Five Financial Risks to Be Aware of If You are Preparing for a Divorce in Florida
Divorce is complicated. You have probably heard plenty of horror stories about people who have been financially damaged—sometimes even financially ruined—by a difficult divorce. The good news is that it does not have to be that way. At the Law Office of Gale H. Moore P.A., we help clients prepare for the financial risks related to their divorce. Here, our Clearwater divorce lawyer explains five notable financial risks that you need to consider.
- Dissipation of Assets By Your Spouse
During a difficult, highly-contested divorce, there may be a risk your spouse will abuse your marital assets. The term “dissipation of assets” is used to refer to the intentional misuse or waste of marital property by one spouse. It could be because of gambling, drug abuse, or extravagant spending. In Florida, you have the right to bring the issue of ongoing dissipation of assets with the court. Corrective action may be taken by the court.
- Early Withdrawal (Tax) Penalties on Retirement Accounts
Divorcing couples in Florida must be aware of potential tax implications associated with dividing retirement accounts. Early withdrawal from these accounts—especially before the age of 59½—can lead to major tax penalties. It is important to consider the terms of each retirement plan. There are solutions available. A legal order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO) can be used to divide tax-advantaged retirement savings without tax penalties.
- Hidden Assets (Improperly Kept Out of Divorce)
In Florida, both parties to a divorce are required to fully disclose their assets. Indeed, parties generally need to submit comprehensive financial disclosures as part of the divorce process. Sadly, some people still attempt to hide assets to skew the distribution in their favor. Examples include undisclosed bank accounts, understated income, overvalued debts, or the improper transferring of assets to third parties. A lawyer can help you proactively identify hidden assets.
- An Unfair Distribution of Property/Assets
Florida follows the principle of equitable distribution (Florida Statutes § 61.075). In effect, the law holds that divorcing couples should have their property divided in an fair manner. There may or may not be an equal distribution of assets. You do not want to agree to an unfair distribution of property. It could cost you a significant amount of money and it could make it more challenging to get your life in financial order following the divorce.
- A Protracted, Difficult Battle (Risk of High Legal Costs)
Divorces in Florida can become protracted and contentious. A contested divorce could even drag on for multiple years. How much does it cost to get divorced in Florida? The answer depends, in large part, on the length of the divorce. A protracted, high-conflict legal dispute has the potential to drive up the costs. It is a financial risk that you need to be prepared to take on.
Contact Our Florida Divorce Lawyer Today
At the Law Office of Gale H. Moore P.A., our Clearwater divorce lawyer is a skilled, sophisticated advocate for clients. We have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate the financial issues related to your divorce. Contact us now for your fully private, no strings attached initial case evaluation. Our firm provides family and divorce services throughout Pinellas County.