Divorce is Simple
If you are consulting with a divorce attorney who tells you that divorce is simple, run! I have been practicing law for over 20 years, a majority of which has been devoted exclusively to divorce and family law matters. The fact of the matter is that divorce cases are some of the most complicated cases in the judicial system.
Think about it: dividing up a 401(k), sounds simple, right? Just split it in half… Well is there a pre-marital portion? If so, the pre marital portion needs to be separated out and the passive growth on the pre marital portion needs to be calculated and separated out as well. Then what about the all the interest and earnings from the date of the filing of the case? This needs to be accounted for as well and apportioned equitably. From which accounts within the 401(k) are the funds to be divided (most 401(k)’s are mutual funds of some sort)? What if there is a loan on the 401(k) and what if, for some reason, the account balance is not sufficient to grant the spouse his/her full share of the funds? All of these issues need to be separately negotiated and included in your property settlement agreement AND the subsequent court order that divides the 401(k). And this is just ONE of the many financial assets that need to be divided in a typical divorce, all of which require the same level of attention to detail as is required to divide a simple 401(k)!!
Now take the kids. Our agreements always provide a means for parents to be flexible and share the parenting responsibilities as conform to their schedules. The problems will invariably arise when one of the parents begins dating again, and the other parent then becomes difficult regarding a parenting schedule. Our agreements therefore always have a “default” provision that is carefully drafted to allow the parents to fall back on a regular parenting schedule if they can not otherwise agree. So if the goal is to prevent problems, the “default” schedule needs to account for all contingencies. For example: Where is the visitation exchange, school or the home of the other parent? How do we account for Monday holidays and teacher work days; what if one parent has a conflict and can not have visitation for a short period of time; how is the summer holiday organized and who gets to decide vacation dates; who provides transportation to visitation (each direction!); in which activities will the kids participate and who will pay; can boyfriends/ girlfriends be exposed to the children… The list is endless and the more detail contained in the agreement, the less likelihood for future problems involving courts and lawyers!! This “default” provision in our agreements will generally be between 10 and 15 pages long.
So, do you still think divorce is easy??