Forensic accountants, hired to “find something incriminating”, taking over the business conference room for weeks; days away from the office or the kids sitting in depositions; explaining away calls to customers and CEOs; and “experts” favoring one spouse over the other with the hope of getting post-divorce business. All the while the billable time for the lawyers and accountants escalates. These are just some of the challenges facing financially successful families going through a hotly contested litigated divorce.
With collaborative divorce you can avoid these divorce pitfalls and take advantage of two specific collaborative divorce opportunities—private financial fact gathering and neutral financial expertise.
Private financial fact gathering
Collaborative divorce focuses on an honest exchange of information by both spouses. In fact, each collaborative lawyer is responsible for encouraging her own client to share all relevant information and often asks her own client the “difficult questions” about the family finances. All the collaborative participants are committed to the belief that positive post-divorce financial lives for both spouses can’t be achieved unless we all have a full and accurate understanding of the couple’s finances. We accomplish this by thoroughly and carefully identifying and analyzing financial information in a private setting. In collaboration we are all committed to effective financial fact gathering and will continue until both spouses are confident they have what they need to begin financial negotiations. Litigation techniques such as subpoenas, depositions, and interrogatories aren’t necessary and are specifically prohibited.
Neutral financial expertise
Rather than relying on the biased claims of financial experts retained by either spouse individually, couples divorcing collaboratively benefit from the expertise of neutral financial specialists. These specialists whether, certified public accountants, financial planners, investment advisors, or valuation specialists, are collaboratively trained and experienced. Because they are jointly retained by both spouses, their opinions, advice, and guidance is unbiased and credible. Like the collaborative attorneys, upon the conclusion of the collaborative process, whether before or after the couple has divorced, the financial specialists won’t work for either spouse or be called into court to testify.
Collaboratively trained neutral financial specialists, combine their specific financial expertise, whether asset management, tax planning, or retirement planning, with collaborative skills to educate and empower a less financially experienced or sophisticated spouse and maximize the long term financial well-being of each spouse.