Certified Divorce Financial Planner
A Divorce Planner on Your Side
Divorce planning is a highly specialized field. Just as you need to retain an experienced attorney or mediator, you need an experienced financial planner to look out for your short- and long-term financial interest. With JK Financial Planning, you’ll have a clear picture of your financial situation, which can mean the difference between an equitable settlement – or long-term damage to your financial health.
Only a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst can help you take control of the process with:
- Collection and organization of key financial documents
- Tracing and separation of marital assets and liabilities
- Multiple “what-if” scenarios to help you chose the best financial option
- Settlement guidance based on lifestyle and budget analyses
- Expert testimony, both in deposition and at trial
- General financial education and support
Know Where to Start
Every divorce ends with a legal document spelling out the details of your divorce. However, the process you choose to get to that point will set the tone for how smoothly the negotiations go and the relationship with your spouse after the divorce is finalized. There are four main processes you can use. In each option JK Financial Planning plays a slightly different role.
1. Kitchen Table
This is where you and your spouse work everything out on your own. It is the least expensive option and can be done quickly if your situation is not complex. As with every option, there are also some challenges.
In order to have a successful “kitchen table” settlement you need to have excellent communication between partners. While this is definitely possible, it can be difficult if you are not familiar with all of the legal issues or backfire if you cannot come to an amicable agreement.
JK Financial Planning will act as your support person to make sure you understand what you are about to agree to, or to work with both you and your spouse to make sure you have the financial bases covered in your agreement to avoid problems later.
2. Traditional Litigation
In this situation both parties hire attorneys who will do the negotiating for you.
This option eliminates many emotional issues and minimizes the interaction between spouses. The challenges of this option are that it can be very time consuming and expensive. It can also create or increase the animosity between the parties because they have little buy-in to a resolution since they may not feel that they were truly a part of the process.
JK Financial Planning will work with you and your attorney to develop different scenarios that meet your goals, make sure that you understand the different options and help make sure your attorney has the information they need to best represent you.
This process is where you hire an independent third party to help you and your spouse reach an agreement.
This option can be less expensive than litigation as you are doing more of the work while also allowing you to reprioritize your goals in the moment to reach an agreement. If done correctly, it can be a blueprint for effective communication post-divorce.
The challenges of this option are that you can only move as fast as the slowest party and unless you also hire outside professionals, there is no one to protect your rights or offer support. This is because a mediator is a neutral person whose role is to get you to agreement. Their job is not to create a fair or equitable agreement.
Because the mediator is a neutral party, they also can’t draft the final divorce documents. You will need to hire an attorney for this and your spouse may hire their own attorney to review what your attorney drafts.
JK Financial Planning will help you prepare for the financial discussions, make sure you understand your financial position and are prepared to effectively communicate your needs and interests while in the mediation session. In addition, JK Financial Planning will help you prioritize your needs and goals as you prepare for your “financial ask” in the mediation session.
4. Collaborative Divorce
A collaborative divorce process is where you take many factors of the above approaches and combine them for an option that allows you to speed up the process while also giving you support for the emotional, financial and parenting issues that are part of divorce.
In this option both parties hire an attorney who is specially trained to protect your rights while simultaneously working to reach a resolution that meets both your goals and your spouses. You will work with neutral professionals who are also specially trained to provide the expert support you need in the financial and emotional areas to keep the process moving.
Often it is the belief that the Collaborate divorce process is more expensive. In reality, the Collaborative approach can be less expensive because you have the right people doing the right things.
For example, the Collaborative process requires that you agree on a single expert to use for complex issues instead of hiring multiple experts and fighting over results. You also agree to disclose all information voluntarily, so you can avoid costly court fillings, subpoenas, interrogatories, court status calls, etc. The cost is also more transparent in the Collaborative process and discussed by the team during the process.
The additional professionals do not create complexity – if issues are not complex, they stay non-complex. If they become complex, then you have a seasoned professional already in place to deal with that complexity.
The benefits of the Collaborative process are that it is needs based and the level of professional support you have. The professionals are focused on the goals that you and your spouse have, not a one winner, one loser mindset. The discussions and process are also private, not part of a court record, and are done with a team approach to come up with creative solutions to complex problems. An added benefit is that you will have legal, emotional and financial support “in the moment”, so there is no need to start and stop discussions when you need expert information.
As with any approach, a Collaborative divorce process has its own challenges. A collaboration requires both parties to openly discuss financial, emotional and parenting needs, goals and concerns. And if this collaboration fails, then you must start the entire process over without the help of any of the professionals used in the process.
JK Financial Planning acts as a Financial Neutral in the Collaborative process, gathering the needed documents, educating all parties, translating the discussions into financial scenarios, helping the parties avoid unexpected financial surprises and recommending creative financial solutions.
Depending on your circumstances, one approach may be more appropriate than another. For example, if you can’t be in the same room with your spouse without fighting, a Collaborative approach may not be the right option. However, if you and your spouse still get along with each but have grown apart and just need help working through the details of how to separate, a mediator could be a great option.