It is not unusual for highly-rated attorneys in major markets to charge upwards of $800-1,000 per hour, and a financial advisor will likely bill at less than half of that.

Both attorneys and clients can benefit from the financial advisor taking on the role of educator. If the advisor is able to teach how assets are likely to relate in divorce, the client will be better equipped to make decisions regarding their financial future.

An Uncertain Environment
Ambiguity is the nature of divorce. It is a slow-moving process with many pieces that dramatically affect each other from the beginning to end, which makes it difficult to develop tangible plans far in advance. This can become a source of frustration for clients who want to nail down concrete plans as early as possible — particularly for men.

Clients may wish to start laying the groundwork for their future based on certain assumptions about what their wife or judge is going to do that may be unrealistic. Under those circumstances, it is the job of the financial advisor to avoid locking into deals that may not be plausible or in the client’s best interests.

When there is still a long road to finalizing the divorce, flexibility is often an advantage. The financial advisor should allow the process to progress far enough that there can be reasonable confidence that the client’s assumptions are correct.

It may be better to develop several alternative scenarios by interacting with both the attorney and the client to find out what the most probable scenarios and develop different plans based on the various likely possibilities.

Not every divorce will involve all three of these layers, but there will likely be at least one of these aspects that impacts the financial planning process.

Forecasting someone’s fiscal future is almost never a simple matter, and divorce significantly complicates this already multifaceted process.

However, the skills of an experienced financial advisor add a level of clarity to the chaos of divorce and helps bring a level of understanding and certainty to the client’s future after the ink on the decree has dried.

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 93 offices in 28 states have helped tens of thousands of men going through divorce.

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