When individuals tell a friend or family member that they plan to file for divorce, the first piece of advice is often “hire an attorney.” Having a divorce attorney’s eyes on your case as soon as possible is the best way to prepare for a divorce. Is this the only professional that should be on your divorce team?
In some cases, an attorney or judge may call in the assistance of a third-party, an expert in a particular area. What are some of these situations and who are these experts? We’ll start with property division. In Tulsa, property is divided under the equitable distribution theory. In order to do this, the value of each asset must be determined.
When we purchase a home, the price is negotiable; property values fluctuate. What if each spouse has a different opinion on what the property is worth? What if the value determination is complicated by improvements? A real estate expert can help in these cases.
Do you own a small business? Do you own a partial interest or it all? When was the business formed? What money was used in the startup? How did each spouse contribute to its operation? What assets are owned by the business? What liabilities are on the books? How much would a third-party pay to purchase the business? Is there goodwill to consider? A business valuation expert may be necessary to answer these questions and help determine the overall value and what portion may be considered separate property.
Is one spouse seeking alimony? A W-2 clearly shows how much income a spouse earns, right? Not always. In some cases, there may be a complicated bonus structure, income from investments or even extra job perks. An income expert can determine this value while a vocational expert could help determine a non-working spouse’s earning potential.
These are some of the cases in which an expert may be utilized, but like every other aspect of divorce, the decision must be made on a case-by-case basis. Jurisdictional laws and unique circumstances make every divorce different, which is why that first piece of advice mentioned earlier is so helpful.