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When the Economy Tanks Right After You File for Divorce


In order for a divorce court to make a decision about equitable distribution of marital property, it must review the parties’ financial records that attest to their assets, debts, earning potential, and living expenses.  If the divorce process takes a long time, or if one of the parties experiences a major change in financial circumstances while the case is pending, them the final order detailing the distribution of property, as well as alimony, if any, will be based on the parties’ financial situation at the time that the divorce becomes final.  No matter how long your divorce case lasts, you are entitled to a fair share of the assets you and your ex-spouse acquired during your marriage.  A South Florida divorce lawyer can help you get your fair share of the marital property, even if your divorce case has been going on since a time when the economy was much better.

Couple Separates Right Before 9/11, and a Five-Year Divorce Battle Ensues

Allan and Pamela Roth married on Valentine’s Day 1995.  Allan, a stockbroker, owned a house, and Pamela moved in, along with her daughter from a previous marriage.  Two more children were born to Allan and Pamela during their marriage.  During the marriage, Allan also began working in the health insurance industry, which ended up being a wise move.  In 2000, he earned a total of $104,000, while Pamela was a stay-at-home parent.

The parties filed for divorce in July 2001, and Allan’s career as a stockbroker ended abruptly, as did that of many people in that line of work, after the September 11 attacks.  Meanwhile, Allan and Pamela’s divorce case dragged on for years.  Since the parties had been married only six years before initiating their divorce, the court divided their marital assets equally, awarding each party $295,379.  Because Allan’s income had been so greatly reduced because of the economic circumstances (he had earned about $60,000 per year since the divorce case began), the couple had spent most of their liquid assets on living expenses and on their divorce.  The court ordered Allan to sign a promissory note for Pamela’s share of the marital assets.  The deadline to sign was June 23, 2006, and the court held Allan in contempt when he did not meet this deadline.

For purposes of child support, the court imputed an annual income to him of $150,000.  This amount was based on the median income for people who held Allan’s professional qualifications, despite that, even in his best year, Allan had never earned that much.  Allan appealed the decision, and the court reversed it, since the trial court had imputed his income based solely on his professional degrees and not on his income history or on the jobs currently available.

Let Us Help You Today

A Boca Raton divorce lawyer can protect you from excessive financial obligations to your ex-spouse if you get divorced during a recession.  Contact Schwartz | White for help.


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