While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
No one plans for a divorce, and it can come at random times in a person's life. When you're in your fifties, there are a lot of life changes and plans going on. If you're planning a divorce, you do not want the financial impacts of this divorce to mess with your future years, retirement, or any financial planning that you have already started. By consulting and hiring a family law attorney, you have the ability to understand various finances, figure out different parts of the divorce case, and try to protect as much of your finances as possible. Understanding these different elements can help set up proper expectations once the proceedings move forward.
For years, you may have been contributing to a 401k or pension account. Even if the account is in your name, your spouse may be entitled to half of the account. This all depends on when you opened the account and when you were actually married. Anything that you contributed to your accounts before the marriage should go exclusively to you. Anything that was contributed to the account while you were married belongs to both of you. A family lawyer can help you break down account contributions and split up the payments for before and during the marriage. This will help you keep as many funds as possible and still have a lot to retire on. Once the divorce is finalized, anything that you contribute is exclusively yours. This is beneficial during your fifties because many accounts like IRAs have "catch up" provisions that allow you to contribute even more into your retirement account.
Every Single Financial Account
It may feel invasive, but it's important to reveal all of your financial information when going through a divorce. While in your fifties, you may have a countless number of accounts in you or your spouse's name. If those accounts are kept hidden or not revealed, then it can look really bad on your part. Not only will you lose out on half of that account, but you may find that you get penalized or treated unfairly in other parts of the divorce case. A divorce lawyer can help organize and break down all the different aspects of these accounts to ensure that you are not missing anything. Getting this done early can also help the divorce case move forward at a quicker pace.
Social Security Payments & Retirement
If you've been married to the same person for ten years or longer, then you are entitled to social security payments from your spouse. This still applies if you are divorced. As you get further in your fifties, it's important to plan out the different financial situations of your future. By understanding the social security payments that you are entitled to, you can plan out your estimated payments with a lawyer. A lawyer can break down all of these future payments and help you establish the case and proper paperwork to claim those payments.
While in your fifties, you may have children that are already over the age of 18. If this is the case, then there are still financial factors to consider other than child support. For example, you and your spouse may have a joint college account saved up for your child. This account can be split up or just given directly to the child to help eliminate any issues or problems that may arise. You may also have to consider other items you've purchased for your children like cars, homes, or more expensive assets. A lawyer can help with title transfers and including these assets in the divorce proceedings.
It's a good idea to make a full list of your questions when consulting with a lawyer at a firm like Ivy Law Group PLLC. It can help you get a clear scope of the divorce proceedings.