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Key Tips to Help Plan for a Financially Advantageous Settlement for your Divorce in 2014

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The so-called "polar vortex" of dense, frigid air that dropped temperatures in our area to arctic levels and record lows added to the psychological woes of Blue Monday, January 6, 2014, dubbed "the most depressing day of the year."  After the snow cleared, to others, the month of January marked the start of the divorce process.  A study from Divorce Depot shows over 1.8 million couples argue and consider divorce post-holidays.  Below are some tips to help you plan for a financially advantageous settlement should you divorce in 2014.

Below are some tips to help you plan for a financially advantageous settlement should you divorce in 2014.

· Every financial document that arrives by mail in January is important. Follow mail daily; you will be receiving W2's, 1099's, summaries of credit card expenditures, bank, brokerage and retirement account statements, plus other year end tax documents. To be on the safe side, keep a copy of all financial documents even those documents that may not be applicable to your divorce in 2014. Financial knowledge, preparation, and organization will enable you to advocate your best financial settlement.

· Document, document, document!!! Make copies of the last five years tax returns, bank statements, brokerage statements, retirement fund statements, home and business ownership documents, insurance policies, wills, trusts and any other financial document that may play a role in your divorce settlement.

· Research divorce options such as mediation or collaborative divorce. Speak to an attorney first to see if your case should go to trial. The majority of couples can settle outside of court, so try to use court as a last option. Letting your attorney come up with legal strategy to settle your case gives you more flexibility and control instead of putting everything into the hands of a judge to decide. And remember, every case is different. What works for one person may not be the answer for you. Your attorney will know what is best for your case in a legal sense.

· Secure a high quality divorce lawyer that focuses in Family Law. The ideal attorney will have the legal knowledge and experience you need to win a proper settlement; will communicate and help you understand the process; will solve problems and negotiate well; will recognize the importance of your children and put them first; and will be experienced in your local court system. Even if your divorce is not headed to trial, your attorney needs to be prepared as though it were going to trial to get you the best possible settlement. Your attorney should also be experienced with the family law judges in your jurisdiction, so that he/she can advise you properly on legal strategy. Look at the attorney's trial record and history of success in court. This track record is an indicator of your attorney's success in negotiation.

· Develop a budget for your divorce in 2014. You will have expenses of two households, legal expenses and additional costs to set up a second household. First, get a feel for fixed costs like mortgage and utilities then make estimates of discretionary expenses. Finding a way to maintain some level of a similar lifestyle during the divorce proceedings is not easy, but this is a time for you to be comfortable not feeling destitute.

Divorce is personal, emotional, and financial and the outcome will have a major impact on your life. At Stange Law Firm, PC, we offer prospective clients a free half-hour consultation to talk with an attorney about issues you face and what you can expect if you choose to work with us. Please call us in St. Louis at 314-963-4700 to schedule an appointment or visit us on the web at Saint Charles, Missouri Divorce Attorneys.

Sources: Liberty Voice, Fox News, Pacific Divorce Management

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