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Protect valuable assets in a divorce

Divorce is hard enough without having to worry about losing assets you worked hard to earn. While New York splits marital assets according to laws of equitable distribution, that doesn't mean that some confusion can arise regarding which assets are separate property and which belong to the marital regime.

Read the following tips to learn ways to protect your assets while going through your divorce.

  • Identify and clarify what is separate and marital property. You are in no position to negotiate until you have a clear picture of your assets and debts, both separately and as a couple.
  • Make copies of all financial records - tax returns, bank statements, investment accounts, mortgage documents, court filings regarding settlements and judgments - everything that could possibly have relevance to your divorce case.
  • Allocate some liquid assets. You are going to need some cash for an attorney and filing fees, plus enough to meet your monthly bills until a hearing on temporary support is held. Don't get caught shorthanded.

Don't wipe out all the accounts

Courts look askance at divorcing spouses who use scorched earth tactics to leave their ex destitute with nothing in the bank. Since you will be responsible for returning his or her half, or sacrificing something else of equal value, it's best not to appear greedy now and leave your ex with nothing.

Work closely with your family law attorney

Discuss what your settlement goals are. Let your lawyer know which on areas you intend to stand firm and where there is some wiggle room. Within those parameters, sometimes a settlement agreement can be reached without going to court.

If you didn't handle the finances during your marriage and are lacking some financial savvy, you may need to seek the counsel of a financial advisor who can provide advice about which assets you should attempt to retain. Ask about the tax consequences of any pension or retirement funds and what the penalties are for early withdrawal. Don't allow sentimentality to cause you to choose the marital home when liquid assets are a better option for your situation.

Remember, this, too, shall pass

No matter how downhearted the divorce is making you feel right now, keep in mind that it's only temporary. You'll get through these dark days and emerge on the other side, stronger, wiser and ready to meet life's new challenges head-on.

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LoTempio P.C. Law Group 181 Franklin Street Buffalo, NY 14202 Phone: 716-427-6683 Fax: 716-855-3437 Buffalo Law Office Map