In addition to your collaborative attorneys, your Collaborative Divorce team typically will include a specifically trained financial professional called a Financial Neutral. This financial team member helps build budgets and advises on how best to minimize the loss that may naturally occur when dividing wealth. Developing realistic household budgets and working on projections of future expenses and long-term needs are very important to addressing how financially sound both parties can expect to be after the divorce is final.
From the outset, all participants (clients, attorneys, and the Financial Neutral) address in an open and transparent way the financial short-term and long-term needs and goals of each of the parties (and each of the parties’ children, if applicable). Financial Neutrals further aid the team in brainstorming and analyzing financial solutions which show how the assignment of different kinds of assets (cash, retirement plans, real estate) can best accomplish the goal of financial stability of each person and his/her household after divorce.
The team members discuss in an open and transparent way the “budget” for the divorce — how much loss in value in your assets can you reasonably anticipate if you are going to fight over value or over who deserves or doesn’t deserve a particular asset. It is key to remember that here in Illinois (as in some other jurisdictions) that “division of marital property (assets) is without regard to marital misconduct in just proportions considering various factors”. Those factors, such as, duration of marriage, age, health, and ability to support oneself after the divorce, are generally readily ascertainable by the parties. In addressing any division of assets or capital, it is always appropriate to do cost/benefit analyses of different options. The collaborative team is there to help you develop options which work best for the entire family’s future. This type of long-range “big picture” planning is always appropriate and wise, no matter how many assets there are to divide.
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