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Family law is one of those legal specialties fraught with emotion. To the client, this is about as personal as it gets and the attorney needs to find ways to help while still making smart business decisions. Divorce settlement software helps attorneys keep the relationship business like.
In 2010 New York became a no-fault divorce, turning the process into a mere financial transaction. Stories of abuse, infidelity and who left the cap off the toothpaste have no bearing on the decisions in the case, yet attorneys know if they are not careful, then they will be listening to every petty problem that existed in the relationship. Attorneys must keep the relationship professional finding that sweet spot between appearing cold and aloof, and becoming the client’s new BFF.
SupportNYLite keeps the client focused on financial rather than emotional matters. Rather than collecting information from the client in person, which is an inefficient use of the attorney’s time especially when every figure on the sheet comes with a ten-minute story, the attorney gives the client a Word document to be filled out at leisure. The attorney imports the form into the NY family law software quickly and efficiently.
Family law attorneys need to eat just like everyone else. However their clients are facing the loss of half their assets and often going from a two-income to a one-income family, so are dealing with their own financial problems. Attorneys who run efficient practices can keep their fees low, while handling enough clients to keep their income high.
Divorce is handled more efficiently using New York matrimonial law net worth software to automate and simplify the process of completing the NY Statement of Net Worth and calculating spousal and child support scenarios. Software allows attorneys to give each case the attention it needs using a fraction of the time manual methods would entail.
Supplement your family law software with time and billing software for lawyers to keep an eye on retainer balances, outstanding invoices and client account balances. You don’t have to be an accountant to use these tools and keep your practices solvent.
When is a dollar not worth a dollar? When it’s paid out over time. No that wasn’t supposed to be a funny joke, just a statement of basic financial principles. Divorce attorneys need to have a clear understanding of present value of assets to be able enter correct values in the settlement statement software and negotiate fair agreements for their clients.
Let’s say you have an annuity that pays you $1000 per month for 60 months. How much is that worth? The obvious answer is $60,000 and that answer is wrong for two reasons: inflation and investment. The first month’s $1000 will buy more than the 60th month’s $1000 so you can’t count every payment in today’s dollars. On the other hand if you get $60,000 today you could invest it and have much more than $60,000 after five years.
To determine the real value of that annuity you have to adjust each payment by increased value due to investment and the decreased value due to inflation. Overall that $60,000 in payments will net you a much lower amount if you accepted a buyout today.
One of the main reasons present value is important in divorce settlement is alimony buyout. Let’s say that $1000 per month is an alimony payment and the recipient has immediate bills so would like to negotiate a buyout. That total alimony agreement would have a present value of about $40,000, though the exact value would depend on other factors. Divorce software for attorneys includes present value calculators to give an objective value of how much an alimony agreement is worth for cases of buyout.
Another common use for present value is pension valuation. When a couple gets divorced, if either spouse has a pension then the other spouse is entitled to a portion of it. This gets more complicated because the full value of the pension depends on retirement age and life expectancy as well as years married compared to years worked. Again attorneys use divorce planning software that can perform these complex calculations in a fraction of a second.
The same calculations apply to other periodic payouts such an annuity or a lawsuit settlement. Without the fair and unbiased calculations from divorce software, trying to determine values that are agreeable to both parties could be nearly impossible.
The financial complexities of modern divorce settlements mean computer tools are essential even in the simplest no-fault divorces. Contact us to find out more about how Easy Soft law firm management software speeds up and simplifies your family law practice.
If divorce property settlement was easy, then people wouldn’t need attorneys. Fortunately for the family law industry even amicable divorces can get difficult when trying to figure out just how much each person deserves. Most assets can be valued pretty easily: the balance in a savings account, the Blue Book value of a car, or an appraiser’s evaluation of a set of jewelry. However some assets, such as pensions, are more complicated.
Note we are talking about pensions and not retirement accounts–defined benefit plans rather than define contribution plans. A retirement account can be valued by simply looking at the balance on a certain day. However pensions, due to the fact they are paid monthly from retirement until death, can’t be evaluated quite so simply. For equitable distribution the divorce software must be able to consider several important factors.
- Coverture Factor — How much of the pension was earned during the marriage? A spouse is typically not entitled to pension value earned before the marriage date. At its simplest the coverture factor is (marriage years) / (pension years). So if one spouse has been paying into a pension for ten years and the couple has been married for eight years then the ex would be entitled to a portion of 8 / 10 = 80% of the pension.
- Life Expectancy – The value of a pension is ultimately the total value of the payments that will be made over the lifetime of the retiree. No one can predict how long someone can live but estimates can be made based on typical life expectancy. Two common life expectancy charts used in divorce planning software are UP-94, which is based mostly on the life expectancy of federal civil servants, and RP-2000, which is based on a larger population. Attorneys must also decide whether to use gender-specific or unisex tables.
- Interest Rates – The rate is used to determine the present value of future money, adjusting for changing value of the balance over time. Not only must a reasonable value be chosen but attorneys must also decide whether to use the same value or different values for pre- and post-retirement years, as people typically invest more conservatively after retirement than before
- Cost Of Living Adjustment – Will pension payments automatically be adjusted for the cost of living? If so this must be entered into the divorce legal software so it can correct for the true payments over the retiree’s lifetime.
