The Role of Financial Professionals in a Collaborative Divorce

April 22, 2010


Most divorce cases require the use of outside experts to assist with the valuation of marital assets, including real estate, retirement accounts or a family business. The collaborative process is not any different in that those values still need to be obtained in order to negotiate an appropriate settlement that takes into account the needs and goals of both parties. However, a collaborative divorce will likely include just one financial expert to provide a neutral valuation of an asset, rather than a "battle of the experts". In the litigation model, it is not unusual for both parties to obtain their own property appraisals from their own paid expert, requiring both parties to dedicate much-needed resources to obtain a valuation. 

In the collaborative model, one expert can be retained, who will provide a neutral valuation. The use of a collaboratively-trained financial specialist in a collaborative case can also be helpful. Such a financial specialist can provide a financial analysis of the marital estate, evaluate the tax consequences of certain dispositions, develop current and future cash flow analysis, and illustrate long-term financial projections for both parties. Ideally, the financial specialist will model alternatives for dividing assets to ensure financial security for both parties. The financial specialist may also be able to assist with providing clients creative solutions to enhance the total value of their assets available to both. 

This "team approach" to the divorce process helps each party to make fully-informed and carefully considered settlement decisions.  It also allows the parties to have greater control over what their futures will look like after their divorce is final.