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Don't try this at home: Do-it-yourself divorce filings

Although a do-it-yourself attitude may be fine for some projects, like home improvement, our family law firm would caution against going into a divorce on your own.

True, the website for Michigan’s courts does offer forms and information that provides some guidance on the divorce process. However, any number of corollary issues might arise after a divorce. Consider the example of property division. Tangible assets, like real estate, cars, or personal items, may be easy to remember. However, retirement assets also fall under the definition of marital property, and consequently must be divided, despite complicated rules for doing so.

An online site can also not provide the issue spotting of an experienced family attorney's eye. For example, a proactive post-divorce outlook often prompts an individual to rethink his or her retirement and estate planning. According to a recent article, however, many divorcing spouses fall short in this area, perhaps because they do not fully understand the financial and tax implications of their divorce settlement.

An attorney can explain this tax angle. For example, items like a mortgage may have tax implications, and an individual will likely have a new tax filing status after the divorce. In addition, certain economies of scale are lost when transitioning to a single household, and must be factored into an individual's post-divorce income stream. In sum, an individual’s post-divorce finances and retirement savings strategy must be  must be planned carefully.

Our family law firm understands that going through a divorce can feel like a tremendous challenge. In addition to the legal document filings, there may be discussions negotiated outside of court about important items such as property division, child custody, and support. Our lawyers know how to approach these issues in an organized and professional manner, while protecting your interests.

Source: Business Wire, “New Survey of CPA Financial Planners Explores Financial Impact of Divorce on Retirement,” Feb. 9, 2017

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Bebout, Potere, Cox & Bennion, P.C.
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Rochester, MI 48307

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