Using the Right Professional

Some divorces call for additional professionals beyond those I’ve previously listed.  You might need an appraiser if either spouse is involved in a private business, some collectibles, or another valuable asset.   An appraiser is often needed to value the family home.  You might need a vocational evaluator if one of the spouses hasn’t been in the work for a while.  And maybe there’s another special circumstance that calls for another professional. 

 

There’s a final point to remember with all professionals.  Use the right professional for each task.  Many people going through their divorce spending lots of time talking through the emotional issues of their divorce with everyone they’ve hired.  All these professionals should have compassion for your situation, but paying attorney prices to have some emotional venting isn’t a good use of your resources.  Neither is having an attorney or their legal staff to run financial reports.  All these professionals are a great help in their area of expertise – just use them accordingly. 

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Working the Numbers in Divorce

The financial settlement is the major component of many divorces.  Making sure that a professional who is an expert in finances is also an expert in divorce is key.  A financial professional working on a divorce needs to be familiar with the legal landscape in divorce, tax issues that specifically relate to divorce, and the long term impact of the financial settlement in a divorce. 

Three different professions tend to gravitate toward this work. 

Investment professionals sometimes do this work as a loss leader to get investment clients after the divorce.  Be aware of this, both because of the potential for a lack of objectivity and because they might not have the training and credentials necessary to advise on divorce issues. 

Tax professionals also often enter the divorce process.  Many CPAs and Enrolled Agents have excellent grasp of the tax and legal considerations in divorce and provide a great compliment to the work the attorney does.  If tax professionals have a shortfall in divorce in general, it’s that they don’t always take the long view.  They are great at looking at the numbers now, but don’t always think in terms of the long term outcome for both spouses. 

Financial planners can also be great assistance in a divorce.  If the financial planner is a Certified Financial Planner she’s had training in looking at all aspects of a financial picture, including taxes and the long term perspective.  If this person has more a working knowledge of tax issues in divorce and understands knows the divorce arena, she could be a great addition to your divorce team. 
Getting help with the financial settlement between you and your soon-to-be ex is important.  You need to decide on alimony, dividing assets and debts, and calculate child support if you have kids.  Generally, courts aren’t amenable to re-opening divorce settlements because people didn’t make wise decisions.  Paying a financial professional to help you evaluate your settlement can one of the best investments you ever make. 

Divorce and Emotion – Working with a Therapist

Divorce can be a huge trauma.  Many mental health professionals say that divorce is one of the most devastating events people can go through.  A support system of friends and family that can help you through is important.  But sometimes, despite all their good intentions of your personal support system, they don’t support you in the way you need to be supported.  They may tell you what you want to hear.  They might encourage you to seek revenge during the divorce proceedings or hold on to your anger.  Therapy with a professional can help anyone going through divorce who wants to truly heal and go forward. 

 

If you have children, divorce is a time your kids may benefit from someone to help them work through the emotional turmoil of their parents’ divorce.  You and your co-parent will want to maintain open communication with your kids and encourage them to have a good relationship with both their parents.  Therapy can help the kids with these and other issues they might need to work through as their family situation changes.