In this video, Nancy and Jennifer tell us how to save money leveraging financial experts in Collaborative Law!
JENNIFER MOSHIER: Hi, I’m Jennifer Moshier. I’m the founder of Peaceful Family Law. We are devoted to trying to keep your cases out of court.
NANCY HETRICK: And hi, my name is Nancy Hetrick and I’m the CEO and founder of Smarter Divorce Solutions, where I am a practicing certified divorce financial analyst.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: So Nancy and I have actually had a case together, a collaborative case, and I’d like to talk to Nancy today a little bit about what that looks like when I’m not there when my client walks into Nancy’s office, and I’d like to look at what that looks like for my client and from their perspective. So can you tell me a little bit about that?
NANCY HETRICK: Yeah, absolutely. So I always start the process with a joint meeting where the couple comes into my office and sits down. And that’s typically a really good time for me to get kind of the broad overview of their financial situation. And then I always take a little bit of time with each spouse separately so that I can really get what are their biggest fears, what are their biggest concerns about the finances that they may not be willing to share in front of the other spouse. So I do allow each party some one-on-one time with me.
And we want to always discuss what are their plans for the next phase of their life, because that can really dictate where we need to negotiate around the finances. And so I’d just make sure they’re both very, very comfortable. We set up a way to get all of the information provided that I will need, and then I really launch into doing the analysis so that I can bring back some really good reports to the whole team.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: And one thing that I know about you, Nancy, and it’s true about me as well: We’ve both gone to court, we’ve both had cases that go to court.
NANCY HETRICK: Absolutely.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: So we know what that looks like when you’re in the courtroom and you’re facing the judge and you don’t know what your life is going to look like after a judge rules on the sofa in your living room that they’ve never sat on. And that’s something I like to tell clients, “They’ve never seen your living room furniture, but they’ll be dividing it.”
And so you go to court and you testify for clients about what their financial picture is going to look like. And how different is that for a client that you work with collaboratively from court? Can you talk a little bit about the distinction?
NANCY HETRICK: Right. Well, it’s very, very different. And one of the things I think couples have to really keep in mind is attorneys and judges are not financial people. So when they’re being asked to make decisions about your finances, they don’t often understand all of the ramifications of what that judgment even be. And so I’ve seen some pretty scary things happen in courtrooms not because anybody was doing the wrong thing, but because they really didn’t even understand the financial complexities that they were being asked to make rulings on.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: Oh, yeah. I’ve actually had that moment in a collaborative case. Actually, a case that you were – I hadn’t yet worked with you and now we’ve had the pleasure of working together, but it was a different case. But the financial neutral was able to say, “You know what? We can take this $1,000 a month that somebody might be paying in spousal maintenance and we can either give it to the government or we can keep it in your family.” And that’s something you can do for clients, isn’t it?
NANCY HETRICK: Absolutely. My favorite thing in the world is creative settlements that let both of you keep more of your own money. And I do it over and over and over again. In fact, I love working with couples where I know that the investment they make in my services is going to pay off like 15-fold in the money that I’m going to save them in tax planning and making sure that they get to keep more of their own.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: And I love the way she says that, “Keep your own money.” As an attorney, one of my favorite things about the collaborative process is exactly that sentiment on a life-wide scale, if you will. You keep your own life as much as you possibly can from it. Your money is so central to your life; so are your children, so are your pets, so is your business, your house. There are all these things that are really hard to divide, there are high-stakes interests you have to continue to cooperate on after your divorce is done or after your probate or your civil matter is done.
And so as a lawyer, as a financial person – expert, sorry – we get to help people create their settlements that help them keep their life as much as they possibly can, constructed in the way they want it to be constructed. It’s so rewarding.
NANCY HETRICK: Yeah. One of my very favorite things is almost every single case at some point during the negotiations, one or both of the parties will say, “We can do that?” And I’ll be like, “Yes, you can do that.” And so we pull out all these wonderful, out-of-the-box kind of strategies that you would never otherwise even realize were available to you, and it can be very powerful.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: Absolutely, yeah. And one of the things that I love about collaborative that always surprises people is collaborative process is not this Kumbaya. We don’t sit around a fireplace and smoke s’mores or anything. I mean, we absolutely have to work really hard and we have to help people through some tough, emotional strategies and some tough, emotional moments where it’s like, “Wow, I can either be in court or I can be here.” And either one are hard.
But at the end, what is it that you see that difference from court? Because you’ve been through the court process and you’ve been through the collaborative process, and I have too. How does – what is the end like?
NANCY HETRICK: Yeah. I have actually heard many judges say that after a litigated trial, if both parties feel like they lose, then they know they did their job.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: I’ve heard that too.
NANCY HETRICK: Yep. And the flipside of that is collaborative, where I am absolutely convinced that there is a win-win scenario for every single divorce. And when our clients get to the end of their cases, they both feel like, “You know what? I can live with this. This is going to work.” It’s workable-workable. That’s the phrases is we like to use is “workable for each party.” And they both gave a little and they got a little and everybody walks out feeling like they have a good grip on how to move forward.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: That’s really true. I never see anyone walk out of the courtroom and hug the opposing party or hug the opposing party’s attorney or the judge. You’ll never get to hug the judge; they’re behind the bench. But in collaborative, they probably hug you, right?
NANCY HETRICK: Absolutely, absolutely. And it’s always both parties and they’re always so happy that I’ve let them know how to save so much money, and it’s usually in taxes and sometimes in other ways as well.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: Absolutely.
NANCY HETRICK: But just things you’re not otherwise going to be informed about in the traditional process.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: This is truly a concierge service. You think of concierge medicine where a doctor comes to your house. This is kind of the same concept, isn’t it?
NANCY HETRICK: It absolutely is. Bringing to the table exactly what you need to do a divorce in a kinder, gentler, much more affordable way.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: Much more peaceful for my clients. Yeah, thank you, Nancy, so much.
NANCY HETRICK: Thank you.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: You’re amazing. I’m so thrilled to have you on my team every time I get you on a collaborative team.
NANCY HETRICK: Thank you so much for having me.