Even at the best of times, divorce can be both complicated and disruptive. It’s common to feel overwhelmed by the wide variety of different issues at hand, so people often turn to divorce attorneys to help them manage. However, many people don’t realize that a good financial planner is just as important.
Whether or not you have a sizable estate, a dedicated financial planner can help protect your interests and avoid costly errors during a divorce. In this blog, the legal team at Arenson Law Group, PC discusses how a financial planner can support you in your divorce and why it’s crucial to hire an advisor of your own.
Why You Need a Financial Planner During Divorce Proceedings
Immediately after you hire an attorney to represent you in a divorce, your next step should be finding a trusted financial advisor. With a dependable financial planner in your corner from the beginning, you can avoid potential errors that could cost you financially, both during the divorce and after it’s finalized.
Division of marital assets is one of the most complicated and emotional aspects of divorce, so it’s best to avoid leaving anything to chance. A professional financial planner can relieve you of the burden of figuring everything out yourself or second-guessing your decisions later on.
One of the most valuable ways a financial planner can help you is by reviewing your assets and expenses, both pre- and post-divorce. This is particularly important if your spouse was largely responsible for managing your investments or paying the bills.
A financial advisor can help you identify all marital assets to ensure you receive your fair share. Some commonly overlooked assets include:
- Marital homes and other real estate properties
- Engagement or wedding rings
- Jewelry, heirlooms, and antiques
- Bank accounts and retirement savings
- College savings accounts
- Life insurance policies
Why It’s Important to Find Your Own Financial Planner
If you’ve worked with a financial planner in the past, chances are they have interacted with your spouse and managed assets for both of you. You may feel inclined to continue working with a familiar face, but when it comes to divorce proceedings, this would likely be a big mistake.
Although your old financial planner is likely more than capable of helping you manage your finances during a divorce, continuing to work with them could lead to conflicts of interest. If they already know both you and your spouse, they may be subconsciously biased in a way that could negatively impact your financial future.
In addition to a lack of objectivity, sticking with the same financial planner during divorce could result in certain avoidable mistakes. For instance, let’s say your spouse made certain financial decisions without telling you, but they did tell your advisor. If the advisor expects that you know the details of those decisions, they may decide it’s not necessary to discuss them with you. This unintentional oversight could mean you end up losing out on your share of the assets.
When it comes to divorce, you ultimately want a financial planner of your own who has a fresh perspective and your best interests in mind.
Issues to Discuss with Your Financial Planner
When you find a financial planner who suits you, it’s important to make sure they understand every aspect of your financial goals. Every situation is different, but you’ll generally want to discuss your preferences for the following post-divorce issues with your advisor:
- Whose name will be on various assets. Do you have your spouse listed as a beneficiary for your life insurance policy or any other assets? If so, you probably want to make sure their name is removed after divorce. Your lawyer can help you modify certain documents, like your will, but a dedicated financial planner can provide additional professional guidance to help protect you in the long run.
- How your lifestyle and budget will change. Although your expenses will likely be lower after the divorce, your income probably will be as well, so you may need to make adjustments to maintain your current lifestyle. You may also need to change your budget to avoid incurring or adding to debts.
- How you will manage your investments. If you receive a substantial sum from your ex as a result of the divorce, you may consider investing all or a portion of the settlement. If so, your financial planner can help you plan for your future and structure your investments to give you the greatest long-term advantage.
Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney Today
If you’re in the process of divorcing in Iowa, don’t delay in hiring a new financial planner of your own. The experienced Cedar Rapids divorce attorneys of Arenson Law Group, PC can provide useful advice and help you find a financial planner who works for you. Call us today at (319) 363-8199 or contact us online to learn more in an initial consultation.
Ending a marriage is hard. It is one of the most trying periods of a person’s life. There could be financial changes, emotional trauma, and several difficult moves. If you are looking into separating from your spouse, it is important to be informed about your options.
Read on to find out more about the difference between annulment and divorce. While both are the end to a marriage, the qualifications needed to be granted a divorce or an annulment differ, so too do the effects.
What Is a Divorce?
Simply put, a divorce ends a legal marriage. There is a multitude of reasons to pursue a divorce, including infidelity, abandonment, and imprisonment. Even if no event, disagreement, or ongoing crisis caused the divorce, ‘no-fault’ divorces are legal in every state. A ‘no-fault’ divorce means that neither spouse is responsible for the end of the marriage, but that both partners want to end the union.
In some states, couples are required to go through a trial separation period before proceeding with a divorce.
At the end of a divorce, the marriage is dissolved. The former partners in a divorce will now be ‘divorcees.’
What Is an Annulment?
An annulment, on the other hand, is the declaration that a marriage was not legally valid in the first place. There are several reasons why a marriage may be annulled:
- One or both spouses were tricked into the marriage
- One or both spouses were not able to consent to the marriage due to the influence of drugs or alcohol
- One or both spouses were already married
- One or both spouses were not of age
- The spouses were related (incest)
- Major issues on the part of a spouse were concealed e.g. drug addiction, criminal history
- One spouse was impotent
At the end of the annulment, the marriage is declared invalid, and it is as if it never existed. The former partners in an annulment will be ‘single’ or ‘unmarried.’
Further Differences Between Divorce and Annulment
Other than the fundamental difference between divorces and annulments, that is, dissolving a valid marriage or declaring a marriage was not valid in the first place, there are several other distinctions between divorces and annulments to note.
