The financial issues of divorce can be a family lawyer’s Achilles’ Heel.
You may be a brilliant trial lawyer, know everything there is to know about how to obtain custody for your clients, or have building great relationships with your clients down to a science – but if you don’t know or won’t admit that you’re out of your depth when a client’s financial situation is extremely complicated, both you and your client could end up paying a steep price.
This issue highlights some particularly complex financial issues you may encounter in your family law practice.
For example, valuing a company during divorce is a common task, and you probably have worked with one or more trusted business valuators in the past. However, most valuators are familiar with appraising mature, established companies in “stage six.” These companies have extensive historical financial information, which helps inform the appraiser’s valuation.
But what if you are faced with valuing a company at stage one or two? Does your appraiser have the knowledge and technical skill-set to value an early-stage startup in the divorce context? Unless you answered that last question with a confident “Yes,” you should read “Valuing an Early-Stage Company in Marital Dissolution” (page 26).
Family lawyers often have the daunting task of reviewing valuation reports, which are often both complex and voluminous. Unless you are an appraiser as well as a lawyer, how do you decide whether a valuation report is sound or seriously flawed? “Red Flags in Valuation Reports” (page 18) offers several simple tools to help you spot warning signs and to assess the overall quality and reasonableness of a report.
Business valuation is far from the only complex financial issue that might land on your desk. Highly-compensated senior executives at public companies may have a number of deferred compensation awards that could be convertible into common stock in the near – or far distant – future. When you combine a stressful divorce process with volatile markets and concentrated positions, you create an extremely fertile environment for mistakes to be made. “6 Ways to Prepare for Clients with Non-Cash Compensation” (page 16) could help you avoid some of the most egregious errors when dealing with high-income individuals or their spouses in divorce.
Of course, financial issues are not the only challenging part of a family law practice, so this issue also offers useful articles on legal issues, practice management, technology, and well-being to help you keep a balanced life. Check out:
- “Technical SEO and New Google Ranking Factors ” (page 6)
- “International Child Custody and the Hague Convention” (page 12)
- “Cyberstalking, Hacking, and Spyware” (page 30)
- “Toxic Stress and High-Conflict Cases” (page 36).