Well Sarah I get a number of questions about assets and resources. But one of the questions I receive when a client comes to me and perhaps did not come by way of a referral by their attorney, is do I need an attorney? And in every situation I advise them that they should seek the help of an attorney; one that focuses on family law specifically. There are long term consequences that relate to their money, and their property, and their family and this is not a time to try to go it alone. As it relates to property, I like to ensure that nothing is overlooked. So, we start from a firm understanding of a client’s financial picture, looking at their retirement assets, their marital home, a discussion about what is marital versus separate property and then we get a firm understanding of their current budget and what it may look like after the divorce is final. I work with them to create a new budget. Maybe they’re going to need to have new expenses, child care as an example if one party is going back to work.
I like to review what I call a lifestyle analysis and determine what it is they need to meet their expenses on a day to day basis but also longer term, how will they save for retirement? What will they do differently with their finances now that assets and the family are divided? Finally we’ll take a look at support and the impact of spousal support on the situation, the length of support, the amount of support and the impact that’s going to have on the family’s finances.
Dianne Nolin is a CFP with over 25 years of experience, and Sarah Schuler is an experienced practitioner of many aspects of family law in the Northern Virginia area.