want to roll it over to another account to avoid tax penalties.
- Not making sure settlements are insured.
If you receive financial support as part of your divorce settlement, requiring your spouse to take out a life insurance policy with you as the beneficiary helps to ensure you get the total amount you deserve.
Let Us Help You Today
At the law office of Vanessa L. Prieto, we can help you avoid a common mistake in divorce settlement negotiations-agreeing to far less than what you are actually entitled to. Call or contact our Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney and request a consultation today.