The Devil Is In the Details – Mistakes In Dividing Marital Property

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Clients often come into my office saying that they have “worked everything out” with their ex- or soon to be ex-spouse. Naturally, since everything is “worked out”, they hope (even expect) that their legal fees will be less. Some leave my office offended that I require what they consider to be an inappropriately large retainer. These clients do not understand that the devil is in the details, and may make expensive mistakes in dividing marital property.

As an example, consider the husband who has agreed to give his wife his interest in the family home if she will agree to pay the mortgage.  In return, he will get to keep his 401K.  What this client does not realize is that the bank holding the note and mortgage does not care what his arrangement is with his wife. If she fails to pay the note, the bank will sue her AND him.  He can cross-claim against her for breach of their contract since she has failed to live up to her side of the bargain, but will he have the money to fund that cross-claim and will she have the money to pay if he gets a judgment against her?

There may be ways to avoid these types of unintended consequences of having everything “worked out”, but the chances are excellent that you will need a lawyer to help you.  Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. For more common sense advice about divorce in Baton Rouge, download our free Ebook.