"What role does the financial advisor play in the Collaborative Divorce model? Do we need to involve one in our divorce?"
Unlike in a traditional divorce case, where each spouse may hire and pay for his or her own financial advisor to work exclusively with that party, a financial professional in a Collaborative Divorce is completely neutral. The professional's job here is to evaluate both parties' assets and income without bias, and to analyze the overall financial picture, in order to help create a division of assets and, if relevant, a support-payment plan that works best for both sides.
The neutral perspective is essential to the collaborative process: the parties are often more likely to listen to and heed by the suggestions of a professional who doesn't take sides than similar suggestions from one of the lawyers. The neutrality of the financial advisor also helps to minimize the influence of the parties' emotions on the settlement, in order to analyze the situation objectively.
Among other services, the financial professional in a Collaborative Divorce helps both parties to gather and organize all the relevant financial information regarding the marital assets and liabilities and to understand what the main financial issues of the divorce are. He or she also develops future projections of the parties' incomes and expenses, and of the values of the marital property and other assets, based on present calculations. Through this, the financial professional can provide practical and realistic options for dividing the marital estate and (when necessary) creating a support plan, leading to a financial resolution that both spouses can live with after the divorce.
Since every divorce has some level of financial issues, using a neutral financial advisor in your Collaborative Divorce is highly recommended. The financial professional has the expertise you need to make important decisions about your divorce settlement as you and your spouse make the transition from one to two households.