In Napoleon Hill's great book, "Think and Grow Rich", the story of Henry Ford's success includes a passage describing how Mr. Ford became one of the wealthiest men in America by surrounding himself with people who could supply him with all the knowledge he needed to succeed.
In a collaborative divorce setting, clients and attorneys understand that in order to reach the best possible resolution of the problem of dividing assets it may be necessary to bring in a professional for the job. This is where a financial Advisor or Certified Divorce Financial Analyst is required.
We count on lawyers to know the law in a family law setting. And while they may be highly accomplished, they do not always have the skill set to parse out complex divisions of assets in a divorce dispute. The Financial Advisor on your collaborative divorce team is experienced at seeing the entire financial picture, including tax issues, present values of pensions and 401k savings plans, mortgages and the short and long term outcomes related to splitting family finances.
As a neutral advisor, the financial professional on the team represents both husband and wife, gathering and analyzing data, then educating the couple as to the potential outcomes of settlement suggestions. As with all members of a collaborative divorce team, the goal is to provide you with information that you can use to make solid, lasting, reasonable agreements -- agreements that may help keep you from having to go back to court later fo modifications.
Creating a good outcome from what could be the most difficult event in your lifetime requires the ability to do something incredibly difficult -- separate your finances from your emotions. The task of splitting assets in the cause of many horrible divorces. The Financial Advisor's job is to educate you and help you. In the end you will sleep better in the knowledge that you made good choices and the empowerment of having taken proper care of your family. At the end of the day, following Henry Ford's lead and surrounding yourself with the right team may well pay you back with a more positive experience at what could be a really bad time.
Laura is a financial professional and former member of CFLA.