A major component of my firm’s philosophy is that helping people secure good information and professional guidance will empower them to make good decisions. A client’s team incorporates, where necessary, a pool of professionals with a wide range of experience and expertise who collaborate with us to gather information and analyze options. Pulling in professionals early on in the process serves you well because we can be more strategic in settlement discussions by allowing clients to form realistic expectations and future plans. Case results are positively impacted when utilizing reliable information, not speculation about whether something can be done or how much something will cost. We want you to know the answers to important questions so you can make the most informed decisions. Working with professionals is a key component in making those informed decisions:
- Real Estate Agents: Having a team member that knows the market when assessing a home’s value guides people into making informed decisions about whether to buy, sell or keep their real estate. (Link to article from Essam Elsafy)
- Bankers: Refinancing a loan or securing a new one can be confusing and intimidating. Getting feedback from a potential lender early on allows people to make realistic decisions about whether they can keep their home (or other assets), a critical element in the planning process of a divorce. For example, if someone really wants to keep their home post-divorce but will not be able to refinance due to the debt to income ratio, how could debts be allocated in a different manner to achieve that objective? Structuring support in a particular manner might be the best way to achieve that objective.
- Accountants/Financial Specialists: These professionals will advise you as to how best to structure your settlement so that assets are divided to minimize tax consequences at the time of divorce and going forward. They can provide you with a range of options to choose from that will meet both your short- and long-term goals.
- Child Specialists: A child specialist is often used as a tool in the collaborative process, but they can also be instrumental in helping parents formulate a parenting plan in a traditional divorce process as well. Because they come to the table with a unique expertise focused on child development and child behavior, a child specialist can be particularly effective at assisting parents in developing a parenting plan for their children. Unlike a mediator, a child specialist will frequently meet with children. In so doing, the child specialist can skillfully allow a child’s voice to be heard and be part of the discussion when it comes time for their parents to make plans for their future. Additionally, a child specialist can help parties prepare individualized plans for each child that takes into consideration the temperament and special needs of that child.
- Therapists: These mental health professionals and divorce coaches, working hand-hand, provide unbiased assistance, which is invaluable, so emotions aren’t driving your case. Fear, anger and resentment are roadblocks to achieving an amicable and cost-effective divorce. A client’s therapist provides guidance on how to best help manage those emotions, so they don’t take over the case. Assistance with processing feelings is extremely important during the divorce process and beyond. Last, managing conflict and effective co-parenting through effective communication with your former spouse is vitally important. A therapist will help clients develop strategies and implement techniques for improved communication.
- Appellate attorneys: When needed, these outside attorneys provide valuable legal research which helps focus the litigation and discovery and ultimately the entire strategy of the case.
- Financial advisors: For those clients who have not managed or been significantly involved in the management of finances during their marriage it may require a learning curve. The guidance of a good financial advisor is an important ingredient during and post-divorce. Since there is frequently a liquidity event in a divorce (i.e. the house is sold, or the retirement assets are divided), what to do with the funds going forward requires guidance. Important decisions need to be made about how to invest funds, whether to pay for college, or how to rebuild financial stability. Having an experienced financial advisor on the team early on as the divorce unfolds allows us (client and attorney) to be strategic in the case. It doesn’t pay to litigate for who keeps the house if there aren’t enough resources for either party to pay for the house post-divorce. Paying for a child’s college education is an important objective for some but once the resources have been cut in half, is it still feasible? Are there options such as financial aid that should be considered? How can we make sure that, post -divorce, there is a level of cooperation on these issues? Solid planning with the help of a qualified financial advisor and your attorney can answer these questions.
- Insurance agents: Life insurance is important in divorce cases to protect children and sometimes a former spouse in the event of an untimely death. But it can be costly so understanding the options available will provide the important information necessary so good decisions can be made. We can help you select an agent that can lay out the options and then help you select a plan that works best for your situation.
Good information allows people to make good decisions. As your attorney, having a large pool of professionals to collaborate with will help us make the right decisions and achieve the best outcome for you.