Seven Ways to Help Your Client Prepare for a Divorce

by Blank Rome LLP

Your client never entered into a prenuptial agreement and when there was a crisis impacting his marriage, he was unsuccessful in broaching the issue of a postnuptial agreement with his spouse. After years of frustration and riding the roller coaster of emotion, he’s finally ready to end his marriage and to ask his spouse for a divorce.

Before your client moves forward and announce his intentions, you should first take steps to arm him with necessary information (both financial and custodial related) to ensure that he’s in a position of strength when negotiating the finality of his marriage. Here are seven recommendations you should make:

1. Get Good Counsel

An essential step in this journey is to have an attorney who knows the law, has experience dealing with these sensitive matters and, most importantly, with whom your client feels comfortable. Whether your client’s been married for a year or twenty years, he must find an advocate who can help him make very important decisions not only impacting himself but also his children, someone who has the ability and temperament to negotiate a settlement and the skills to navigate through the court system, if necessary. Even if you think that your client and his spouse have resolved all of the necessary issues amongst themselves, he may have rights of which he may not be aware. Educate your client with more than one consultation both to get opinions regarding his rights and remedies and to see the attorneys’ different approaches to the issues to ensure that they’re a good fit for your client.

2. Do Your Financial Homework

What you need to piece together is what assets and liabilities were acquired by your client and his spouse during the course of the marriage. What sources of income do family live on? What are the family’s monthly expenses? Look for such documents in the household, such as tax returns, financial statements, bank and brokerage statements, mortgage statements, closing binders, credit card statements, insurance policies and estate planning documents, then copy, copy, copy these important papers.

3. Identify Valuables

Over the course of a marriage, your client may have accumulated important pieces of jewelry, paintings, antiques, rugs, furniture and collectibles. Make a list of such property and make videotapes of what’s located in the residence(s). Locate bills of sale and other evidence of purchases not only for proof of their existence and value but also for potential capital gains if such items are sold. Insurance riders are also helpful in this endeavor.  

4. Claims of Separate Property

Separate Property is property that your client came into the marriage with, which was inherited by your client, distributed to your client through a trust or gifted to him (except gifts between spouses, which are marital property). Try to make a list of the items that would qualify as your client’s separate property in order to prevent his spouse from making a claim against such property.

5. What Type of Access Does Your Client (Or His Spouse) Have to Funds

It’s important to have access to funds, whether to hire an attorney or to ensure that your client has a safety net if the spigot of support gets turned off by an angry spouse. If your client has access to a joint account, transfer one-half of the value of the account to one titled solely in your client’s name to ensure that your client isn’t vulnerable to economic pressures. Moreover, if your client is the monied spouse, you want to ensure that your client’s spouse doesn’t attempt to transfer all of the funds that are in joint names into their own name to prevent your client access to funds to pay bills.

6. Speak to a Child Therapist (if there are children involved)

It’s essential to get the advice of a child psychologist regarding how your client and his spouse should tell the children about the divorce and obtain ideas as to how parental access should be shared based on the ages and issues facing your client’s children.

7. Same-Sex Marriage Considerations

Same-sex married couples may find themselves in a vulnerable situation if the parties were in a long-term relationship but were only married a short time. Without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement expanding the definition of marital property or support obligations, they’ll be constrained to what the law provides both for equitable distribution and support in that short-term marriage. The Court may, under such circumstances and, as a matter of equity, compensate the non-titled spouse by providing a greater distribution of jointly owned property.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Blank Rome LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Blank Rome LLP

Blank Rome LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.