Financial Mediation provides you with the two things you may need most in order to reach an agreement with your spouse regarding your divorce settlement. Other than a parenting plan if minor children are involved, the real issues are understanding the finances of your situation and being able to talk about it.
Financial insight and understanding, not only of the issues you face now, but also the foreseeable issues you may face in the future as a result of what you agree to at this time, are critical. If you are negotiating the division of property and assets, all of which have value, it makes perfect sense that you understand all there is to know about those values. And likely future values. This settlement will shape the rest of your financial life.
Having a financial mediator, who understands the financial subject matter, and is able to illustrate the long term outcomes of what is being considered, provides two benefits from one professional. The alternative is to have only one of the parties have financial assistance, and the other party possibly feel disadvantaged. That is not an optimal outcome. I strive to bring insightful and informed fairness to divorce situations. That means both parties need to have the benefit of understanding the long term outcomes as illustrated in a financial analysis.
No advice is provided to either you or your spouse during a financial mediation. As a financial mediator, I will simply show both of you the long term impact, upon each of you, of the various possible settlement conditions you are considering. That is informed decision making. At all times, you would each have the legal advice of your divorce attorneys to rely upon, but they would readily tell you that they are not financial experts.
A way to communicate and negotiate in an efficient and respectful manner is essential. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that has become more familiar and accepted, as a way to resolve differences, in recent years. It is particularly beneficial in divorce situations where the parties need to maintain ongoing family relations for many post-divorce years. As one divorcing father once told me, "I just want to be able to go to my daughter's wedding someday and really enjoy it.
Mediation, by definition, is a mutual endeavor by you and your spouse to resolve your differences. The process requires that you both be present and willing to negotiate, with a mediator as your facilitator. As such, the process is confidential and flexible. You have the ability to identify and explore all possible options in order to reach agreeable resolution. In doing so, you must be prepared to "let go of firmly held positions and "move toward compromise and consensus.
My goals are to have the mediation be as efficient and productive as possible, serve to establish a foundation upon which future necessary communication between you and your former spouse may occur, and support your legal needs as indicated by your divorce attorneys. Financial mediation is a highly specialized area and I want you to fully benefit from all that we do together. Please note that I will mediate only with parties who have individual legal representation by a family law attorney. A divorce is a legal process, involving a legal contract, and requires legal advice. I provide the financial expertise that attorneys do not claim to have. We are totally complementary.
11/09/2017Tax Overhaul Targets Alimony
Content of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was revealed last week and, as it now stands, alimony discussions will change dramatically. If approved in its current state, on this issue, going forward as of January 1, 2018, no alimony will be tax deductible for the payer, nor taxable to the recipient. This includes all alimony modifications made after January 1. All standing alimony orders will retain their current tax status for payer and recipient. The TCJA is the most sweeping tax reform proposed...
03/24/2017Choosing an Attorney
I am often asked for attorney referrals by potential clients embarking on the divorce process. My usual response is that I am better able to make referrals after meeting with you, understanding something about your situation, what you prefer in the way an attorney will represent you, and getting to know you is a limited way. Even after all that, I will provide at least three names of attorneys for you to interview, assess and make your own best decision. An attorney is not a commodity. This is...
01/25/2017Preparing for Divorce
You have decided this divorce needs to happen. Now what do you do? Prepare yourself. The following are some steps to take before you pull the trigger and set things in motion. Take care of deferred needs like dental work, new eye glasses, replace the tires, fix the roof, etc. Money is going to get tight, real soon, so better to know these things are taken care of. On the other hand, you will need to save some cash for the expenses of the divorce process: hiring professionals like a financial...