We can help you with the following financial components pertaining to divorce:
- Gathering, clarifying, and organizing all assets (both marital and separate). It is important to know what the cost basis is on all assets so tax planning can also be considered in the divorce settlement agreement. If a spouse had property prior to marriage (separate property), this financial piece is identified and excluded from the community property division.
- Analysis of property division. When dividing investments, it is important to recognize a spouse’s tolerance to risk or any other unsuitable feature. It is important to have a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of all the property to be divided. We will produce different scenarios for a financial settlement to help you determine one that works the best for each spouse going forward.
- Identifying and listing all marital debt and liabilities. It is important to close out joint accounts and set up an individual one. Also, pulling a current credit report before the final process has been achieved will avoid unpleasant surprises. Besides identifying for the marital settlement agreement which spouse will be responsible for paying a certain debt, it is necessary to contact the credit card company or whoever the debt is owed to so the account debt can be updated and placed in just that spouse's name.
- Pension division analysis. A qualified domestic relationship order (QDRO) is a legal document. If a couple wishes to split a pension account today, we will provide a present value of the pension as an alternative to splitting any future pension payments at retirement. It is possible that a fair settlement can be achieved by simply buying out the nonemployee spouse if other assets are available for the offset.
- Budgeting and ongoing monitoring after the divorce. It is important to know what your future income will be (i.e., earned income, spousal, child support, investment income, etc.). We will assist in identifying a realistic budget going forward based on expected income and expenses. We will look at many years into the future to see what a projected cash flow and balance sheet may look like. The more you know, the better you can plan.
- Review of insurance, tax liabilities, estate planning, and retirement financial issues. Usually one of the spouses will lose their health insurance coverage although COBRA is available for up to 36 months for the nonemployee spouse (current tax law). This means that health insurance will need to be purchased. This is usually a large expense and will need to be added to the overall monthly expense list. In addition, after a divorce, each spouse will need to set up his or her own estate plan, update beneficiaries, and so on. A new trust document and titling of assets will need to be done. Reviewing retirement funds and how much is available for retirement is very important, especially since most of the time the retirement funds that were saved during marriage have just been cut in half.
- Communication with attorneys. After a fair and equitable financial settlement is identified and agreed to by the couple, we are happy to meet with your attorney to help explain the financial details of the division. Not everyone is comfortable with all the different financial language, and it can be difficult to relay by the divorcing couple. We can help with that so your attorney can better represent you. We are not attorneys and cannot provide any legal advice or legal documents, but our financial knowledge of investments, taxes, insurance, and estate plans will help to expedite the divorce process while reducing overall costs and stress.