Financial Planning – Divorce Mediation
Financial Considerations for Divorcing Couples
With divorce, people’s main concerns are often children and money. If that’s the case with you and you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the financial matters you’ll have to address before you can finalize your divorce and move on with your life, we can help.
Most couples realize that when they divorce, they will need to split up property: real estate, vehicles, recreational vehicles, boats, furniture, and other valuable items. Mediators can also help people facing divorce to divide sentimental items or keepsakes. Mediation services stress that the goal in property settlement is not to get the most, but to strike a fair bargain with your spouse so everyone gets some of the things they value and leaves the table happy.
Investments and Debt
You and your spouse will need to make decisions about any investments you share or that accrued during the marriage, as well as any debt. With divorce mediation, your options are not limited to simply splitting all investments and debt fifty-fifty. You can be as creative as you like as long as you can agree on a solution. For example, you might use the value of the investments to clear debt, or you might pass the investments on to children.
Pensions and Retirement Assets
Not everyone realizes that pensions, IRAs, 401(k)s, and other retirement accounts are marital property if they accrued during the marriage–even if only one spouse worked outside the home. In court, these assets are subject to equitable distribution and are frequently split fifty-fifty. With divorce financial planning through mediation, you and your spouse will decide how to allocate these funds with the help of divorce financial analysts and again, the goal is compromise. You are not locked into the fifty-fifty model.
Any large financial decisions should be made with tax information at hand. Most property distributed in a divorce is exempt from tax; it’s considered a gift from one spouse to the other. The situation becomes much more complex with assets like IRAs, which can incur a penalty if certain conditions aren’t met. Clients will likely need help navigating the intricacies of financial decisions involving pensions, investments, and similar. Financial planning can help you avoid making an expensive mistake… possibly an illegal one.
Rather than leaving it to chance, take advantage of the financial expertise of your mediation team. Tax optimization strategies can not only help you avoid legal issues–they can help both parties get the most from their tax returns!
Family Law and State Law
There are legal implications to the financial aspects of your divorce settlement, and even if you choose not to engage a divorce lawyer or law firm, you should have access to experts who can help you understand the legal ramifications of your decisions. Divorce financial planning through mediation gives you the best of both worlds: a stress-free and supportive environment to consider your post divorce financial future, and the legal expertise to help you get there.
The staff at Win-Win consists of not only attorneys, but people trained in social work. It’s a cost effective way to reach settlement solutions that work for everyone.
If you have children, child support is only one of many financial issues you and your spouse need to consider. Tuition and college living expenses will be an issue before you know it, as will weddings and grandchildren.
For your own short and long term financial well-being, you should look ahead to securing a new home (or keeping up the family home), meeting your basic needs, and having enough resources to enjoy life and pursue your dreams–education, travel, starting a business…. Lastly, you will want to ensure your comfort and security after retirement and beyond. You should leave mediation services feeling confident and ready to enjoy your post divorce life.
Stages of Divorce Financial Planning
The key difference between mediation and litigation is that all parties agree on how assets will be distributed, rather than fighting over them tooth and nail. Settlement negotiations in mediation are not always without disagreement, but it’s still a much more peaceful process than attorneys bickering over every scrap in court, and it’s much more conducive to the mental health of clients.
What are the Steps of the Mediation Process?
The process begins when you call us to make an appointment for your free consultation. At the consultation, we will get a better idea of the situation between you and your spouse, and we will answer any questions you might have. At Win-Win, we approach the divorce process in stages, and the first thing to consider when we reach the financial planning portion is your assets. You and your spouse should list the physical property, investments, retirement accounts, cash, and similar you share and what each of you hopes to retain in the settlement. If the two of you are on the same page, the financial aspects of mediation can be fast, and much more cost effective than litigation. Even if there is some disagreement, your mediator is trained to effectively listen to and communicate with each client. Win-Win has over a 95 percent success rate, so we’re confident we can help you arrive at settlement decisions that work for all involved.
When you have agreed on the preliminary property settlement, we will draft the settlement agreement, which will contain all financial information pertaining to the divorce. You can review it with your divorce mediator, and then you will have a period of time to go over the document on your own.
When both partners are satisfied, the Divorce Packet is prepared, signed, and filed with the court. As soon as it is signed by the judge, the divorce is complete. You’re ready to get on with your post divorce life.
What is a CDFA?
A CDFA is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. A CDFA can help you understand your finance and debt situation better, including investment and retirement accounts. A CDFA can also assist you with gathering financial information and documents, obtaining data (for child support and alimony purposes if needed), suggest ways to distribute assets, and finally, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst can help you to predict the possible outcomes of various financial decisions.
The expert attorneys and trained social workers at Win-Win can help you achieve your short and long term financial goals. During the mediation process, we will help you scrutinize all your financial issues and offer options. Every case is different, and we know divorce can be a difficult and painful process, which is why we tailor our approach to meet all your needs. We are a compassionate team versed in family law, ready to help you move beyond your divorce and get on with your life.
Your future is important to us. To get start planning your divorce, call us to schedule a free consultation today.