How does Collaborative Divorce Strategies differ from other financial professionals?
Most financial planners and accountants excel in their chosen field, but they have little to no training specifically related to the financial issues of a divorce. When a client asks them for assistance, many financial planners and accountants are unable to provide the information the client needs - or even worse, they are unaware that they do not have the required knowledge and end up finding out what they should have known only after the divorce has been finalized. Additionally, your current CPA or Financial Advisor has worked with both you and your spouse up to this point. Turning to them in times like these may turn into a conflict of interest, putting them in an adversarial position where before they were a neutral third party.
I have an attorney, why do I need Collaborative Divorce Strategies?
If you are considering or currently navigating a divorce you probably have a lot of questions, most of which boil down to, "Am I going to be OKAY?”. Reality is that everyone’s definition of okay is different and everyone’s idea of fair is different. Building a competent and trustworthy team of advisers that can help you determine what OKAY and FAIR really mean to your family is crucial in this emotional time of your life. There are really three parts to every divorce: the Legal, the Emotional and the Financial. You need an attorney to provide legal advice. You need a Mental Health Professional to help you navigate your emotions. You need Collaborative Divorce Strategies to provide financial advice and post-divorce financial planning. We become part of your divorce team working alongside your attorney to provide guidance, education, support and analysis of financial issues to help you make rational and informed decisions.
What role does Collaborative Divorce Strategies play in gathering financial data?
We work with our clients to identify and collect the financial data pertinent to the dissolution of a marriage. From the original data gathering we evaluate any key financial concerns related to divorce - such as income and deductions, living expenses, assets, and liabilities. This process will likely tip us to other information we will need to request. We work with your attorney to compile complete and comprehensive document requests, interrogatories and depositions to ensure no stone goes unturned. We have experience in uncovering hidden and obscure assets that have otherwise been missed in other divorces such as Capital Loss Carry forwards, Limited Partnerships, etc. Once comfortable that all data has been gathered, we help you and your attorney prepare accurate and defensible schedules of Assets & Debts and Income & Expenses that must be exchanged with your spouse through financial discovery. We can save time and money by making sure the financial information is accurate and complete, allowing your attorney to focus on the legal aspects of the case.
Who should utilize Collaborative Divorce Strategies?
All individuals going through the divorce process will benefit from financial counseling and advice. We work with clients from a variety of backgrounds, including but not limited to: Women individually, Men individually, Families with one primary wage earner, dual-income Families, retired individuals and couples, first or second marriages, Families with and without children, Individuals and Families with significant assets and income, Individuals and Families with moderate assets and income and Families or Individuals with significant inheritance or potential inheritance.
How is the divorce process started?
Traditionally a dissolution of marriage, or divorce proceedings, are initiated by the filing of a Petition by one party. The Petition for Dissolution of marriage is then served to the responding party. The party originally filing the Petition is known as the “Plaintiff” and the other party is known as the “Defendant”. Following receipt of the Petition, the Respondent generally has 30 days in which to file his or her responding statement to the facts stated in the Petition.
Alternative Dispute Resolution models such as Mediation may answer this question differently based on the circumstances involved. It is not uncommon for the divorce process to “unofficially” begin months in advance of a petition when it is necessary to retain a team or consider whether these processes might be appropriate.
What is the difference between a "contested" and uncontested" divorce?
An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties agree to the divorce and the terms of the settlement of all issues (property and debt division, alimony, and child custody and support). A contested divorce is one where one or both parties disagree to the terms of the proposed settlement and cannot come to agreeable terms. In some cases, the judge may order the parties to go through court-appointed mediation to try and resolve some of the issues to help their case come to a resolution.