Get the Alimony Your Client Deserves With Divorce Planning Software
In many marriages both spouses have jobs with good pay. In others one spouse makes less or doesn’t work at all, typically to take care of the children. These lower-income spouses often assume they will receive large alimony checks but family law professionals know they have to prove a need. Divorce software for attorneys helps make the case for a fair support settlement.
Income vs Need
A client comes into a family law attorney’s office wanting a divorce. The spouse makes a seven-figure income so the client assumes there will be a big fat alimony check waiting. However that isn’t necessarily the case. Although the client might be entitled to 50% of the marital assets, that doesn’t meant 50% of the spouse’s income. Alimony determination is based on need.
This means the client needs to prove the necessity for a large support payment, and that means more than just standing up and saying, “Yeah, I need the money.” The client will have to provide detailed financial records and the attorney will comb through them to prove the client’s standard of living through a process called Lifestyle Analysis.
The Difficulties of Lifestyle Analysis
Accurate and comprehensive lifestyle analysis is difficult. Clients will have to provide the base information by giving the attorney copies of bank statements, credit card statements and other records, but few clients have the financial background to handle the actual breakdown of the data into a statement of financial need. This puts the burden on the attorney.
Unfortunately, many lawyers really aren’t prepared to do the analysis either. They studied law not accounting. Some firms do a simplistic analysis that might unfairly penalize the clients. Others hire accounting firms to do the work, which increases the cost of the divorce and the fee they need to charge the client. Luckily today’s family law practices have another alternative: specialized divorce legal software that includes powerful financial analysis tools.
Let the Computer Crunch the Numbers
Technology has put amazing capabilities into the hands of family law attorneys. Information gathering and analysis that used to take days can now be done in a matter of minutes. Clients provide historical financial records going back at least two years to provide an accurate view of how the couple lived during the marriage. Law firms use the software to quickly sort the data into categories, note non-recurring expenses and generate unbiased reports ready for a judge or opposing counsel.
Attorneys can use the feature-rich financial tools in family law software to take alimony negotiation a step further. They can create tax-optimized spousal and child support settlements that put more money in each spouse’s pocket. They can analyze lump sum alimony buyout offers or examine different payment scenarios to ease the negotiation process. All of this is done for a fraction of the cost of hiring an outside accounting firm.
Use the latest law practice management software to run your practice efficiently, and provide the documentation and analysis necessary to secure fair settlement and support deals for your clients.