Dorsey Law Firm

Archive: January 2012

January 30, 2012

How Long Does Divorce Take?

Article By: William Dorsey
Contact Us With Your Divorce Questions.

Getting a Divorce in FloridaDoes a divorce take long?

As divorce attorneys, we understand that you want to know long your divorce will take.  We get that question all of the time; after all, you likely want to get through the pain and frustration and get your life back on track as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, in general, it’s tough to give a specific answer because all cases, issues and people are different.  However, we’ll try.

How Long Does Divorce Take?  The Bottom Line.

The bottom line on the time frame of divorce depends 100% on the two individuals, the courts, and the attorneys.

  • If there is a lot of fighting, anger, and asset settlement issues, a divorce can take many years.
  • If there is no fighting and no asset settlement issues, a divorce can take as little as a few weeks to six months.
  • Court backlogs can cause delays, especially if you and your spouse can’t reach settlement and alimony agreements and choose to litigate.  A quality divorce attorney can give you an idea of the current backlog in your court.

How to Keep Delay and Cost of the Divorce to a Minimum

 

There is much you can do to keep the delay (and fees) of a divorce to a minimum.

  • The more amicable you and your spouse, the quicker the divorce.  Do not use your attorneys to battle your marital issues and anger.

Consider using a talk therapist instead.  It’s normal to be angry, hurt, and scared and it’s normal to need to talk about it.  In addition to the legal process of divorce, there is an emotional process of letting go.  The more you and your spouse can let go emotionally, the faster the legal process will be.

Just know that you won’t always feel the pain that you likely feel now.  It will get better.  An average for moving on and healing is 18 months after a break-up.  That’s the emotional divorce.  The better you handle the emotional divorce, the better you’ll be able to handle the legal divorce.

  • Think about why you won’t agree to something in the divorce process.  For example, is it really an important issue; or, are you objecting to express your anger?
  • Disclose all assets and income at the outset. Discovery of these matters through the court can be time consuming and costly.
  • Hire a qualified divorce lawyer, who has years of experience and guides people like you through divorce every day.  Do not hire a general practice attorney or let your cousin or friend, who happens to be an attorney, represent you.

Where to Get Help

If you are considering legal separation or divorce, it is in your best interest to get qualified legal assistance from a licensed divorce attorney.  Your attorney will guide you through the process; answer your questions; and advocate for your legal rights, financial, and emotional well-being (and that of your children.)

We can provide you with an initial consultation to learn your rights and give an estimate of how long your divorce may take.  Your next step is to contact our office at (904)346-3883 or info@dorseylawjax.com.  You are not alone.

Contact Us Today For Your Initial Consultation

January 30, 2012

7 Steps to Finding Assets and Income, Hidden during Divorce

Article By: William Dorsey
Contact Us With Your Divorce Law Questions.

Find Hidden AssetsFinding Hidden Assets During Divorce

Frustratingly, sometimes spouses hide assets during divorce proceedings.  In order to negotiate a fair marital property settlement, alimony, and child support, all assets and income must be disclosed.  If you suspect that your spouse may be hiding assets or income, follow these 7 steps to finding them.

1.  Consult with a qualified divorce attorney.

Don’t take advice from well-meaning family, friends, and neighbors.  Unfortunately, there is much misinformation that gets passed around and could negatively affect your legal rights, life-style, and bottom line and that of your children.

2.  Identify marital assets.

If your spouse received an inheritance or a gift during your marriage and kept those assets separate, they are, likely, not marital assets; however, most everything else would be, unless you’ve both agreed otherwise in a prenuptial or marital agreement.

3.  Look for assets that are commonly hidden by unscrupulous spouses.

In our practice, these are the assets and income that spouses commonly attempt to hide.  Often, a forensic accountant is used to find identify and find these assets, but there’s a lot you can do to help.

Look for:

  • Real Estate Rents
  • Pending Tax Refunds
  • Tax Overpayments, Credits, or Carryovers
  • Retirement Accounts and Retirement Plan Distributions
  • Bonds in Name of “Bearer”
  • Bank or Investment Accounts in Child, Friend, Family Member, or Business Partner’s Name
  • Payments to Child, Friend, Family Member, or Business Partner’s Name
  • Debt Repayments to Child, Friend, Family Member, or Business Partner’s Name
  • Big gifts to Child, Friend, Family Member, or Business Partner’s Name
  • Cash and/or Travelers’ Checks in Safe or Safe Deposit Box
  • Skimming from Business
  • Delayed Raise, Stock Option, or Bonus
  • Delayed Closing of Lucrative Contract
  • Time Shares
  • Hidden Art, Jewelry, Antiques, and Other Collections
  • Foreign Trusts

 

4.   Check Your Credit Report.

You can get your credit report free from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax.)  You’re entitled to one free report each year, plus an additional report within 60 days of being denied credit (because of your credit report.)  However, even if you have to pay, it’s both inexpensive and worth it.

5.  Gather Financial Documents

If you can gather financial documents before you separate, all the better; you’re likely to have more access at that time.  Collect whatever you can such as (old and new) income tax returns, credit reports, accountant work papers, loan applications, bank statements, investment statements, credit card receipts and statements, ATM statements, pay stubs, and financial statements.  You have a right to compensation information from your spouse’s human resource department.

6.  Search Public Records

Conduct an online search of public records such as county real estate records and Intelius.com.  In addition, Google your spouse’s name.

7.  Consider Who May Be Helping Your Spouse Hide Assets

Think about friends, family, business partners, secretaries, and assistants who may help hide assets.  In addition, look for names of financial advisors, employers, clients, attorneys, and accountants who may be doing the same.

Where to Get Help

If you are considering legal separation or divorce, it is in your best interest to get qualified legal assistance from a licensed divorce attorney.  Your attorney will guide you through the process; answer your questions; and advocate for your legal rights, financial, and emotional well-being and that of your children.

Contact Dorsey Law to Hear More About Divorce and Assets.

211 North Liberty Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32202 (Duval Co.)

P: 904-346-3883 | F: 904-358-8060 | Email: Dorsey Law Firm

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