In his May 1, 2016 column in Forbes / Personal Finance, What I Wish I Knew Before My Divorce, Michael Smith states, “as a guy who has gone through a divorce, I always feel a special need to help those who are about to go through that process or who have gone through it and are in the process of rebuilding.” He spoke with a number of people who wanted some ideas on how to be prepared financially so that they are not devastated or blindsided by things that could happen if the marriage ended in divorce.
He offered four tips.
- First, he advised couples to resolve valuation of property issues prior to a court-ordered valuation.
- Second, have a well thought out game plan to determine what is to happen with the marital residence.
- Third, determine future expenses. As Mr. Smith noted, “far too many people don’t know what the ‘day after the divorce’ looks like.”
- Finally, “if at all possible, working with a mediator or collaborative divorce attorney can be far easier and less expensive than a full-blown litigation.”
The interdisciplinary Collaborative Divorce Process actually addresses all of these tips. Neutral financial specialists are used to prepare future budgets and value assets. With the use of the Family Specialist, the interests of the children are better considered in balance with economic realities to determine the fate of the marital residence.
From the first day of the Collaborative Process, everyone is focused on determining where you are and how, by agreement, to best transition to the post-divorce family. The couple actively participates in gathering and understanding the information. They are not left to sit for hours in some court waiting room while their lawyers get 10 minutes to go behind closed doors to talk about the case with the judge or law clerk.
On the other hand, the couple is not just thrown in the pool to sink or swim on his or her own. Each spouse is advised by independent, collaboratively-trained counsel. The entire team works towards the goal, while getting each spouse the opportunity to be heard.
The Collaborative Process efficiently gets the information needed to assess and plan, and then enhances the couple’s ability to reach the best agreement for them.