Top 10 Signs You Need a
Divorce Financial Professional

Parts of this piece were drawn from an original article written by Bryan J. Koslow, MBA, CFP®, CDFA™. Mr. Koslow is a Divorce Financial Planner and Founder of the firm New Jersey Divorce Advisors, LLC. The article has been adapted for Canada.

A survey conducted by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts™ revealed that the ways assets are divided during divorce proceedings has changed significantly in the past several years. With the changes in the economic climate, divorcing couples are focusing on distribution of liquid assets more than ever. With the growing popularity of Alternative Dispute Resolution such as Mediation and Collaborative Divorce, the use of specially trained professionals is becoming more common. The following list identifies 10 signs that you should consider utilizing a Divorce Financial Professional:

Presence of illiquid assets such as real estate properties, business interests, annuities, restricted stock, or stock options
Even if a couple has accumulated significant wealth, illiquid assets can’t be used to pay the bills each month. There are often creative ways to leverage illiquid assets without being forced to liquidate them. Penalties and tax implications should be considered before making decisions.
No Contract, No Bulk Hours Inequality in the financial knowledge of the parties
In approximately 70% of households one person handles all of the financial matters for the family and the other has limited involvement. When the couple prepares for divorce, this can leave the person who had not been involved in the finances at a clear disadvantage and jeopardize the couple’s ability to avoid litigation. A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) can level the playing field and can help position the parties for life post-divorce. We can also help the spouses build sensible, understandable interim and going-forward family budgets reflecting the reality of two, not one, households
Stress Free Parents Households with special needs children or significant/highly variable children’s expenses
For parents with special needs children proper estate planning is an absolute necessity. Divorce magnifies the need for proper planning and should not be overlooked. Special Needs Trusts are often created to protect the child without affecting Government aid. Where children are involved in unique or very expensive health, educational or recreational activities that can vary widely, a CDFA acting as a financial neutral can identify, inventory and reconcile these significant periodic expenses comprehensively and fairly
One of the parties is self-employed
A family-owned business may be one of the couple’s largest assets yet its value is often subject to dispute. A CDFA can arrange for a certified Business Evaluator to determine the value of the business and propose ways for dividing the business without disrupting the operations.
The desire for the comfort of a comprehensive current state financial review
If either spouse has concerns about transparency, discussions will break down. A CDFA can review tax returns, bank statements, investment accounts, and credit reports to raise the confidence of both parties of transparency and completeness.
Identifying and reconciling financial contributions by the Spouses after Date of Separation
In many instances there may be a significant passage of time between when a couple commence living 'separate and apart' (even within the matrimonial home) and the commencement of divorce. In such cases each party may be paying or contributing different amounts to household or children's expense over an extended period of time. A CDFA acting as a neutral can identify, inventory and reconcile the differing financial contributions as part of the property division discussions in a way both parties see as fair.
There are complex insurance needs (life insurance, health insurance, disability, or long-term care)
In some cases it may be beneficial to the support recipient to carry life and/or disability insurance to protect the payee in the event of an untimely death.
One of the parties is considering lump sum support.
While support payments over time are tax deductible by the payor and treated as income by the payee, lump sum support does not receive this treatment and may result in unintended tax consequences for the parties.
Income needs to be generated from assets
In cases where earnings and support are not sufficient to support the client’s post-divorce lifestyle, assets received via equitable distribution can be used to generate income. A CDFA with experience in divorce can advise clients on appropriate options.
Divorce Over 50 (Gray Divorce)
In cases involving older clients, there may be more assets but less income to work with. There are also additional financial complexities regarding Retirement planning, Estate Planning, Pension and other payout options.


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