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Financial experts: Cheap Florida divorce can be costly

There are online services that promise cheap, easy, fast Florida divorces. While do-it-yourself divorce might make sense for people in certain circumstances -- they have been married a short time and have few financial assets -- it can be disastrous for people who own property or have other significant assets.

A recent news article pointed out that for people who have substantial retirement accounts or a pension, division of property can be complicated. Far too often, people who try to divide retirement assets in divorce without legal representation wind up with large tax bills and penalties. In worst-case scenarios, some wind up with nothing at all.

One certified divorce analyst told Reuters that she reviewed a divorce in which one spouse withdrew $250,000 from a 401(k) to give to the other spouse. Because the person had not spoken to a family law attorney about a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), the person handing over the money learned too late about the tax bill for the transaction: $85,000 and the 10 percent penalty for early distribution (another $25,000).

With an experienced attorney onboard, the penalty could have been avoided and taxes reduced, saving tens of thousands of dollars.

"It’s the do-it-yourself age, and we spend more time cleaning up mistakes," said a partner at an accounting firm. She said she sees too many divorcing couples making avoidable mistakes when they try to DIY.

Experts agree that you don't get a second chance in a divorce to create a fair property settlement that protects your financial future. A family law attorney experienced in high-asset divorce protects your interests at every step of the process.

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