Divorce Planner – Financial Planning
Planning for the future is an essential part of every divorce. Separating or divorcing couples often face major transformations in their financial circumstances. The bottom line is that two households must survive on the same dollars that formerly supported one.
Although divorce financial planning does not involve securities transactions or investment advice, Divorce Financial Planners integrate many of the methodologies of traditional financial planning into the divorce process.
Since settlements are in large part financial, Divorce Financial Planners can explain your options, help you set priorities, and lead you through the hard choices ahead.
Often, the financial data on which divorce outcomes are based is unreliable. This leads to future problems for one or both parties. Accurate financial information helps the parties achieve workable settlements quicker and accept realistic lifestyle changes when necessary. This is an important role of the Divorce Financial Planner and often results in better outcomes. (Association of Divorce Financial Planners.)
A Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) is the highest mark in the personal financial planning industry. Combined with being trained as a divorce financial planner, this financial expert has a strong financial planning background and proven track record, is trained specifically in the financial issues of divorce, and has an interdisciplinary knowledge of practical standards and state divorce laws. A divorce financial planner with all of these qualifications can be invaluable and help you and the client by:
- Assisting with the gathering, organizing and preparing of documentation of income, expenses, assets and liabilities
- Preparing financial reports within the context of divorce laws specific to your state
- Providing on-going financial education, guidance and analysis throughout the divorce process
- Providing projections for the long-term impact of financial decisions and related tax implications
- Assisting you with the post divorce asset transfers, estate planning considerations, and long term financial planning goals.
From Lili A. Vasileff, Women Advisors Forum in the USA:
Ultimately, a divorce financial planner can educate the client, manage their financial expectations, ensure they make well-informed decisions, give peace of mind that the settlement is practical, and increase the client’s satisfaction with the legal process reducing their stress. A divorce financial planner is an expert for a finite time period (the divorce process) and will return clients to their prior financial advisors with precise and thorough recommendations for post divorce carryover. This sense of integrity and ethics provides for the referral by existing financial advisors to be respected and honored by the divorce financial planner.
A divorce financial planner is the only professional who during the course of divorce is focused on providing both basic and sophisticated answers to “what if” questions such as:
- How much house can I afford? Or, can I afford to keep the family home?
- How much life insurance is needed to serve as collateral for support obligations and future needs?
- How do I prioritize which debts to pay off first?
- How do I protect my credit rating from my spouse’s negative actions?
- If my spouse is a business owner, could he/she use the cloak of recession to nose dive earnings? Can this tactic work?
- Is the spouse’s share of the pension limited to the amount of earnings during the marriage only; will it not be i
- Increased due to additional work beyond the divorce?
- When it comes to dividing assets during a divorce, are there any specific guidelines one should keep in mind?
- What does it mean to hide assets and what are some common strategies? How do we find them?
- How much may fault influence a financial settlement?
- What are the tax implications of child support, alimony or unallocated support – are there other pros and cons to be aware of?
- How do I plan for the unexpected? How do I plan for my future?
- What are the financial things I need to change post divorce? Is there a checklist of common tasks?
The list of issues to address may be long and each case is unique. The need for expertise, guidance, and forward planning remains the constant. A divorce financial planner is the point person for pulling all of the historic information together as well as for making specific financial recommendations that enable an individual to move forward post divorce with a sense of confidence and security.
A divorce financial planner works with clients preparing for divorce, during the divorce process, and continues post divorce to assist with implementing the terms of the settlement as well as assisting with moving forward: creating new financial goals, managing budgets, projecting how to plan for college, retirement and re-entry into a career.
Lili A. Vasileff
President of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners (ADFP)
Divorce planner offers a number of distinct services relating to the financial planning issues of divorce.
The overall aim is to manage the process so that you have some peace of mind that you know and have prepared for the financial consequences of your divorce.
Our services cover the entire process from pre-divorce “what-if” analysis, court room expert witness services through to post divorce investment planning.
We are happy to guide you through an end to end process or pick up any part where you need assistance.
Before our first meeting, we recommend you download and print the Family Law Court Financial Statement Form. Have a go at filling it out (just guess for now) and bring it with you.
Law institute of Victoria
Divorce Planner Principal, Anna-Louise Brown has been admitted as an Associate Member of the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV). She has also completed specialist training from the LIV in the area of Collaborative Practice.
The Collaborative Law in Australia website describes the process: “Collaborative law uses an interest-based negotiation model where clients and their lawyers work together to resolve a dispute without going to court. The aim is to reach a fair agreement while minimising costs, delays and stress.”
Anna-Louise Brown is now able to assist legal professionals with financial planning issues relating to divorce in the collaborative practice environment. For more information please feel free to contact us.