Financial Professionals in the Collaborative Process
Money and finances can often be one of the most stressful and highly-contested areas in a divorce. Although collaborative law allows parties to reach a settlement without fighting it out in court, issues centered on money can still create high tensions and other emotion. With this in mind, collaborative divorce allows for a Financial Professional to assist in these issues.
One of the most important aspects of the Financial Professional’s role is that there is total neutrality. While attorneys represent one party and parties may even choose to employ their own individual Divorce Coach, the Financial Professional (FP) works on the team as a completely neutral party. Although the FP is usually an experienced professional, he/she will never be a couple’s regular accountant or financial planner. This ensures that total neutrality is met and that the FP has been trained in the collaborative model.
The FP works to gather a detailed and comprehensive report of the parties’ financials, namely their assets, debts, insurance policies, and any other types of income or cash flow. With this information the FP can also prepare a detailed and accurate estimate of each party’s financial needs and obligations. This allows the process to better reach optimal settlements and actually meet each party’s needs.
In a nutshell, the neutral Financial Professional works to get the information that the attorneys and parties would normally go through in the costly discovery process in the court based litigation model. Instead, the Financial Professional is able to compile the information in a thorough and unbiased fashion, and assist with tacking the financial issues.
Financial Professionals have strong experience in the finance and accounting world, and also have training on collaborative practice. Most Financial Professionals are either a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or a CFP (Certified Financial Planner). In collaborative law, the Financial Professional also may be certified as a CDFA (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst).