FAMILY LAW & DIVORCE ATTORNEY
Most couples don’t think of their wedding as the beginning of a personal business partnership: making money, investing for the future and accumulating assets. When the marriage ends in divorce, the accumulated assets and debts of the parties must be divided.
Asset transfers, Closely-held business transactions and bankruptcy issues are frequently significant factors in divorce cases. Deidra’s sophisticated legal background and financial background as an auditor and forensic accountant is a benefit to her clients in maximizing their outcome in settlement or trial.
- Social Security benefits
- Health insurance (COBRA)
- Pensions and 401k’s
- Stock plans and stock options
- Deferred compensation
- Retirement incentives
- Business appraisals
- Military pensions and survivor benefit plans
Complex Asset Division
The most frequent challenge of divorcing couples is asset valuation and division. Even the best-intentioned spouses often disagree on the value of their marital assets. Asset valuation is an important step in achieving a fair division of property. The division of property can in turn effect spousal support amount and duration. That is why it is important to inventory your assets and choose an appropriate valuation technique.
Pensions, Retirement Accounts, Real Property, and Closely-held businesses can pose challenging valuation issues. Asset transfers and business transactions are significant events that effect asset values and division. Deidra’s sophisticated legal background and financial background as an auditor, CPA and forensic accountant are useful in investigating financial transactions to achieve a realistic asset division.
Business Owners & Divorce
Business owners filing for divorce face additional issues and challenges during the divorcing process. The objective of the successful business owner is to preserve asset value and to retain business ownership. As an attorney and CPA, I have more than 20 years experience helping business owners in divorce retain their businesses.
When a business is co-owned by both spouses it is not uncommon to find that only one spouse is actively involved in the business, or one spouse is primarily involved with little participation by the other spouse. In those circumstances we are successful in achieving sole retention of the business by the active or more active spouse.
The remaining challenge is to appropriately value the business so that the asset value of the business is included in the division of marital property. In order to achieve a divorce settlement or result at trial that does not burden the business owner with significant debt, we retain outside experts who analyze the business and are able to recommend a range of values for the business assets.
Preserving your business through divorce proceedings requires informed decision-making that can affect long-term viability of your business. We will discuss with you alternative strategies for business retention and valuation whether you have an S corporation, C corporation, LLC, or sole proprietorship.
Following are documents that you should bring with you to your first meeting if you are a business owner:
- 3 years of tax returns
- Formation documents, including, bylaws, articles of organization, operating agreements, stock certificates and membership certificates
- Recent appraisals or valuations;
- Prior year and year to date Income and expense statements
- Prior year and current balance sheets
Deidra helped me with both an estate matter & a family law issue. Her billings were very reasonable & she was responsive to my questions & phone calls. I was skeptical of attorneys before I met her; however, she was very down to earth & was genuinely concerned about helping me. It was a great experience working with her!
Military & Former Military Members
If you or your spouse is in the military or retired from the military, your divorce proceedings will involve different issues than a divorce between spouses neither of which ever served in the military.
When a military couple begins divorce proceedings, their divorce is governed by a number of federal and state laws unique to military couples. As a former United States Air Force officer, I am experienced in dealing with issues that arise only in military divorces.
Military pension rules are very different from civil service pension rules. There are also different rules regarding payment of spousal support depending on the years of service and the years of service during which the parties were married. Military families also have survivor benefit pensions available to them, which can figure prominently in the division of property, and other military benefits unavailable to civilians.
If you or your spouse was in the military, be sure to tell your attorney that. In addition, bring the following to your first appointment with me:
- Last leave and earnings statement
- DD214 Discharge documents
- 2 years of tax returns
- Survivor benefit pension documentation
Meet Deidra Cherzan
Bend, Oregon Attorney & CPA
My approach to practicing law is simple and straightforward. I pay close attention to my client’s concerns and goals, then I do all that I can do to ensure that my client is prepared and in the best position to negotiate a favorable settlement or to present a strong case at trial in a contested matter.