This probably isn't on-topic enough to be MRP-worth, so here it goes on AskMRP. I've handled two cases recently that are pretty interesting, and I know that every third guy I've PMed with on here claims to be self-employed, so this might be valuable.
CASE 1: THE WIFE
In the first case, I'm representing the wife (62). She's nuts. So is the husband (67). If I had to guess, she has PTSD and OCD and he has Narcissistic PD. Kids are all adults.
This wife has a horrid case of retroactive emotions. She talks about month-long vacations to the Bahamas as if they were the worst days in hell. Why? Because she feels like today is her worst day in hell. Divorce sucks. The guy is a hard-core dark triad follower over the last 30 years, but has pretty much sucked in his profession because he's a lazy bum, so he has no real money to show for it - maybe $50k/yr. He does have a nice $30k/yr social security income though. Wifey never worked in the 30 year marriage. He won a big case back in 2008 and has been living off of that, and the money ran out last year.
What does wifey do as soon as the money runs out? Divorce. What else does she do? Gets a chemical peel, shores up her diet, starts exercising and basically maximizes her SMV for her age group. She certainly doesn't look like she's in her 60s. AWALT.
What's her deal with this divorce? Well, that guy's solo practice is worth squat. What's his strategy? Claim he's about to retire and therefore can't pay her any spousal support. Our strategy? Get all her money up-front using his last 3 years of tax returns. Instead a 50/50 split of the assets, we're working with her getting 70%. This puts her about $250,000 ahead. Given that he's got liver cirrhosis and still drinks a 6-pack a day, she thinks he'll only make it another 7 or 8 years. In her mind, that's around $2,750/mo during what she expects to be his lifetime. If I calculate the numbers traditionally, she'd probably get somewhere closer to $2,000 (worth about $150k over the same period if we account for taxes). She's making bank on this deal and he's too stupid to realize otherwise.
Why else is this such a great deal? Because: (1) present dollars are worth more than future dollars, (2) cash-in-hand guarantees against the risk of him dying early, (3) cash-in-hand is post-tax, instead of pre-tax support that the $2,000/mo would have been ... and the list could go on.
Moral of the story? Just because you made it 30 years doesn't mean AWALT is no longer true. Also, hire a divorce attorney who actually knows how math works (which is shockingly rare).
CASE 2: THE HUSBAND
In the second case, I represent the husband. It's essentially the same set-up, except:
Instead of a big case in the past, my client was a brilliant engineer who resorted to being an embezzling swindler who live for years off of stealing from his old employer before turning himself in to avoid going to jail. In the end, he's still broke just like the other guy.
Instead of having NPD, this guy's just a straight up beta.
Wifey in this case is a lot crazier than in the other case - making up all kinds of things that have clear evidence proving she's wrong, yet she can't drop it.
Wifey's so psychotic that she's lost touch with reality. She is the definition of what we describe when we say women will believe what they want to believe regardless of the facts. She's manipulative to the core - even to the point of threatening in front of the children and extended family at Christmas, "Sign over everything we own and agree to take all the debts and to pay me $5,000/mo in spousal support or I'm going to start stealing property from the marital estate and giving it to my family." That didn't go over so well with the judge - especially when she actually went through with it.
Husband's response? He withdraws the case initially and tries to reconcile with her. It was never going to happen. When the case was withdrawn, that was her cue to start transferring the property away because the restraining order was gone. Two months later he realizes he got played and re-files the case.
Where'd the negotiations end up? Well, he didn't want to have to pay spousal support because this harpy would have brought him back for contempt every single month he didn't pay. So, he cooks up a deal to give her all the assets and he takes all the debts and she foregoes spousal support ... basically the same thing as above. I help him do it.
What happened here? He actually has the capacity to go earn $200,000/yr again, but now will never have to pay her any support on it (yeah, we made that order non-modifiable!). Also, he's going to file bankruptcy on 85% of the debt because that's what was in his name already. Oh yeah, and he qualifies because he doesn't have any assets to offset the debts (which is why we gave them all away), but for bankruptcy purposes there was a legitimate equitable exchange in the divorce decree and we used language distinguishing it from a domestic support obligation, so they can't say squat about it. He's going to walk away with a $200k/yr job in a year and no debts to worry about. Sure, he lost about 500k in assets, but he'll easily make that back.
Moral of the story? Do your math. The same deal that can cripple one guy makes another man laugh all the way to the bank.
Moral of both stories? If you're about to get divorced and you're self-employed, tank your income for 3 years before the divorce. If you can't feasibly do that, make large business expenditures on things that have low resale value. This decreases your income by virtue of adding large deductions, while having only a nominal impact on the value of the business, but at the same time increasing what you can potentially earn after the divorce is over because you've just invested all that money into your company.