Divorce is like learning a new language given all the legal jargon and terms not to mention the specialized professionals out there and trying to learn which one can help you. Going it alone in divorce would be like driving your car with a blindfold on hoping you don’t run off the road.
I have found that some divorcing spouses are under the assumption that their attorney can provide all the expertise they need to work through a divorce settlement. An attorney by definition is an expert in legal matters. Unless they have other qualifications they are not going to provide tax advice, or come up with a valuation of a business, or real estate, etc.
Overlooked and under resourced items in your financial make-up could land you in a pothole in the road. You may not even run into the pothole until after the divorce is final and the tax bills come in for overlooked taxable events. It’s important to pick a good divorce team that will address your particular situation. Here are some players for your team:
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™) – A professional that can forecast the long-term financial effects of the proposed divorce settlement – including the tax liabilities that often times can be overlooked.
Forensic Accountants – They investigate and analyze financial evidence; communicate their findings in the form of reports, exhibits and collections of documents; and assist in legal proceedings including testifying in court as an expert witness and preparing visual aids to support trial evidence. A good team member if you think there could be hidden assets.
Forensic Real Estate Divorce Strategist™ – Analyzes options for the marital home and other property and the tax consequences of each option. Builds housing transition plans that take into consideration divorce tax rules. Estimates costs to sell, capital gains, and looks for opportunities.
Certified Public Accountants – Plays an important role in determining if you have structured your agreement and taken in all the tax considerations and utilized the IRS divorce tax rules. Note: Not all CPAs are well versed in divorce tax rules. You might have to specifically ask them to research these rules and apply them to your set of circumstances. Your tax preparer would have access to perhaps your prior return which could prove helpful.
These are a few good players that will be able to spot hidden “potholes” in your divorce settlement. It is better to involve them sooner than later so they can help with strategy and the structure of your agreement.
When the divorce is over, you should be comfortable driving knowing you won’t hit any potholes in the road. You can focus on your new destination.