Life Spans – Bridge Divorce Strategies Newsletter

Divorce finance isn’t a DIY project

I see it all the time. Family-law attorneys opt to bring me in to a case, as a financial expert, only when they “hit a wall” on something specialized, far downstream in the case. For everything else, they’ve “seen it all,” and “done it before,” and so all of that “basic” stuff is regarded as a do-it-yourself or DIY project.

Mind if I get a tad snarky? Sure, I’ll tell you, you can do it yourself… if you enjoy opening yourself up to liability.

Trust me on this. I’m a CPA, a Certified Financial Planner™ professional, and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® professional.

I see it so often, and every time it pains me. I’ll see an attorney tell a client (a woman facing divorce from an affluent husband) that the settlement is “equitable,” when in reality:

  • There are errors
  • “Pre-tax” is calculated instead of “after-tax”… or vice versa
  • Unlike assets are treated as if they were “like” assets
  • Paychecks are annualized improperly

It goes on and on.

Go big or go home

Sorry for the rant, but here’s another that drives me nuts. And that’s taking the path of least resistance when it comes to accepting a settlement offer from the husband.

Look at it this way: You know that the husband is going to start with the most aggressive offer, knowing that he still has room to negotiate.

So why should it be any different for the wife? Why should there be a double standard?

There shouldn’t.

I help my clients—and their attorneys—to pursue the exact same tactic as the husbands. I start big. I aim high. You can always negotiate down, but never the other way.

I want to hand my attorney—that would be you—the most impressive ammunition possible to secure the strongest settlement that can be settled.

How do I do it?

I dig deep. I start way upstream of all this “DIY” stuff, as in, in the AFI itself, to find and add “missing” financial information that routinely gets overlooked, such as:

  • Birthday gifts
  • Clothing
  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Umbrella coverage
  • Christmas gifts
  • Annual car registration
  • Vacation with the kids

I’ll also see things that others miss: I was recently hired to do separate-property tracing, and during my digging, I found out how the husband had conveniently forgotten to add a huge chunk of deferred compensation to the paperwork he’d submitted to the business-valuation expert and—ooops—it would’ve cost my client several hundred thousand dollars if I had not spotted it.

I saved that attorney’s butt. Because if that woman had, casually, consulted a financial expert after the divorce, and that oversight had surfaced, she would’ve been screaming bloody murder.

I’m not a lawyer. I immediately advise any divorcing woman who comes to me for advice to secure the services of a good attorney, ASAP. I stay in my lane.

But that’s a lane on a two-way street. And it certainly isn’t called “DIY Boulevard.”

Contact me. Let’s help you avoid undue liability, while vaulting from “hero” to “super hero” for your clients.


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