The role of a financial neutral in a collaborative divorce is to compile and disseminate information about the family’s current and anticipated financial circumstances. By ensuring that both spouses have access to information regarding the nature and extent of their “marital estate,” the financial neutral can help the divorcing couple make informed decisions and work toward an agreement that works for both parties.
Choosing to participate in a collaborative divorce means you will have access to a financial neutral, which eliminates the need for each party to hire his or her own financial expert. This also helps to eliminate time that each attorney might otherwise spend engaging in the discovery and disclosure aspects of a traditional divorce. To learn more about the benefits of collaborative divorce, contact one of the professionals at Best Legal Choices today.
What is a Financial Neutral?
A financial neutral is a member of a collaborative divorce team who can help divorcing couples reach financial agreements and understand how those agreements may affect their plans for the future. Financial neutrals have extensive training, often as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, a Certified Divorce Financial Planner, or similar qualifications. As a neutral member of the collaborative team, the financial neutral cannot be engaged by either spouse in future litigation or for any future financial planning services, as he/she agrees to not work for either spouse in the future.
What Does a Financial Neutral Do?
The primary role of a financial neutral in a collaborative divorce is to gather information from the spouses about their family finances and then share that information with all members of the team, including the spouses, the attorneys and the communication specialist. The financial neutral will offer input about potential implications of the financial decisions the spouses make regarding their divorce. This includes helping couples make informed decisions about their cash flow and their assets/obligations. Their primary goal is to work with the collaborative team to help divorcing couples reach a settlement that works for both spouses.
The neutral financial professional may perform one or more of the following functions:
- Provideinformation about the financial implications of decisions made during the collaborative divorce
- Helps couples understand and communicate their shared and individual financial interests
- Provide short- and long-term financial projections that can help a couple make more informed decisions
- Analysz tax implications of different scenarios for the division of assets and obligations, capital gains and losses, income tax filing scenarions and more.
In What Situations Would I Need a Financial Neutral?
The financial neutral can provide education and input on a number of divorce-related items, including:
- Real estate. This includes the primary residence as well as rental properties, vacation properties, undeveloped land or any other real estate investments. The financial neutral can provide input regarding tax planning and offer creative alternatives for the spouses to consider.
- Retirement plans. Whether the spouses have pensions, 401(k)s, Individual Retirement Accounts or other retirement benefits, the financial neutral can explain the available alternatives and the benefits/consequences of each.
- Spousal Maintenance. A financial neutral can help the spouses to identify gaps between their resources and their needs and offer input about how to use spousal maintenance to bridge that gap.
- Small business owners. Anytime there’s a business involved, financial neutrals can potentially avoid the cost of a full business valuation. The neutral can gather and provide the records of a small business to make sure that everybody’s got the information necessary to make informed decisions.
- Nemeth, Robert M. “The Role of the Financial Neutral in a Collaborative Divorce Case.” CLEVELAND METROPOLITAN BAR JOURNAL , 2014, www.applegrowth.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Role-of-the-Financial-Neutral-in-Collaborative-Divorce.pdf.
- Wolf, Richard, and Richard Wolf. “Using a Financial Neutral In a Collaborative Divorce.” Gross Mendelsohn Technology Solutions Group, 22 Oct. 2018, www.gma-cpa.com/blog/using-a-financial-neutral-in-a-collaborative-divorce.
- “Collaborative Law in Divorce: Why the Financial Neutral Is Critical.” Wipfli, www.wipfli.com/insights/articles/vflt-collaborative-law-in-divorce-why-financial-neutral-is-critical.
- Money during divorce, what you need to know
- 6 money issues that can ruin your marriage
- How to stop fighting over money
- 5 money mistakes to avoid when you’re getting a divorce
Collaborative Divorce Is a Peaceful Divorce Option
Divorce litigation can be scary and emotionally draining for you, your spouse, and your children. But it doesn’t have to be that way with collaborative divorce. The collaborative process can result in a less expensive, more efficient, and less harmful outcome for everyone involved. The legal, financial, and communication professionals at Best Legal Choices can help you navigate this difficult time in your life.
OUR PROFESSIONALS CAN HELP WITH THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS IN ARIZONA!
The collaborative divorce process is designed to help people who are willing to work together to make an agreement that benefits the family. Resources that help parents communicate effectively during this process can help them model appropriate behavior for their kids. With love and support, children can more effectively deal with their parents’ divorce. Contact a professional at Best Legal Choices if you’re ready to take the first step toward starting your new life.