Many Divorce Mediations, as well as traditional adversary cases and adversary litigation cases include complex financial issues that are often too complex for the divorce attorney to comfortably go it alone to address such complexities.
Examples of these issues include those where one spouse’s pension or other retirement plan is made up of both pre-marriage (sole and separate) contributions and marital contributions. This is not as simple as ascertaining the value of the plan or account at the time of marriage and assuming the rest would be marital property. What about the gain in the whole of the plan or account that is attributed to the growth of the pre-marital sole and separate property.
Another example is how to ascertain for one or both clients the long range viability of their share of the assets and whether there will be enough to see them through until their death. For this a financial planner is key to the mediation process and can help shape a financial settlement so it meets the long-term needs of both parties.
Or, how to devise a spousal maintenance amount and duration taking into consideration each party’s differing expenses and the tax consequences for each of the spousal maintenance payment.
Or, how to equalize and offset accounts made up of post-tax dollars and those made up of pre-tax dollars, essentially apples and oranges for tax reasons.
These are just some of the issues making it important in Divorce Mediations to use the service of an allied financial professional to help craft the most beneficial financial settlement for both parties. While in adversary and litigated cases both sides use their own individual financial professional who often are at war with each other in representing different clients.
The Divorce Mediator as a matter of routine will use the services of either a neutral Financial Planner or a neutral Divorce Financial Specialist, or ideally the same person with both sets of professional skills, to aid in the mediation process.