You may be familiar with the idea of including a financial neutral as part of your divorce team if you are considering mediation or collaborative divorce. However, not every mediation or collaborative divorce necessitates having a financial neutral involved in the case. So, when do you need a financial neutral?
1. You have a complex financial situation.
The most common types of cases where we work as a financial neutral for a couple are when there is a substantial amount of wealth to divide or the couple’s financial situation is complicated. You should likely have a financial neutral working with you if your case involves:
• a self-employed individual,
• a business owner,
• ownership of multiple properties or rental properties, or
• complicated employer benefits such as pensions, stock options or non-qualified deferred compensation.
Your financial neutral can work with you and your mediator and/or legal counsel to help ensure all parties understand the assets that are available to be divided, verify that the assets are being valued correctly, provide creative settlement options, and create projections for what different settlement options will mean for your financial future.
2. One spouse is more comfortable with the family finances than the other.
It’s normal for one spouse to have more knowledge of the family finances than the other. You may have been busy building your career and trusted your partner to make those decisions for the family. Or you may be someone who doesn’t like handling the bills and finances, so you left those responsibilities to your partner. Now, when it is time to divide your wealth, you may be at a disadvantage.
We meet with couples together but also one-on-one to ensure everyone feels like they have a good understanding of the family’s financial picture and help answer any questions along the way. Nobody should feel like they are at a disadvantage during this process. Having a financial neutral involved can help alleviate concerns and help keep conversations moving forward with both parties on the same page.
3. When you want reassurance or a second set of eyes.
Many couples we work with as a financial neutral are simply looking for a second set of eyes. They want someone to be there along the way to point out any potential concerns about a possible settlement, to present other creative options that may accomplish the couple’s goals in a better way, and to provide guidance to avoid any mishaps down the road. Your attorney is an expert at being sure your agreement is legally sound and can be implemented in your area. Your financial neutral is an expert about finances and is there to provide advice about the best possible options for your situation and to ensure your agreement can actually be implemented from a financial standpoint.
Every situation is different, and we can help you navigate whether or not you need our help. If one of the above situations resonates with you, give us a call to discuss the potential of having a financial neutral as a part of your team.