DIVORCE FINANCIAL PLANNERS
Did you know that there are Divorce Financial Planners trained and certified to work with financial issues surrounding divorce? I call them the “Soil Cultivator” and consider them the most influential professional on your divorce team. They have the expertise to create integrity in your financial decisions and stability in your financial future. Divorce carries enough unwanted surprises. It’s wise to work with a professional that can take the surprise from sprouting up in your financial future.
Some of the most recognized Divorce Financial Planners are certified as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). Some CFPs and CDFAs are also Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) but not all. They are specially trained to identify the underlying components in your financial make-up and resource your needs properly whether that be by engaging the services of a Certified Public Accountant, or Estate Planning Attorney, Real Estate Broker, or other professional.
Let’s face it. If separating financial assets were a dollar for dollar split, everything would be easy. Yet it is never this simple. There are a number of underlying issues when separating financial assets such as property, retirement accounts, stocks, and income that can carry tax consequences, penalties, and unforeseen ramifications from “surface level”. It takes the right professional to dig deep into the dirt and properly cultivate the soil. A Divorce Financial Planner can clear the rocks and weeds and address the underlying issues that hold the power to choke a property and income distribution plan fraught with oversights. These oversights can cause your plan to die on a vine.
I’ve asked Jerry Cohen, to describe more of what a Divorce Financial Planner is and what they can do.
Jerry Cohen’s extensive professional background brings together a unique combination of knowledge and experience in accounting, tax, divorce financial planning, mediation and Collaborative Divorce. A licensed CPA for over 35 years, Jerry is a Chartered Financial Consultant, is Certified in Financial Forensics and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™. He has completed advanced level training in Mediation and Collaborative Divorce, as well as in Family and Divorce Conflict Resolution. Jerry is a faculty member for the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association’s Collaborative Family Law Interdisciplinary Training.
Here is what Jerry has to say:
THE ROLE OF THE DIVORCE FINANCIAL PLANNER
The use of financial planners in the divorce process is relatively new, but is a rapidly growing trend. The divorce process involves identification and division of property and income. Despite a lack of formal training in personal finance, attorneys and mediators have historically been thrust into roles of financial analyst and adviser. This has been an area fraught with danger, both from the divorce professional’s and the client’s point of view. While accountants and actuaries have participated in the process, their services have usually focused on the valuation or investigation of assets, not on personal finance.
Financial planners are recognized experts in personal finance. Because they have traditionally helped individuals achieve long-term financial goals, such as saving for college or retirement, they have specialized training and skills that enable them to analyze financial issues in their long-term context. They are able to provide insight into how a particular allocation of assets and income might play out over time.
A divorce financial planner can help individuals going through divorce by focusing on the difficult financial issues at hand. This sets a more positive and productive tone for discussion and makes the process more efficient and cost-effective. It empowers individuals to make wise and workable decisions regarding the hard, but often-necessary lifestyle adjustments. People frequently feel more secure about the choices they make, are able to reach workable settlements more quickly and are less likely to be forced to revisit support issues in the future.
Too often, what appears to be equal can eventually leave one of the parties in deep financial distress. To maintain even a modest lifestyle, the lower income-earning spouse is frequently forced to spend savings and other assets just to survive.
Here are some of the services a divorce financial planner can provide for you:
- Help stabilize the financial situation
- Prepare post-divorce budgets
- Calculate the respective needs and pay abilities
- Recommend strategies to minimize taxes
- Analyze alternative settlement scenarios
- Determine the short-term and long-term financial impact of any proposed divorce settlement
- Provide valuable information on financial issues related to the divorce, such as tax issues, dividing pension plans, continued health care coverage, and stock option elections
- Help make financial sense of proposals
- Provide expert witness testimony in trails and arbitration
- Provide attorneys the tools they need to help prove their case
- Financial data gathering
- Clarification of current situation
- Education regarding the financial issues
- Developing optimal strategies for practical solutions
- Estimating the financial outcomes of proposals
- Translate financial data into lifestyle decisions
- Calculate present values for lump sum support, pension valuations or life insurance coverage needs
- Help with the transition into single and separate financial lives
Visit Jerry at www.californiadivorcefinancialplanning.com for more blog posts on this subject and be sure to take advantage of the FREE workbook he offers “Take Control of Your Financial Future Before, During and After Divorce.”