Kathy D. Sheive Attorney at Law

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Certain steps you take during your divorce may affect the outcome

Let's face it. Divorce isn't something people plan for. It's not uncommon for an individual's life to be sent into a tailspin when they're caught off guard by divorce papers. The uncertainty can lead many to make quick decisions in an effort to preserve their assets. While the choices an individual makes may seem to make sense on the surface, they may carry unintended consequences later.

If you are caught off guard by divorce papers, you'll want to immediately gather all financial documents from bank accounts, pensions or investment portfolios and copy them. Then, keep the copies in a safe area to which your spouse has no access.

Although you may not think it's necessary to make copies of all these documents, you should. They will come in handy if you happen to get locked out of the accounts. When you print them, print the records for multiple years as well. This may be used later to show a pattern of expenses that you had together as a couple.

You should steer clear of "gifting" money to friends or family while your divorce is pending. You shouldn't attempt to set up a secret new bank account where you set aside money either. Instead, you should leave funds where they are unless you're told by your divorce attorney to do something else.

While you may think that the way that you're moving cash around will go undetected, it won't, especially in the electronic era where virtually everything is traceable. What's more, trying to be sneaky by moving assets and money can make a judge suspect that you have ulterior motives or that you're undermining their authority. If they sense this is the case, they may award you far less than you deserve.

Assets like investment or retirement accounts, collectibles and some custom homes can't be split by dividing them down the middle. Instead, either a forensic accountant or appraiser has to be brought in to assess them before they're assigned a value. As for the marital home, debts and sentimental items, mediation may the best way to resolve your differences over those.

An experienced Kissimmee property division attorney should be equipped with the right team necessary to help you and your ex divide up any type of asset.

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