The Collaborative Law Financial Specialist

The “financial specialist” is a neutral financial professional in the Collaborative Law process. This person assists the Collaborative Law team in optimizing a financial settlement for the clients. The financial specialist is particularly helpful because, as a neutral member of the team, he or she offers a purely objective view regarding the finances. Clients can be confident that the financial professional is working hard for both clients to maximize the financial terms of the settlement. 

Financial specialists come from different professional backgrounds. Typically financial specialists are CPA’s, Certified Divorce Financial Analysts or investment advisers. Although we usually think of financial neutrals in the divorce context, a financial neutral can also add value in business or estate matters, or other Collaborative cases that have a financial component.

Here are a few of the ways the Financial Specialist can assist the Collaborative team:

  • Provide a comprehensive, neutral perspective of the financial situation.
  • Educate clients regarding financial concepts.
  • Identify tax issues or other potential pit-falls.
  • Model long-term financial projections using sophisticated financial software.
  • Work directly with the clients to gather financial documentation (rather than having two attorneys work on it).
  • Suggest other options that the clients or attorneys may not have considered.

The financial professional may not need to attend all of the meetings. For example, he or she probably does not need to attend meetings that focus on parenting and child-related issues.

To summarize:

The Collaborative financial specialist adds value to the process both in terms of increased efficiency and specialized knowledge. With that said, not all cases need a financial professional. In a simple divorce, for example, the attorneys can often handle the financial aspects of the divorce without having to bring in a specialist.

Although the Collaborative Financial Specialist is often discussed in the context of Collaborative Law, this professional can also be used in the mediation process.

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