PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas July_August 2021

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 78 of 83

can trace and follow funds from their source with bank account and credit card statements." Calabrese adds, "We have found that we get more information about the community assets in a collaborative divorce, even where there's been secrecy such as with affairs. This is largely due to the way the process operates, which is vastly different than litigation." Communication and finances are two of the primary reasons people seek a divorce in the first place. How do you facilitate your client's communication about a division of finances when they are going through a divorce? " We i n v o l v e neutral financial professionals and mental health professionals as much as possible in our divorce cases, whether they are in the c o l l a b o r a t i v e process or on a s e t t l e m e n t track," Calabrese says. "Finances, d i v i s i o n o f property, and p o s t - d i v o r c e s u p p o r t c a n be very touchy subjects. We see a tremendous benefit in having a neutral voice at the negotiation table. These skilled divorce professionals can facilitate not only the clients' communications, but the communication among the lawyers as well. When negotiations become tense, as advocates, we are inclined to see issues only from our client's perspective, which contributes to breakdowns in the process. Neutral professionals help bring the reality check that is crucial to reaching a resolution." We know Texas is a community- property state, but sometimes one spouse believes they are entitled to more than half of the marital estate. Are there any reasons why a client might receive a disproportionate division of the estate? "In deciding whether a reasonable basis exists for an unequal division of the marital estate," Budner explains, "the court may consider many factors, including: (1) the spouses' relative earning capacities and abilities; (2) benefits that the party not at fault (in a divorce based on fault) would have derived from the continuation of the marriage; (3) the business opportunities available to the respective spouses; (4) the relative physical conditions of the spouses; (5) the relative financial conditions of the spouses; (6) any disparity in ages; (7) the size of any separate estate(s) of the spouses; (8) the nature of the property in the marital estate; and (9) disparity of income or earning capacity between the spouses." Knowledge is power, yet a lot of women don't know much about their family's finances. What is the biggest mistake you've seen made during your years in practice? How could it have been avoided? "Do we have a megaphone? Women! You cannot afford to be uninformed about your finances!" says Budner. "It's so easy to fall into this trap. You have a brand-new baby. Maybe you stepped back from a big career or out of a boring job, to focus on raising your little miracle with your soulmate. You are steeped in diapers and naps and learning about life from a completely different perspective. Meanwhile, your spouse showers and wears pants to the office, interacting with adults. An obvious division of labor emerges, and it takes family finances off your plate. What a relief. That is, until 10 or 20 years later, when you find out your spouse has a double life or that you overlooked his/her drug habit or something less dramatic but just as impactful when it ends your marriage. The statistics don't lie. You are taking a significant, unnecessary, and potentially devastating risk by ceding not just control but also basic knowledge about your own financial future. Do not do it. If you've already started down the path, schedule a meeting with your spouse today and insist on preparing a spreadsheet together with all the financial i n f o r m a t i o n — assets, liabilities, separate property. Insist that it be updated each year. Read the tax returns. Meet with the accountant if you don't understand or need more information. And, by the way, how about putting aside retirement funds in your name, as you would be earning if you were employed outside of the home? This is some of the best advice we can give women, happily married or not." 5944 Luther Lane, Suite 875 Dallas, Texas 75225 214.939.3000 PAPERCITY ADVERTORIAL ADVICE: "STAY LASER-FOCUSED ON THE FUTURE. VERSUS SPENDING TIME AND ENERGY ON THE PAST." — Carla Calabrese 77

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - PaperCity Dallas July_August 2021