Hiring an attorney is a must for virtually any St. Louis divorce, but there are some other experts who may also provide incredibly valuable services and information during a divorce case. If you expect to begin divorce proceedings in the near future, it’s a good idea to know what to expect and prepare accordingly. Some professional experts can help you with complex financial issues, streamline your divorce experience, and provide helpful guidance that ensures you preserve your interests in your divorce.
A St. Louis, MO divorce attorney will likely recommend working with experts as necessary as the facts of a divorce case come to light. Some of the professionals who may weigh in on your divorce case include:
Do you have a disability or chronic medical issue that requires significant financial support? You need to have a professional evaluation to which you can refer during your divorce proceedings. If you expect to receive any type of long-term support from your ex, whether it’s child support or alimony, your medical status could have a very influential bearing on this determination.
Some divorce cases may also require input from mental health experts, such as in cases involving domestic violence and abuse. The court may want to hear a professional psychologist’s interpretation of an individual’s alleged trauma and emotional distress for alimony determination, for example. Medical experts can also come into play if the court must evaluate physical damage from abuse and neglect.
Property division is likely to be a hot debate in any St. Louis, MO divorce case. Missouri is an equitable distribution state, meaning property division may not be perfectly 50/50 in some cases so long as the court determines the property division is equitable. If you suspect your spouse possesses hidden assets or has otherwise obfuscated their financial situation to escape liability in divorce proceedings, forensic accountants are valuable assets.
A forensic accountant is adept at locating “paper trails,” detecting inconsistencies in financial records, and uncovering all properties, assets, and investments worth consideration in divorce proceedings.
If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse own real estate and other expensive pieces of property, you will need to have these items appraised to determine their actual current value in your divorce proceedings. For example, your home may have appreciated or depreciated in value since the two of you bought it. While the court will certainly consider the initial contributions both spouses made toward the purchase, they must also know the current value for a fair and accurate property division determination.
There are many kinds of property appraisers. You may need a real estate appraiser if you must sell your marital home and divide the proceeds with your spouse. You might need to work with an art appraiser if you and your spouse invested in valuable works of original art or if you own unique antiques. An experienced St. Louis, MO divorce attorney can help you determine which appraisers would be appropriate for your unique situation.
Retirement Plan Advisors
If you contributed to a retirement plan during your marriage, the court will likely deem your retirement account as subject to division in your divorce case. A retirement plan advisor can not only help in determining the best way to go about dividing the balance of your retirement plan, but also for making a new retirement plan that considers your divorce.
In the event you owned a business prior to and/or during your marriage, a business evaluator can help you prove your degree of ownership and control over your business. If your spouse helped the business in any way, they could be entitled to a stake in it or a percentage of the business’s value as part of your divorce. If you ran the business on your own, they may have partial claim over the income earned from the business, but no rights of ownership over the business itself.
Alimony or spousal support may come into play if one divorcing spouse earns much more money than the other, or if one of the spouses does not work. This support arrangement typically lasts temporarily and can be terminated for various reasons, such as the recipient remarrying. However, it may be necessary for the paying spouse to prove the recipient is more capable of finding work than they might claim.
For example, if one spouse had a career they left when they married, they may have grounds for temporary alimony until they can rejoin their previous workforce and earn gainful full-time employment. By comparison, a spouse who is disabled, too old to work, or unable to work for medical reasons may have grounds for a longer-term or permanent alimony arrangement. A vocational advisor can come into play to determine the earning capacity, educational background, and professional experience of divorcing spouses, thereby helping the court determine each spouse’s reasonable individual earning potential.
Litigating your divorce in family court is a lengthy, stressful, and expensive process. Ultimately, the court will make major decisions concerning child custody, child support, alimony, and property division. You may have legal representation to guide you through your divorce court proceedings, but ultimately the decision rests in the hands of the judge and their determination of the facts in play. Divorce mediation is an effective alternative that not only saves both spouses time and money but also tends to lead to more agreeable divorce outcomes.
A divorce mediator is a neutral attorney who acts as a third-party in divorce negotiations between the divorcing spouses. The spouses may wish to have legal representation from their individual attorneys during divorce mediation sessions if they wish. The divorce mediator’s job is to answer legal questions the spouses might have, clarify legal issues concerning the divorce, and help to keep negotiations on task.
Any of these professionals could come into play during a divorce case, even a seemingly straightforward one. Depending on the unique facts of the case and the facts and evidence in play, professional experts can be the deciding factors in major divorce proceedings like child custody negotiation and alimony determination. Your St. Louis, MO divorce attorney is a great resource if you are wondering about whether these or other professional experts could come into play during your divorce proceedings.