For many, proceeding into a divorce when you do not know about any of the family finances is, to say the least, scary. It should scare you. You don’t know how your money is invested, and you may not even understand the myriad of investments available.
You may have already hired a family lawyer, who will take care of getting the documents necessary to see the whole community estate. There also can be issues of separate property, money spent on a paramour, fraud, or reckless investments. You need a lawyer to provide the framework of how these affect the community, and you need a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, too. Why? Most lawyers have working knowledge of assets, investments and liabilities, but you need to understand more than that. You need someone who can explain these concepts to you, and help you get to your goal.
What is your goal? Oftentimes, people come in saying that they don’t care about the money, just let the kids stay with them. This is very foolish. Women and men who are also the primary caregiver of children have enormous demands on their time. This may mean that they must take a position that makes less money than a previous position paid, but allows for flexibility. And by the way, child support does very little to feed, clothe, educate and raise a growing family.
That’s where a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst can help. First, she will spend a lot of time discussing how you envision your future life on your own. She can help you develop a budget under temporary orders, and help your lawyer advocate for the resources necessary for you to feel secure while raising the family.
What happens after the kids leave the nest? Your goal must include provisions for your retirement income. You need a mix of assets to provide for the here and now, and to provide for your future. You will need liquid funds, short term investments, and investments for the long term. Your Certified Financial Divorce Analyst will look at the current marital portfolio (if any) and will see what kind of risk vs growth is currently in your portfolio. She can assist you with choosing the best investments for your goals, and the most tax-advantaged.
Your marital residence usually makes up a large part of the marital estate. Many people are emotionally attached to keeping the house, even if it is too large or too expensive (with regards to mortgage, property taxes and repairs). Your Divorce Financial Planner can help you decide in a rational way whether it makes sense to stay in the home.
Your family lawyer will want a lot of information from you, quickly. If you have just been served with a divorce that you didn’t see coming, the additional burden of sifting through financial details may be more that you can accomplish. Your Divorce Financial Planner is ready to assist.