When in an abusive relationship, there are so many secrets and nothing is off the table. Your job is to help the victims start a new chapter.

FA: What was your most surprising discovery in reviewing your client’s finances?

CH: A client came to me two years post-divorce to discuss a financial plan for her. In reviewing what she received in the divorce, we learned that her portion of the portfolio mirrored her ex-husband’s investments and risk tolerance. The portfolio remained untouched for the two years. During that time, she lost 40 percent of her investments.

Sadly, this all could have been avoided if her advisor had consulted with her on her personal risk tolerance, long-term retirement goals and new post-divorce income and lifestyle.

This is a perfect example of why financial strategy during the divorce process matters. It can help both parties end one chapter and start anew as individuals with new goals, incomes and personalized strategies.

FA: How do you assist clients you determine to be victims of financial abuse?

CH: In my practice, the client is being referred to me as they are leaving an unhealthy relationship that often has an element of financial abuse. With so many individuals experiencing some form of financial abuse, I am always looking to help them further their personal knowledge and understanding of their financial future and options. My goal is to help them envision, plan and start to move forward, which goes well beyond the dollars and cents, and includes how they will be spending their lives.

FA: Does it make a difference whether a client is a divorced victim of financial abuse or a widowed victim of financial abuse?

CH: It doesn’t matter; abuse is abuse. The difference is in how you are able to move forward post-divorce/death.

In divorce, the process itself allows a method of disclosure and division of assets.