Collaborative Divorce: The Benefits of using a Financial Neutral

collaborative divorce Jan 03, 2018

Divorces have a reputation for being messy and pitting couples at each other’s throats. Much of the controversy surrounding divorces stem from the allocation of assets and other financial concerns. You can reduce the associated stress when you use a Financial Neutral in collaborative divorce cases.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

A collaborative divorce is a divorce process where each party is represented by an attorney that has been trained in the collaborative process but rather than taking a specific position, the parties and their attorneys work together to come up with solutions that are in everyone’s best interests. There is an agreement not to go into litigation. If the collaborative divorce doesn’t work out, then the parties can choose to go for litigation but are required to hire new attorneys that were not involved in the initial collaborative agreement. That’s a big incentive for everyone to keep moving forward toward an agreement.

As part of the...

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How to Prepare for Mediation: Divorce Mediation Checklist

checklist mediation Dec 19, 2017

In my online course, "How to Prepare for Divorce," I go in-depth on how to prepare for divorce and mediation, specifically, if that's the process you choose to use. At a high level, here is a brief divorce mediation checklist to help you prepare for your first appointment.

Divorce Mediation Checklist: Questions for the Mediator

Make a list of questions that you have for the mediator. Before agreeing to use the mediator, both you and your spouse should have an opportunity to speak with him/her. You'll want to ask about:

  • Mediator's experience
  • Cost of mediation/fees
  • Availability for meetings
  • Experience mediating the specific issues that will be dealt with in your divorce

divorce mediation checklist

Divorce Mediation Checklist: List Your Concerns

Make a list of all of your concerns. You may not address them in your first appointment but it's important to start writing them down. To keep yourself organized, try to cluster your concerns about a specific topic. For example, make a list of all of the concerns you...

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Debt and Divorce: Understand Your Liability for Shared Debt

debt Dec 17, 2017

Are you faced with debt and divorce?

Divorce can be scary but when you're faced with debt and divorce, it becomes even more complicated. Know that you are not alone. Many couples find themselves knee deep in debt and have no idea what to do with it in their divorce.  The best option for shared debt in a divorce is to pay it completely off. Unfortunately, for many, this is not an option.  So what are the risks and what should you do?

Important actions to consider when dealing with debt and divorce:

Run a credit report.

This is a crucial step in determining just how much debt you have and can also help determine if there is any debt you weren’t aware of. We don’t like to think the worst, but it’s an unfortunate truth that hidden debt can be a common and unwanted surprise.

Use marital assets to eliminate debt.

Once you determine the amount of shared debt see if you can pay any of it off using marital assets before the divorce is final. This may not be...

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How to Find Hidden Assets in a Divorce

Have you ever wondered if your husband or wife is hiding assets? Do you want to know how to find hidden assets? Read on. 

It’s an unfortunate truth but it’s common for individuals to hide assets during a divorce. While we may still want to think better of the person we married, it’s important to be diligent and do your research.  

How to Find Hidden Assets: 5 Places to Look

Unreported Income.

Take a look at all savings, checking, brokerage, trust accounts, and any other accounts used by either spouse during the marriage. This can be tough if a person deals with a lot of cash transactions. Hiring a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) to do a lifestyle analysis is a smart decision. They can comb through all sources of income and expenses and find things that don’t add up.

Tax returns

A CDFA will usually review at least 3 years of returns, which provides a fair amount of insight into one’s financial picture. Often, tax returns can reflect...

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Expert Money Management Tips for Recently Divorced Women

If you are recently divorced and managing money on your own for the first time, you are not alone. Many of the women who I work with are dealing with not only the stress of their divorce but also the need to become educated on their own personal finances. I was curious to get some feedback from some of my colleagues so I reached out to get their top money management tips for recently divorced women.

Barbara Rowens, CDFA:

3 Steps Toward Financial Freedom After Divorce

The good news? Divorce doesn’t have to threaten your financial freedom. Whether you’re newly divorced or contemplating divorce, here are steps you can take to feel confident and in control as you head into this next chapter.

Set goals. Your situation has changed and so have your financial goals. Where do you see yourself in five or ten years? When do you want to retire? How will you invest your money? Setting goals may seem stressful but think of it as an opportunity to create the type of life...

