Why do we need a financial neutral in our Divorce?
The month of March is upon us, and many of us are looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day and celebrating all things Irish; however, did you know divorce in Ireland was not even legal until 1995? And if you’re struggling with the six-month waiting period in California, imagine waiting three years in Ireland where divorcing couples must live apart for two of the last three years before they can divorce.
How will a family potentially support two households both temporarily and in the long-term when finances are separate? How will an equitable settlement be achieved so the family can move forward amicably? These are only a few of the financial questions divorcing couples must consider.
In the collaborative process, the financial professional is there to help the couple address financial issues such as: 1) assisting with gathering financial documents, 2) preparing financial analyses, 3) presenting financial analyses to the collaborative team and the couple, and 4) assisting with financial planning for the future. The financial professional will help you plan for the agreements that you decide will work best … Read More “The Role of the Financial Professional… After 1995 If You Live in Ireland”
As family law collaborators and mediators, we know all too well how the emotional aspects of a divorce can threaten to derail what often begins as a stable and effective process toward a peaceful resolution of our clients’ family law disputes.
Clients come to us for help in resolving their family law matters with the hope and intention of staying out of court. This is a laudable goal, and most everyone comes with the highest intention of achieving that goal. But then, something quite predictable happens… and if we collaborative professionals are not ready for it, the entire process can be unexpectedly hijacked, thereby posing a threat to the successful outcome for our clients and their families. The ‘something’ that invariably shows up is our clients’ deeply held emotions about the unraveling of their marriages, including all of the uncertainty and fear that accompany such momentous changes in a person’s life circumstances. As we know, once strong emotions enter the picture, it is quite challenging to remain in option-creation and problem-solving mode during the collaborative or mediation process. However, that is what we must do, relying effectively upon our best kept secret, the “neutrals”.
Those of us of a certain age remember the immortal words of a successful football coach after whom the Super Bowl trophy was long ago named.
Vince Lombardi famously opined, “Winning isn’t everything… it’s the only thing.” That’s a pithy and fitting philosophy for a coach to use to inspire his or her team to attain greater and greater success on the football field, but we collaborative divorce professionals know that it is not so useful when it is applied in the context of a divorcing couple.
It goes without saying that everybody wants to win. No one wants to lose, regardless of the undertaking or the endeavor in which one is engaged. We know intuitively from a very young age that winning is “good,” and that losing is “bad”. We all want our team to win, and we become frustrated and sometimes angry, when our team loses. We all know from following sports that when there is a winner, there is also a corresponding loser.
A recommended article written by Leslee J. Newman, Collaborative Attorney, Mediator, and Family Law Specialist
“A divorce with children who are not yet adults includes decisions regarding child support payment. In every state including California, there is a different formula to calculate child support. If divorcing parents go to court and request a judge to make the child support order, the statewide formula must be used to arrive at the amount of the support to be paid from one parent to the other. Find out how parents selecting an out-of-court process like collaborative divorce can create their own agreeable amount without going to court.”
A recommended article written by Diana L. Martinez, Collaborative Attorney, Mediator, Lecturer & Trainer
“As we enter the holidays, many divorcing couples choose to put their divorce on hold, preferring to focus on more enjoyable aspects of the season. Unfortunately, this can make for a horror movie later on. Before you slow things down, understand the potential nightmare lurking behind delays in your divorce, and how you can create a safer way to give yourself a much needed respite this holiday season.”
Do I need a financial specialist as well as a lawyer for my divorce? Won’t I be paying twice the money for two professionals to be doing the same work? As in all questions relating to divorce, the answer is, “It depends.” If the marital estate consists of assets such as a residence, retirement accounts, investments, and or credit card debts, you should consider hiring someone to assist you in fully understanding all the financial issues relating to the marital estate.
Misinformation and misconceptions about the divorce process can be detrimental. Many have false expectations that they will be able to secure a divorce settlement allowing them to continue with their accustomed style of living. Financial divorce analysis helps to ensure a good, stable economic future and prevents long-term regret with financial decisions made during the divorce process.
The financial work provided by a lawyer is not the same as that provided by a trained financial professional specializing in the divorce process. In addition, being a CPA or a CFP does not mean that individual has specific training in family law financial matters.
by Suanne I. Honey Attorney at Law, CFLS, Mediator and Collaborative Attorney
Sorry for the silly pun when this is such a serious topic. Seriously, though, pre-nuptial agreements are hot topics which give rise to many emotions.
“It paints the Devil on the wall.”
“It is anticipating failure of the marriage.”
“If he or she really loved me, this would not be necessary.”
“I am uncomfortable talking about finances.”
The list can go on and on. Sometimes emotions are an unnecessary waste of energy. Other times emotions have some benefits, even negative emotions. For example, fear in a dark alley in a dangerous neighborhood will cause you to be zealously vigilant about your surroundings which will lead you into taking appropriate steps for your safety … much like the pre-nuptial agreement itself.
Unfortunately, statistics today are not favorable for a lasting marriage. If and when there is a decision to get divorced, the person you once loved turns into the enemy. There is often a total lack of trust at the time of a divorce. There are fights over money, property, and other issues creating stress for both partners. This stress almost always filters down to the children.
Orange County Collaborative Practice professionals will share their expertise with colleagues in April at the annual Collaborative Practice California Conference XII in Redondo Beach.
Members of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County (CDSOC) are in demand as professional education panelists and seminar leaders throughout Fall 2017 due to their expertise and experience working with a diverse array of Orange County clients in the Collaborative approach to divorce.
“Many collaborative professionals are committed to continuing professional education in order to provide the best service to our clients,” said Dr. Carol Hughes, CDSOC member and workshop leader. “The annual conference of Collaborative Practice California is one venue for us to do this.
“We CDSOC members are honored to be contributing to the further growth of our Collaborative colleagues throughout the state. Ultimately, the reward is offering better options to clients who want to avoid the trauma, time and expense of a litigated divorce or other disputes,” added Dr. Hughes.
Collaborative Practice California presentations include:
Collaborative Family Lawyer and Mediator Bart Carey, Divorce Coach and Child Specialist Dr. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT, and Financial Specialist Cathleen Collinsworth, CDFA™, MAFF™ will facilitate an advanced seminar titled “Grand Rounds for Collaborative Practitioners.”
Each premarital partner selects their own Collaborative attorney to represent him or her from the very beginning of the premarital Collaborative Process. You and your Collaborative attorney work together until the premarital agreement is completed and signed.
Neutral professionals such as a financial planner and/or a Collaborative coach may also be added to your Collaborative team to help you and your partner develop and fully understand your goals as a couple, and the legal and financial ramifications of your decisions.
Before any drafting takes place, you and your partner are encouraged to express your thoughts and concerns about what you plan to build together as joint property and what you want to maintain as separate property.
Full disclosure of the property and debts of each premarital partner is exchanged including some verification of each asset and each debt.
After full discussion, disclosure, and agreement is reached by the premarital couple, the agreement is drafted through the participation of both Collaborative attorneys.
After the draft of the premarital agreement is completed, the draft is fully discussed and explained to each premarital partner by his or her Collaborative attorney.
Experienced legal, financial, and mental health Collaborative Practitioners from Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County shared their expertise at the 2017 Three-Day Collaborative Divorce Interdisciplinary Team Training in January. Through lectures, discussions, and group participation, the training team helped both new and experienced Collaborative Professionals to develop more skills and a new understanding of how to support and lead their clients to a successful resolution without resorting to litigation.
If you missed this year’s event, be sure mark your calendar for next year’s training in January 2018.