One of the surprising differences between a traditional litigated divorce and a collaborative divorce is the manner in which finances are handled.
In a traditionally litigated divorce, both parties have their own financial professionals who research the separating couples’ finances and paint their own picture of where they stand, who needs what, and who deserves what. This can often be a combative process that is more about punishing one party than ensuring that both parties will be financially secure in the future.
In a collaborative divorce where both parties have agreed to be transparent and open, there is only one financial professional—the financial neutral—who works with both parties, their attorneys, the divorce coach, and any other team members. The entire team works together to craft agreements with everyone’s best interests in mind.
What is a Financial Neutral?
The financial neutral is a financial professional such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) that has undergone specialized training as a Divorce Financial Analyst and understand the goals and process of collaborative practice. They do not work for either party in the divorce, but rather for both parties. If the collaborative team has two divorce coaches, the financial neutral is often tasked with facilitating meetings.
The Goal of the Financial Neutral in a Collaborative Divorce
Because there’s no dirt to uncover and all financial documents are willingly handed over to the financial neutral, the main objective of this professional is to help the parties separate their assets and plan for the future in a way that takes into accounts each party’s needs. This includes considering living situations for the divorcing couple (and any children), taking into account income disparities, planning for upcoming taxes and financial expenditures such as college, and more. A financial neutral’s expert insight helps divorcing couples consider different financial scenarios, create financial goals, and prepare budgets.
Often, one party is more knowledgeable about the couple’s finances or about monetary issues in general. When this is the case, the financial neutral often takes time to explain the finances to the other party so he or she can make informed choices about his or her future. This really speaks to the foundation of collaborative practice and the desire to ensure that participants are prepared to move forward from the divorce and have the tools they need to craft their new lives.
Consulting with a Tampa Collaborative Divorce Attorney
The role of the financial neutral is extremely important in a collaborative divorce. They help ensure the financial well-being of a divorcing couple and help craft workable financial agreements that consider everyone’s needs. Having this done in a thoughtful manner rather than in an “I want as much as I can get” mentality allows divorcing couples to separate more amicably and in a healthier fashion. For families who must consider their children’s wellbeing, this is especially important.
To learn more about the different team members who assist with collaborative divorces, reach out to a Tampa collaborative divorce lawyer. A Tampa divorce attorney who has been trained in collaborative practice can help explain the collaborative process and help you determine whether it is appropriate for your situation. Collaborative divorce requires the commitment of both parties to working together. Having a skilled lawyer who can guide you through the process is an important component of the process. Contact Quinn Law Firm today to learn more.