Uncontested divorces differ from contested divorces in that both parties have already reached an agreement as to how their case will be settled. The marital settlement agreement is drafted and filed at the same time the pleadings are filed. This process eliminates a significant amount of paperwork and shortens up the time in which you can obtain a final judgment.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
The divorce rate in the U.S. is at an all-time high. Nearly half of recent first marriages end in divorce. In addition within our current society and culture, the rate of domestic partner relationships is increasing. With the increase in such relationships, there is an accompanying rise in the dissolution of such relationships.
Financial Discovery Issues in Divorce Cases
In divorce, financial discovery concentrates on the economic aspects of the marriage and the spouses’ financial circumstances. Detailed financial discovery allows both spouses to obtain the information needed to present a complete and accurate representation of the family’s assets and liabilities. With that information, the divorce court can fashion a fair marital property division and an appropriate support order.
Property Division in Divorce: Personal Injury Awards
Personal injury awards are paid to injury victims to compensate for personal injury, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, loss of consortium (i.e., loss of companionship), medical expenses and damages to property when the loss occurred due to another’s negligence. In a divorce, a question might arise as to whether such awards can be considered as separate property or marital property, i.e. joint property of the spouses. There are two primary methods by which courts typically classify such awards as marital or separate property, i.e. the analytic approach and the mechanistic approach.
Role of Expert Witnesses in Divorce Proceedings
Witnesses can be fact witnesses who testify to facts, or expert witnesses who can testify to facts as well as give their opinions. Expert witnesses are engaged to provide testimony regarding their knowledge in a particular subject. Such knowledge is beyond that of the average person by virtue of the expert’s education, profession or experience so that their opinion will assist the judge or jury in making a decision. In divorce proceedings, many times physicians, psychologists, social workers, pension analysts, and appraisers are engaged as experts.
Role of Valuation Experts in Divorce
Property division between the spouses is an important issue in a divorce proceeding. Ascertaining the correct and proper value of the assets and properties of the spouses is key to ensuring a fair and equitable division of the parties’ assets. The advice of an expert, who is skilled either by training, special knowledge, education or experience in the specific field beyond the knowledge of an ordinary layman, will be of great help for clearly defining and ascertaining the value of property for future divisions and tax procedures, etc. A common example would be an accountant with specific knowledge of the formulas utilized to calculate the present value of various retirement interests.