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3 financial benefits of partnering with an attorney during divorce

Divorcing Pennsylvanians can benefit from working with a lawyer to reduce the risk of unfair or unsustainable settlements and financial misconduct.

Finances are often a top concern for people getting divorced in Wyomissing, since this process can bring significant expenses and long-term losses. To mitigate these losses, some spouses may consider handling their divorces independently instead of seeking legal counsel. However, this approach can backfire and leave spouses facing needless financial issues. The costs of securing representation are often more than worthwhile in light of the following associated gains.

1. Settling fairly

In Pennsylvania, important financial issues are often settled on the basis of fairly subjective criteria during divorce. For instance, marital property division may be decided on the basis of each spouse’s age, health, employability and contributions to marital property acquisition, along with factors such as the marital standard of living. Under these guidelines, the way that spouses present their cases can be decisive, which can make professional representation invaluable.

Spouses who represent themselves may be at risk for misunderstanding their rights and agreeing to a disadvantageous settlement. For example, The New York Times notes that many spouses may forget to consider complex retirement assets when dividing property. This may be especially harmful for older spouses, since the value of these assets may range from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Spouses who hire an attorney, in contrast, may be more aware of their rights and better equipped to seek appropriate settlements.

2. Catching financial misconduct

Spouses handling their divorces independently also risk ending up with unfair settlement terms if the other spouse engages in misconduct. The concealment of marital assets provides a common example. According to CNBC, one study shows that over 7 million Americans have kept bank accounts or credit cards secret from their live-in partners or spouses. One in five Americans has concealed a purchase worth more than $500 from a significant other. These findings suggest that asset concealment may be a serious risk during divorce.

There are several steps that spouses can take to uncover hidden assets. These include requesting financial records, analyzing those records for discrepancies and deposing the other spouse. However, handling these tasks can be challenging for people who lack legal or financial experience. An attorney may be able to guide a spouse through these steps or refer the spouse to other professionals as needed.

3. Avoiding modifications

Finally, spouses who partner with an attorney may be likelier to obtain settlement terms that they can live with over the long term. This reduces the risk that spouses will need to return to court later to modify alimony, child support or child custody and visitation arrangements. This, in turn, can help spouses save time and money down the road.

Finding the optimal option

Before ruling out the possibility of seeking legal representation, spouses should consider at least meeting with an attorney to discuss their situation and concerns. An attorney may be able to assess a spouse’s situation and the complications that might arise during his or her case. This may help a spouse determine whether self-representation or professional representation offers a more favorable fit.