My Collaborative Team/Financial Neutrals
Divorce is about many things. It is about lost love and trust. It is about shattered dreams and hopes. It is about children and keeping them safe. Divorce is also about money.
In most divorces, money is a major issue that needs to be approached, processed and settled in order for a re-constituting family to move on healthfully. In a Collaborative Divorce, there is a vital and special role for a neutral professional with specialized financial expertise and training – the Neutral Financial Professional.
The Collaborative Financial Professional is the organizing source for financial information on the Collaborative divorce team, providing to both parties and their lawyers reliable, comprehensive financial information analyzed by an expert, neutral source.
The Financial Professional goes about this task by conducting a comprehensive account and assessment of the divorcing couple’s financial affairs including assets that are owned (such as homes, bank accounts, stock, retirement plans, businesses), debts that are owed (such as mortgages, loans, credit cards), living expenses and cash flows derived from work and from other sources, insurance policies, etc, and learns about how financial decisions have been made.
The Financial Professional can help couples understand the short-term and long-term financial impact to both parties resulting from any set of assumptions about asset and debt division, child support and/or alimony amounts and duration, and can show several “What – If” scenarios regarding settlement options.
Because of the good faith commitments that couples make when entering the Collaborative process, this kind of accurate information about financial consequences of settlement options can become a catalyst for creative problem solving.
The work of the Financial Professional is approached from a position of neutrality – a position in which the Financial Professional is not trying to get the most for each party (as in litigation) but is trying to make the most of the available assets for the good of all Participating Collaborative Professionals of the family. The FP cannot have had a pre-existing relationship with either parent, nor will a Financial Professional have a professional role in the life of either parent after the process completes. This helps to assure the Financial Professional's objectivity and neutrality in the case and avoid any potential for a conflict of interest.
Financial Professionals are typically a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or a CFP ® (Certified Financial Planner ™). In addition, Financial Professionals often hold other credentials indicating further financial expertise.