Pension value calculations are complicated but can be handled at the click of a button when using fully-featured family law software like Divorce Financials. Download a demo of any of our family law legal management software tools and discover how much faster and more accurately you can calculate fair divorce settlements.
Divorcing couples are often surprised to find out that their assets are not simply divided down the middle. Most states require that martial assets be divided equitably not necessarily equally, a distinction that can complicate divorce proceedings. Each spouse has a different idea of what “equitable” means and that is why attorneys use divorce settlement software to create multiple divorce scenarios. Several issues complicate property division.
What’s Mine Is Yours…Except When It’s Not – Most assets obtained during the divorce are considered jointly owned. However gifts given to one spouse might be considered that spouse’s individual property and not subject to property settlement. Unfortunately the situation is not always clear. For example if a spouse receives an inheritance that would normally be separate property, but if that inheritance is deposited in a joint account it may be considered a joint asset.
I Love Our Dog More Than You Do – Family pets are often fought over as much as the children are. For an average mutt this is merely an emotional issue, but a purebred animal might also have a significant monetary value. Even if the dog is considered the family pet, if one spouse shouldered the burden of responsibility for the animal’s care that spouse might be considered to own more than half of the animal.
You Cheated! – Spouses are often surprised to find adultery, abuse or other behaviors don’t affect division of assets. However there is one kind of cheating that will be a factor and that is financial fraud. If a spouse’s actions affected the family’s finances the court might award the other spouse a larger percentage of the estate.
We could go on but you get the idea. Family assets are more than just numbers to be entered into family law software, totaled and divided by two. The more complex the situation, the more difficult it is to get a resolution. It’s generally the best for all parties if some agreement can be reached without having to resort to a judge’s order that is likely to leave both spouses feeling cheated.
Divorce software for attorneys allows lawyers to present multiple scenarios to the opposing party. By putting a personal value on certain assets and by working with their clients to decide what can be sacrificed and what must be saved, they can boil the complex property division into several offers.
Family law offices that use settlement statement software are able to reach settlements more quickly, and find solutions that are fairer to their clients. Download a demo of our law firm software to see all the features we provide to the modern family law practice.
Property division in a divorce is difficult even under the best circumstances but is often complicated by the raw emotions brought out by dissolving a long-term relationship. Family law attorneys use divorce software to create an objective division of assets but often it’s not that simple.
One of the big questions is: who gets the house? When one spouse gets primary custody of the children, that parent usually gets the house as well but what if there are no kids or the custody is split 50/50? The house is not simply an asset with a price tag. It is a home, a place to live, a source of good and bad memories and so much more. Yet the attorneys have to objectively price the property in the divorce settlement agreement and compensate the other spouse with assets of equal value. Sometimes a spouse is even willing to give up more than the house is worth because of the sentimental attachment.
Another big sticking point in divorces is retirement. If one spouse worked and contributed to a 401(k) account, does that spouse get the full asset? A court might rule that the income was for the family rather than the individual so the retirement might be declared a joint asset. That could leave the working spouse, especially if nearing retirement age, without enough money to stop working. Family law attorneys need divorce settlement software capable of presenting various scenarios evaluating the house, retirement and other assets so they can quickly find the solution that satisfies both parties.
Today’s attorneys need even more flexibility than before. If they are tied to family law software installed back at the office then they aren’t in a position to negotiate on the fly. They can’t evaluate complex settlements including multiple assets when an offer is made, and can’t seize on opportunities that might arise during divorce negotiations.
Cloud versions of Easy Soft’s family law attorney practice management software can be used anywhere the lawyer can get internet access. The attorney has full access to a client’s files and can generate settlement offers at a moment’s notice. This provides a big edge during negotiations.
Find out more about how Easy Soft products automate your practice and give you the opportunity to practice law without the limitations of other software tools.
As a family law attorney you specialize in the law and not in computer technology. You may have heard about this “cloud” thing but dismissed it as something you don’t need. You may think it’s not necessary to have the latest technology in law practice management software just to represent someone in a divorce case…but you’d be wrong. A divorce is a negotiation and the stronger your position, the better the resolution you can get for your client.
First let’s start with a simple explanation of the cloud. Have you ever gone to a meeting or a court case and realized you left critical documents back at your office? This is every attorney’s nightmare. With cloud-based divorce software you have full access to all client information no matter where you are. The internet is your filing cabinet and you can easily and securely read and write information from your office, a courtroom, the judge’s chambers, a coffee shop or anywhere else.
This flexibility can be critical during a divorce property settlement negotiation. You come to the table with an offer and the opposing attorney makes a counter offer. Without full access to the client’s case you aren’t in a good position to evaluate that offer. You have to go back to your office to crunch some numbers and that gives everyone time to change their minds.
With cloud-based divorce settlement software you can judge the offer immediately and make your own adjustment to the proposal. Now the other attorney is the one at the disadvantage, struggling to assess the situation and make a decision.
Again let us emphasize that this incredibly flexible access to sensitive client information is done without risk. Easy Soft’s attorney practice management software uses the latest digital security technology to ensure your information is kept safe from unauthorized access or data corruption. You look at your documents through an encrypted connection using the same technology major banks and credit cards use.
Information is power in a negotiation, and the best information access you can get is through cloud based software. Contact Easy Soft to find out how our products allow you to provide the best legal service possible to your clients.