Do You Need a Financial Advisor During Divorce?

During divorce, retaining the services of a qualified and compassionate family lawyer can be the best – and most influential — decision you’ll make. Yet in addition to legal advice and support, you might need in-depth financial guidance, too. If so, then consider the services of a financial advisor.

How a Financial Advisor Helps During Divorce

Financial issues during a divorce can be thorny and complex. A financial advisor who focuses on divorce matters will mine through all of your marital financial data, and help you unravel and clarify your financial situation and options. If support payments are involved, be it alimony or child support, you will want to make sure the calculations accurate and optimal because once agreed upon, these support payments will likely stay for many years to come. Ultimately, clear financial data and forecasts will empower you and your family lawyer to obtain an optimal and equitable divorce settlement/resolution, and enjoy the peace of mind of a stable financial picture going forward. Remember, the last thing you want is to do is assume that your post-divorce future is financially secure, and shockingly discover down the road that things aren’t so rosy. A financial advisor can help prevent this disastrous scenario from unfolding.

What if your Assets aren’t Complex?

Many people think that a financial advisor is only necessary when spouses are liquidating or contesting complex assets, such a business, offshore holdings, stocks and investments, and so forth. However, this may not be the case. Even if dividing your marital assets seems straightforward and simple, a financial advisor can be very helpful in preparing valuations and other paperwork, and using tools like cost-benefit analysis and economic forecasting to help you see how today’s decisions impact tomorrow’s finances.

What to Look for in a Financial Advisor

Similar to your family lawyer and other members of your divorce support team (e.g. a mediator, a therapist), one of the key things you want to ensure when searching for a financial advisor is that she or he has experience dealing with divorce. Indeed, while there are many competent and certified financial advisors serving the general public, not all of them have experience with divorce issues.

Many financial advisors who specialize in divorce issues have earned the CDFA™ designation, which stands for Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™. Governed by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts,

Certified Divorce Financial Analysts™ [are] trained to help people through the maze of divorce. They sift through the financial issues including incomes, expenses, assets, tax issues, pensions, division of property, and help you reach an equitable solution that is fair to both parties.  (Source: The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts)

Additionally, look for a financial advisor who is committed to working efficiently with your family lawyer, and will equip him or her with the quality financial facts needed to present your case.

And of course, it goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that you should choose a financial advisor who exhibits the qualities and characteristics that matter to you on a personal level. This means choosing someone who doesn’t intimidate you, is responsive, is willing to answer your questions clearly (even if you have to ask them again…and again), and demonstrates the concern, focus and compassion that you deserve at this time.

However, with all of this being said, also make sure that your financial advisor has the confidence to tell you the truth – even if that truth may be a bit harsh or not what you want to hear. For example, if holding onto a cherished asset is not in your best financial interest because it will cost you more in the long-term, you want your financial advisor to respectfully explain this to you so you can make the right, objective decision.

Finding a Financial Advisor

DivorceMagazine.com has a full listing of all the Certified Financial Divorce Analysts in each state and province and also features a select group of financial advisors who help people through their divorce by offering services such as business valuation, foresnsic accounting, and financial forecasting. Simply click here to review some profiles and get the contact information of financial advisors in your area.

Or, if you already have a family lawyer, you can ask her or him to refer a financial advisor to you.

Regardless of how you find your financial advisor, just remember, that it’s entirely up to you – not your family lawyer or anyone else – who you choose to work with. Make sure you feel confident and comfortable.

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