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Post-Divorce Tips for Surviving the Holidays on a Budget

Transitioning to a new budget following your divorce can be a real challenge, and the countdown is on! It’s quickly approaching that time of year where we live simultaneously in cheer and stress. What one big thing you can do to reduce that stress? Save money!  Budgeting is essential all year,  but it’s especially crucial during the holidays.  Try these money-saving tips for surviving the holidays on a budget! 

Related post: 5 Tips to Improve Your Post-Divorce Budget

Tips for Surviving the Holidays on a Budget

Make a list, check it twice, then stick to it!  

None of us wants to be a Scrooge, but does everyone you know really need a holiday gift?  Sit down and make a list of the people you plan to buy gifts for and the ones you can send a nice holiday card to.   Now recheck the list.  Is there anyone you remove without feeling like Jack Frost?  Now go through your final list and assign a realistic...

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Preparing for Divorce Checklist

Are you planning to get a divorce? Here is a Preparing for Divorce Checklist so you don't forget to tend to these important matters.

Preparing for Divorce Checklist

Change your passwords.

Even if you have not shared your passwords with your spouse, they likely know you well enough to guess your passwords better than anybody. Update all of your passwords to something that your soon-to-be-ex will not be able to guess.

Establish your own email account.

It is not uncommon for married couples to share (formally or informally) an email address. As you move from a joint identity to a separate one, it's important for you to be able to use email freely. This is often a cost-effective method of communicating with your attorney.

Review your credit report.

Credit Karma is a free resource you can use to monitor your credit report. It also allows you to monitor your credit score. As you review your credit report, make sure there are no surprises. If there is anything that should...

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How to determine which assets to keep in a divorce

Most of the time, when I sit down with couples preparing to dissolve their marriage, individuals assume that each account will be divided in half. Did you know that's not always the case? In states like Ohio, where the law requires an equitable distribution of assets in a divorce, it's important to remember that equitable is not always equal. If you have options, how do you determine which assets to keep in a divorce? Rather than ramble on about all of the issues to consider, let's take a look at an example of a couple with whom I recently worked. I will refer to them as Michelle and James and have tweaked the details so as not to divulge their confidential information.

An Example of Dividing Assets in a Divorce

James and Michelle were married for the last 18 years. Michelle is a teacher who has worked in a local Ohio public school district for 23 years. James has a job in IT in the private sector and has worked at various companies throughout his career. He has been with his...

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4 Dissolution Tips All Teachers Need to Know

pensions strs teachers Oct 11, 2017

Teachers, if you are in the process of terminating your marriage, these dissolution tips are for you.

Teachers hold a special place in my heart for many reasons. For one, early in my career, I was a teacher. I earned my Master's in Education and have made quite a few teacher friends over the years. Additionally, I had the pleasure of having some fabulous teachers throughout my education. My children have also been blessed with some wonderful teachers who truly care about their success.

Often, when I meet with teachers who are faced with the end of their marriage, they realize that they do not have a complete understanding of the family finances and their retirement benefits, in particular.  Many do not even realize that they have options when it comes to their pensions. Teachers, you are not alone! It is my passion to provide the education you need to feel empowered as you go through your divorce.

Here are 4 dissolution tips every teacher should know:

Get a ...

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How to Survive Divorce as a Stay-at-Home Mom

preparing for divorce Oct 02, 2017

I find myself supporting quite a few stay-at-home moms with their divorces. I think that's because stay-at-home moms know with absolute certainty that they cannot afford to make costly financial mistakes in their divorce settlements. When you don't have your own income and your income is entirely dependent on someone else, you can feel extremely vulnerable when going through a divorce.

Beyond merely being vulnerable, many stay-at-home moms feel real barriers to getting the advice they need when going through a divorce, especially those who do not have access to money of their own. Here are some professional tips for stay-at-home moms.

For more information about preparing for divorce, check out our book: When It's Just Not Work: A Practical Divorce Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms

Tips on How to Survive Divorce as Stay-at-Home Mom from a Professional

  1. Do not allow fear to make your decisions for you. One of the biggest mistakes that I see stay-at-home moms make is racking up the...
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