The Neutral Financial Professional in the Collaborative Dissolution

By Schonauer Law on Apr 22, 2016 at 09:35 PM in Collaborative

The Neutral Financial Professional in the Collaborative Dissolution

The Team

In the Collaborative process each party is represented by an attorney.  Either one or two coaches are involved to represent and protect the collaborative process.  A mental health professional may also be part of the team to bring to the table the needs of involved children.  In the Collaborative dissolution, there is only one true neutral person, the Financial professional.  The Financial Neutral helps to alleviate power imbalances in the room by the very nature of being neutral.

The Financial Neutral

The role of the financial neutral is to gather all the financial data and to educate both the clients and the team so that all involved can fully understand the "financial pie" before they start to divide it. This is of paramount importance if one spouse has been less involved in the money during the marriage to level the playing field in terms of understanding their financial circumstances.

The Financial Neutral educates one or both spouses regarding their current financial situation to enable each spouse to collaborate with his/her spouse with the aid of his/her attorney and coach.  There are five basic components that go in to the financial planning process: cash flow, investments, tax planning, retirement planning and estate planning. The Financial Neutral may help provide a voice to a spouse who may not speak up in a meeting due to fear, guilt, perceived or real lack of knowledge, or concerns for spouse's feelings.

The Financial Neutral prepares the comprehensive legal, financial disclosures with all supporting documentation and report for everyone's use to review for completeness and as a resource for when it is time to collaborate and make agreements.  The financial side of a collaborative dissolution can provide substantial savings over a traditional divorce because the parties pay for one profession to prepare a comprehensive work product rather than have two attorneys' who are not financial experts to create and review the financial information of the parties.