Dividing The Empire: The Intricacies Of Divorce Settlements
Valuing a couple's life and dividing it between them is a monumental task. Trying to track all the assets is hard enough but it's even worse when both spouses declare that each coffee mug and DVD has "great sentimental value". Easysoft Legal Software's Divorce Financials software helps take the emotion out of the transaction by giving attorneys the tools needed to propose equitable distributions.
Tallying The Assets (And Liabilities!)
The first step is documenting what needs to be divided. Couples are often surprised by how hard this process is. Most of us don't have detailed lists of our financial pluses and minuses, and trying to build a list from scratch can be a chore. Divorce Financials is flexible enough to allow attorneys to account for all assets, from houses to life insurance policies, and liabilities, from credit cards to car loans.
Family law attorneys would be well advised to give their clients some kind of template that will help them create a complete list. It's easy to overlook items like treasured collectables or a personal loan to a friend. Emphasize the importance of being thorough; a mistake now could delay the settlement for months.
Valuing The Assets
Making a list of items is one thing; giving them value is another. Liquid assets are easy: look at the balance on a specified date and enter it into Divorce Financials family law software. Tangibles are trickier. A house can be evaluated by a real estate agent. A car can be priced through Kelley Blue Book. Defined benefit plans can be challenging to value, but Divorce Financials includes a pension calculator to simplify the process.
Each item must be given not only a value but also an ownership. Is this a joint asset/liability or does it belong to one spouse or the other? Is it a pre-marital item or one acquired during the marriage? These decisions are often not easy. Is the wife's student loan her debt or a joint debt? Is the husband's beloved classic car his or theirs...or even 80% his and 20% hers?
Dividing It Up
Finally, the items must be parceled out to each party. As family law attorneys know, equitable does not mean equal. It may not be a simple 50/50 split depending on a number of factors. Divorce legal software must be flexible enough to be able to sort items into different piles so a fair split can be agreed upon.
Balancing the settlement is ultimately done with liquid assets. It's not practical to split the house in half, but it probably is practical to split the jointly-owned mutual fund. These liquid assets are what allow attorneys to come to settlements that total to the penny, reducing the chance of countersuits later.
Divorce Financials family lawyer software streamlines the settlement process. It creates an objective settlement analysis which is more likely to be accepted by the spouse and the courts than a hand waving "this is mine and that is yours" analysis would be. Keep things fair for your client by using the right tools for the job.