Putting a Team in Place When Going Through a Divorce

January 21, 2020

As someone who traditionally has tried to figure it all out by herself (in many aspects of my life), I learned during my divorce that I needed to enlist the help of professionals who would help me in the process. In fact, when surveyed, many people who went through a divorce, looking back wished that they had hired more people to help them in the process. If you have a loved one going through a divorce, please share the following with them.

Create your Empowerment Team

There are a range of professionals that are available to help through divorce depending on the complexity of the situation. Many of the following professionals have an overlap in responsibilities, so not all are needed.

Divorce attorney: Ensures all the legal requirements are met for the state to dissolve the marriage. May advise on tax, valuation, budget and other issues reducing the number of professionals needed. It’s critical they have the right experience for your specific situation and that you feel comfortable with them. It is worth the investment to hire a qualified attorney and to interview a few to find the best fit both in expertise and in demeanor.

Estate planning attorney: Addresses what happens if you’re incapacitated or pass away. They provide guidance on the titling of assets and estate planning documents during and post-divorce to ensure everything is in line with your wishes.

Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®): Addresses the unique tax and financial issues of a divorce while analyzing the short- and long-term financial impact of different divorce settlements.

Certified Financial Planner (CFP®): Advises on your overall financial health, budget and plan for future goals. It is helpful if they are familiar with the unique issues of divorce.

Child Specialist: Assists in creating a parenting plan to help maintain the well-being of children involved in a divorce.

Other divorce professionals include CPA, Actuary, Certified Appraiser, Banker/Mortgage Broker/Certified Divorce Lending Professional (CDLP), Insurance broker, Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), and Private Investigator.

Of course, sometimes the harder part of getting a divorce has little to do with the business side of things but rather the emotional aspects of it. It is helpful to have your support network during the whole process which is often an emotional roller coaster.

Therapist/Counselor: Most spouses and kids significantly benefit from working with a therapist experienced in divorce issues. Most important, however, is that you feel extremely comfortable talking to them.

Divorce Coach: A growing number of people are hiring a divorce coach to help them get organized and prioritize to make the best possible decisions for the future. A divorce coach works along with the divorce attorney to support, focus and motivate you during the tough times.

Friends and family: Although these people are not for hire, they can be an invaluable source of support during divorce. For a variety of reasons, telling your close friends that you’re going through a divorce is a difficult thing. However, choosing a select group of friends and family members to vent to or just grab a drink/coffee with is so important to have. Always keep in mind that they are not experts in the law and likely don’t know all the nuances of your personal finances so rely on them for support, but not final decision making on the business aspects of your divorce lawsuit.

Asking for help is sometimes the hardest part of any difficulty in life and divorce has a ripple effect on the extended family and friends. Our BDF Divorce Practice Group is here to support you and anyone you care about. Contact your wealth manager or TheNextChapter@bdfllc.com for a list of Divorce Professional Interview Questions and other divorce resources.

Jenny Chung, CFP® is a Wealth Manager at BDF. She uses her background as a teacher to help individuals and families understand their investments and financial plans. She also works on the firm’s Divorce Practice Group which helps divorcing individuals navigate through the process. Jenny earned a master’s degree from the University of Illinois and has over 20 years of experience working in financial services.