Role of the Financial Specialist
The financial professional in a collaborative divorce is a neutral member of the collaborative team who provides expertise in all aspects of the financial process. The financial professional provides a safe environment for parties to discuss the financial aspects of their marital estate. In traditional litigation settings each party may retain their own financial professional. In a collaborative setting there is one neutral financial professional committed to the collaborative process and equally committed to both parties.
The financial professional most commonly assists the parties in these areas:
- Gather and organize financial information in order to paint a financial picture of the marital estate;
- Prepare valuations of businesses, pensions, stock options, and trust interests;
- Prepare marital balance sheets, sworn financial statements, separate property tracings, budgets, and income and expense determinations;
- Evaluate the options each party has with respect to the economic and income tax aspects of dividing property in the marital estate;
- Calculate child support worksheets;
- Calculate maintenance scenarios;
- Prepare multiple settlement scenarios with differing assumptions to assist the parties in arriving at a solution.
The benefits of a financial professional in a collaborative divorce include:
- The financial cost is much less – there is one financial professional instead of two;
- The emotional cost is much less by avoiding “dueling” financial experts;
- A trained financial expert understands the role emotions can play in making financial decisions and assists the team to minimize and manage conflict;
- The collaborative setting allows for exploring innovative and creative solutions that would not be allowed in a court of law;
- The parties avoid the emotional toll of litigation and the uncertainty of the judge’s ruling;
- The financial professional may serve as an educational resource for the spouse who is not attuned to the financial aspects of the divorce process;
- The parties are empowered with financial information that enables them to make better decisions;
- The parties own their resolution of the financial matters as a result of the collaborative process.