A successful analysis starts with understanding a client’s needs, concerns and goals for themselves and their family.  The more I know about your situation, the better I can help you navigate and resolve all the financial issues of your divorce.

Step One : The Initial Meeting

The divorce financial analysis process starts with the initial meeting. For a flat fee of $120, we will spend anywhere from an hour to two hours getting to know each other so I can understand your fears, your concerns and the issues that are a priority for you.  Addressing your concerns from the beginning will allow time to develop appropriate solutions.  Prior to the meeting, I will provide you with a ‘List of Commonly Requested Documents’ so that you can come prepared making our meeting more productive.  At the end of the meeting, you will have an understanding of your options and the financial realities of your situation.

Step Two: Data Gathering

Lack of accurate financial information can result in bad decision-making.  Collecting documentation at the beginning of the divorce process is paramount to ensuring that nothing is overlooked.  The divorce process often stalls or fails because you are being asked to make decisions when you have no supporting documentation.  As the saying goes, trust, but verify.  My goal in this process is to ‘level the playing field’ by ensuring that you and your spouse are informed and empowered with the information needed to make those important decisions and as the organizing source for all your financial information, I will help you gather the appropriate documents necessary for my analysis.  Divorce is paperwork intensive but I will help you make sense of it all so that you remain in control and informed at all times.

Step Three:  Preliminary Analysis

After a review of all the financial documents (usually 2 – 3 weeks), we will have a follow-up meeting to present my initial analysis of your current financial situation. This includes identifying the marital assets and any financial or tax issues specific to your case.  We will also look at your current and projected post-divorce cash flow to see if any shortfalls exist.  However, we will not have all the necessary information at this point to illustrate a final settlement plan, instead we will continue to build upon the preliminary analysis as new information and questions arise, and they usually do.   It takes time to develop the right scenario given all the factors that need to be taken into account but at this early stage we can begin to look at different options to see which ones will work and which ones will not.   The more complex your financial situation, the longer it takes to find a resolution that works for you and your spouse.

Step Four:  Run Different Scenarios

At this point, your divorce team – attorney and/or mediator and myself, are working together to find viable solutions for resolution by running different scenarios.  Once I have all the data and the agreed-upon numbers for income, expenses and support, I will illustrate options for the marital home, division of marital assets and, if applicable, different support scenarios.  Cash flow concerns and long-term financial projections will also be reviewed.  We will typically meet again so I can present you with easy-to-understand reports and charts that allow you to compare the impact of the different scenarios, side-by-side.

Step Five:  Develop Final Settlement Proposal

It’s important to remember that none of the scenarios will address all your needs. What works for one spouse, will typically not work as well for the other spouse.  This process requires a lot of give and take and an ability to look at the bigger picture to see what is in the best interests of you and your family.  Picking your battles carefully and deciding whether or not it is worth spending the time or money to fight it, is a priority for ‘getting to yes’.   I work with you until the end helping you and your attorney draft the financial language for the Separation Agreement to make sure that everything we discussed is captured correctly in the agreement.  I will do a final calculation for the division of assets and can even prepare the QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) if a 401(k) or 403(b) needs to be split.  This ensures a smooth transition to life after divorce.

Step Six:  There is a Great Life after Divorce – Let me help you get there

You made it through one of the most difficult life events there is, but there is still work to be done.  Some attorneys say you should be able to put your Separation Agreement in a drawer after the final court date and forget about it – I say, don’t you dare until you are confident that everything that was ordered to be done, has been done.  Not changing beneficiaries or following up on a QDRO that wasn’t done prior to the divorce can have severe financial ramifications if left undone.  I work with my clients to ensure that all the final details are taken care of so you have peace of mind.  I am licensed in the state of MA (Series 65 and RIA) to provide post-divorce financial planning and investment advice, so that when you are ready to take that next step of putting your financial life back on track, I will be there with you every step of the way.