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Divorce cases are like snowflakes – no two are the same. This will surprise a number of people. You might consider some divorce cases to be similarly simple, settled out of court after a short marriage, with few assets, and no children. While some cases are more complex and others cut and dry, your case cannot be matched by any that came before it. Each family has different relationships, different needs, and different goals.
If you are getting divorced in Massachusetts, you are either about to enter or are in the middle of possibly the most confusing, stressful, and emotional period of your life. There are so many areas to be addressed in a Massachusetts divorce case. When everyone around you wants to give their two cents, who will you listen to? How will you handle it all? The answer: professional help.
Building A Team
What every divorcé(e) needs is a divorce dream team — a collaboration of divorce lawyers, appraisers, accountants, and therapists as support during this enormous life change. Divorce cases require much more than legal services. Most couples need financial, emotional, and psychological help as well. You need to put together a band of professionals with particular experience in all of the unique aspects of your case. Using the services of other experts can help you protect your interests in more well-rounded, efficient ways that supplement what your attorney can accomplish alone.
It is doubtful that a divorce dream team will have as much fun as your office softball team, but it is irreplaceable in helping you restructure your post-divorce life. Let’s explore who you should have in your corner.
Finding a capable divorce attorney is the most important step in compiling your divorce dream team. He/she acts as both your advocate and team manager, so is the most essential team member. Your lawyer will help you coordinate your team as he/she represents you and protects your rights with an abundance of legal knowledge and sound advice.
Recruit the right lawyer for your dream team. Not only do you want to feel comfortable with the representation you have chosen, but you also want to see clear potential for a working relationship of openness and mutual trust. Select someone with whom you feel comfortable discussing personal, emotional matters in a direct way.
Choose an attorney who has experience in the circumstances of your divorce case, in Massachusetts courts. Do you need a lawyer who is experienced in litigating custody issues? Are you anticipating a highly contested divorce and require the skills of a seasoned divorce litigator? Are you seeking a divorce lawyer who won’t break the bank? Are you in need of someone well-versed in family businesses, estates, or taxes? Maybe you prefer a divorce lawyer with a wide range of expertise and years of experience in the court room.
If your case becomes the least bit convoluted, or if you are uncertain about how to move forward, you must be willing to freely consult with your lawyer to protect your wellbeing and needs. You should feel at ease and grateful to have your attorney to guide you through the many complex steps of getting a divorce.
It may be important to get a real estate appraisal for the purposes of dividing property. An appraiser may be able to determine the value of a piece of real estate using skills and resources that your lawyer and realtor do not have. The appraiser’s valuation report will contain important information to be considered by your lawyer and financial adviser, and the judge. In some cases, the report will include both a retrospective value and a current value of your property. Appraisers have also been known to testify as expert witnesses in trial. An appraiser is a good investment toward the settlement of your divorce.
Forensic accountants are financial experts who combine their accounting expertise with investigative skills. Many people employ these accountants to help uncover hidden assets. Forensic accountants carefully review your former spouse’s transactions, and examine tax returns and bank statements for undisclosed and unknown assets. Accountants are more interested in the specific details and financial accuracy than financial analysts, who tend to concentrate on the overall picture.
A private investigator (PI) is for more than stealthily tailing an unfaithful spouse to a seedy motel. PIs are retained in divorce cases for several reasons beyond suspected infidelity. Like forensic accountants, PIs are skilled in locating hidden assets and verifying whether your soon-to-be-ex-spouse is being honest about finances and earnings. They can assist in cases of domestic violence and child custody disputes. Reputable PIs are knowledgeable about the law and will not collect evidence illegally or in a manner that could undermine your case.
Because many people are motivated by their emotions to employ PIs, consult with your attorney about whether it would be helpful to hire a PI from a legal perspective.
Having to deal with complicated financial issues is hard enough without the unfair burdens and emotional stress of separating from your spouse. Your mid-divorce mind is bogged down by a litany of important financial questions — how will we pay for our children to attend college? Do we have to sell the house? Who keeps the credit cards? Who gets income tax exemptions for the children? These questions pose real obstacles to reaching a divorce settlement.
Speak with a financial adviser early in the process. A financial professional will advise you and present you with options for dividing assets and debts. Financial specialists often offer alternatives that neither spouse had considered. He/she can guide you through temporary and long-term plans and answer any questions you might have.
Few lawyers are qualified tax professionals. A financial adviser in Massachusetts is better equipped to resolve the intricacies of your evolving financial situation.
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst
The complex financial landscape of your case might seem daunting. A certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) offers professional assistance for all of your money questions and helps take the weight off your shoulders. A CDFA in Massachusetts can be your divorce lawyer, who has met certain academic and experiential standards to be certified to help people navigate the financial issues that emerge in a divorce.
Massachusetts Individual or Family Therapist
Even the most amicable divorces are nerve-wracking. The life that you have known for however many years is effectively over. Your world is about to change in countless ways. A family or individual therapist in Massachusetts can help you cope with your emotions and maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout your divorce. Talking to someone about what you are going through is an excellent, therapeutic way to adjust to the changes and keep things in perspective.
This phase of your life will have undeniable, permanent consequences. For the best outcome, do not try to take it on alone. Using the right combination of professionals in Massachusetts on a team with your divorce lawyer will help you reach a resolution more efficiently, save time and money, and minimize stress. This strategy will leave you feeling in control, knowledgeable, and accomplished. Allow your attorney to help you coordinate the divorce dream team to get the ball rolling.
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