- Length of Time Before Filing — In Iowa, you must have been an Iowa resident for one year before you file for divorce. There is no required period of trial separation before you file divorce papers. There is no delay or waiting period required for annulment.
- Children — In both cases of divorce and cases of annulment, children that come out of the marriage are considered legitimate.
- Alimony — In cases of divorce, the court could designate the amount of alimony a spouse has to pay. In cases of annulment, the court does not have this power.
- Witness and Proof — Annulments have to meet at least one of the qualifications listed above. There has to be proof that the marriage was invalid or unlawful ‘from the get-go.’ On the other hand, there is no need for witnesses or proof in every divorce scenario. You can be granted a divorce simply because you want one — which is called a ‘no-fault’ divorce. However, if you are ending a marriage due to adultery, for example, proof will be required.
- Division of Property — The division of property is one of the most difficult and drawn-out parts of a divorce. However, in an annulment, the courts will attempt to return all property to the person it belonged to before the marriage.
Religious Requirements Surrounding Divorce and Annulment
Many religions have their own requirements surrounding divorce and annulment. In many cases, you will need to obtain permission from a religious leader to be granted an annulment or divorce. It is important to note that this process is entirely separate from the civic process of ending your marriage.
Call Us Today
Ending your marriage is frightening. In all likelihood, your world is about to be turned upside down. There are a million pieces of paper you have to find and collect, there are friends you have to call, realtors to reach out to, and children you have to have a difficult conversation with. You need a professional in your corner.
The attorneys at Arenson Law Group, PC are here for you. We have served your community for years, and are ready to help you move into this next stage of life. Call us today at (319) 363-8199. We will walk you through every step of this process with compassion and skill.
Divorce proceedings can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. Even small disagreements can seem massive because of the emotional tension between two spouses. Dividing property and assets can be a source of considerable tension. Some people want to leave their marriage with the assets they entered the marriage with. Ultimately, many spouse’s goals are to leave their marriage with what they believe they are owed or have earned.
In order to reach the best outcome possible in your divorce, you need an experienced divorce attorney to represent you in your divorce proceedings and advocate for your best interests. The divorce attorneys of Arenson Law Group, PC have been representing clients for years and helped them get their fair share in their divorce so they can move on with their future.
How Is Property Division Determined in Iowa?
During your marriage, you probably didn’t think twice about what was yours and what was your spouse’s. Now that you and your spouse are divorcing, you have to untangle all of your assets or property and liabilities (debt). You’re not required to provide a reason why you’re filing for divorce, and your reasons have no bearing on the determination of the division of property.
Property includes any home or real estate, cars, jewelry, furniture, businesses, bank accounts, cash, retirement accounts, stock, and option portfolios.
Before you and your spouse married, you had your own property. And when you got married, you and your spouse likely acquired property together. Anything, less any gifts or inheritances, that you and your spouse had before and during your marriage must now be divided between the two. Anything that you and your spouse acquired after the date of your separation is considered separate property.
In the state of Iowa, property must be equitably divided between spouses. This isn’t the same as equally divided property. With equal division, shared property is divided 50/50 between spouses. In Iowa, shared property is divided in a fair and equitable way, which may not be 50/50 between spouses. In determining the division of property in your divorce, several factors are considered. These include the length of your marriage, the age and health of both you and your spouse, both of your contributions to the marriage and each other, including financial, child-rearing, and homemaking, as well as pension benefits.
The value of your shared property will be divided between you. For example, if two spouses have shared property totaling a home worth $400,000, a car worth $50,000, and a retirement account worth $300,000, one spouse may be awarded the car and retirement account, and one spouse may be awarded the home. As you can see, it’s difficult dividing assets without knowing the value of the property. This is an important part of dividing property between spouses and can take time — documenting and providing an accurate accounting of all property, including specifying what is shared property and what is separate property.
How your property will be divided and other pertinent decisions about your divorce may be decided in mediation or in court. Mediation is a less formal proceeding where a neutral third party facilitates negotiation between spouses to help them reach a divorce settlement.
The Iowa divorce attorneys of Arenson Law Group, PC can help you catalog all of the property in the marriage and help represent you so that you get your fair share. We will work hard to help you get the property you wish to keep after the divorce.
Why You Need Arenson Law Group, PC Divorce Attorneys
Arenson Law Group, PC has been representing the people of Iowa for over a decade in a range of legal matters, including business and corporate law, litigation, estate planning and probate law, construction law, and in many family law issues.
We are members of the Iowa State Bar and National Bar Association and are admitted to practice in Iowa, federal and appeals courts.
The divorce attorneys of Arenson Law Group, PC have been helping Iowans reach their desired outcomes in their divorce cases. We have years of experience advocating for our clients’ wishes in their divorces, from the division of their property to spousal support and child custody. Our success in representing our clients has earned us recognition from Expertise.com, which named us one of the Best Divorce Lawyers in Cedar Rapids in 2021.
Contact an Arenson Law Group, PC Divorce Attorney Today
If you are going through a divorce, you need a divorce attorney that can help you get what you deserve. Dividing property between you and your spouse can be confusing. The divorce attorneys at Arenson Law Group, PC can help you navigate the complex nature of property division and help you get what you believe you are owed in the divorce. We’re here to help you. Call us today at (319) 363-8199 to speak with one of our attorneys directly about your divorce.