Windsor, CT - When contemplating a divorce, most people start by researching attorneys, thinking a lawyer is the only professional they’ll need to guide them through the process. The fact is finances are often the biggest issue involved in divorce. You have your home to consider, retirement and investment assets and how all of that will be divided. Therefore, it only makes sense that the services of a financial professional could be utilized.
Ed Goldberg of Financial Aspects of Divorce, LLC, is seeing a different trend in divorce emerging. As alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation and collaboration continue to grow, an increasing number of non-lawyers are participating in the divorce process.
“For example, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) prescribes an inter-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary model to include the use of one or two coaches and a financial professional,” said Goldberg. “The financial professional acts as a neutral, meaning he/she takes neither side and helps to collect and format all the financial information from the couple.”
In a traditional adversarial divorce, the attorney has been responsible for collecting the client’s financial information, assembling it and helping to prepare the financial affidavit. This person may not always be the best suited to manage all financial elements of the divorce. A financial professional offers expertise and perhaps the ability to streamline the process with greater efficiency and lower cost.
Prior to meeting with either a financial professional or an attorney, the following financial records need to be collected:
End of year statements for all bank accounts and retirement accounts in which you or your spouse has an interest. This includes individual accounts, joint accounts, accounts held jointly with other family members and business accounts.
List of typical and recurring expenses including household expenses, transportation and child related expenses.
3 years of tax returns.
Keep in mind that marital assets are basically any assets which entered your marriage by either of your efforts, and therefore in either of your bank accounts, and retirement accounts, even if only in your spouse’s name.
“A financial planner can also help to visualize and map out your post-divorce lifestyle to ensure that you can support it. Child support and alimony payments will really impact your monthly income,” says Goldberg.
In truth there are three major aspects of divorce: legal, emotional and financial. In the best-case scenario, each aspect should be managed with the appropriate professional.
“For an individual seeking advice about divorce, it would not be a mistake to call either the specially trained mental health professional or financial advisor before calling an attorney,” Goldberg said. “And while this professional will always refer to and defer to the attorney, we feel that we-my mental health colleagues and financial colleagues- are an appropriate place to start.”
Edward Goldberg is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Practitioner, a member of the Society of Financial Service Professionals and is recognized as one of “America’s Top Financial Planners” for 2011, 2012, and 2013 by the Consumers’ Research Council of America. He is also a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ with specialized training in the financial aspects of divorce, and a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), the Association of Divorce Financial Planners (ADFP) and the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA). He is also co-president of Connecticut Collaborative Divorce Group, a greater Hartford inter-disciplinary practice group (www.ctcollaborativedivorce.com). He can be reached at 860-643-9038 or at firstname.lastname@example.org).