Future Income Analysis
Edward is a successful real estate investor who owns many high-value properties, while his wife, Elizabeth, worked as a stay-at-home mom for the majority of their marriage. However, after 15 years together, they decided that the spark was gone and it would be best for both of them to move on.

They were able to somewhat amicably decide how much money and what properties Elizabeth will receive in the divorce as well as a custody agreement, but they hit an impasse when it came to determining an alimony award for her.

Due to their difference in income and length of marriage, she is well within her rights to request alimony; but how much and for how long is up for debate.
While Elizabeth’s attorney primarily argued that the award should be significant due to their large income gap, Edward’s attorney suggested hiring a financial advisor to determine how much income Elizabeth could earn based on the assets she received in the property settlement.

As it turns out, the money and real estate received by Elizabeth, if properly invested, would generate a significant amount of income. The judge was convinced that only a short-term alimony award was necessary due to the financial advisor’s findings.

By seeking the opinion of a financial expert to help determine the income potential of the assets received by Elizabeth, Edward was able to avoid a potentially lengthy and substantial alimony obligation.

Avoiding Sentimental Attachments
After 12 years of marriage, Richard and Anne have decided their marriage is no longer working and it is time to separate. Anne, who worked part-time during the marriage, will receive primary custody of their children since she was the main caretaker while Richard worked full time.

Not wanting to leave the marital home where she has raised her children since birth, Anne fought hard to receive the property in the divorce. However, due to having no credit and very little to put down on a mortgage, she was only able to obtain a loan with an astronomically high interest rate.

Her attorney constantly urged her to seek a financial expert’s opinion on the economic feasibility of her staying in the home, but Anne figured she had everything in hand and the cost of consulting an advisor was needless.

She decided to take the loan, and despite putting in more hours and receiving a monthly child support and alimony check from Richard, she slowly sank beneath the crushing weight of the bad mortgage.

Clearly, a financial expert would have been able to calculate that her living expenses exceed her income and could have persuaded her to let the marital home go with raw figures that contradict her perceived ability to maintain the property.

Clinging to certain assets due to a sentimental attachment is all too common in divorce, and the outside opinion of a financial advisor can help a divorcing spouse realize that their connection to the asset is not realistic after a divorce is finalized.

These are just a few examples that demonstrate how a financial expert can positively influence the outcome of a divorce, though there are many other ways financial advisors can play a role in this complicated process.

Family law attorneys recognize the importance of financial advisors in this process and will typically welcome the input of an expert from the financial field. The challenge often becomes convincing the client of the advisor’s value in the long term weighed against the short-term costs.

Joseph E. Cordell is the principal partner of Cordell & Cordell, a domestic litigation firm focused on representing men in divorce. Since co-founding the firm with his wife, Yvonne, in 1990, he and his team of almost 200 attorneys spread across more than 100 offices in 30 states have helped tens of thousands of men going through divorce.

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