Why should a financial professional be involved in my collaborative divorce?
By Daryl James, Attorney At Law; (303) 447-9688
This question comes up regularly. Having already hired a collaborative attorney, what is the value in the added expense of the neutral financial professional? The answer lies in that person’s expertise and neutrality.
While your lawyer might have almost as much knowledge in the financial effects of divorce, it’s likely that the financial professional knows more. Perhaps more important, the neutrality of the financial professional insures that the information and advice she conveys is not slanted toward one party, which insures that everyone in the room can hear and believe her. An added value is that she can help you prepare the financial disclosures needed for the divorce filing.
This can be a time-consuming task, and the financial professional helps both parties accomplish it in the most efficient way possible. Finally, many divorces involve tax and appraisal issues that necessarily involve a financial professional, so having someone on board streamlines the process.
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Divorce is an Emotional Event
By Jeannine Lee, Collaborative Divorce Facilitator 303-746-7000
If this is your first major loss, as divorce often is, the intensity of the emotions may take you by surprise. There isn’t much in life that prepares us for the divorce journey.
Many people think only of the legal aspects when considering divorce. How hard can that be? You file the papers, wait the allotted time, the judge signs the final orders, and you’re done, right? Sort of. It may seem like a legal process with some emotional components, but in actuality, divorce is much more an emotional experience with some legal aspects to it.
The Two Big Ones: Grief and Anger
Grief and anger are two powerful emotions present throughout the divorce process. They will show up intermittently throughout. In the beginning, one or the other will be stronger. Thankfully, they don’t show up with equal intensity at the same time. Working through the emotions to a healthy completion is important. The collaborative process assists, rather than exasperates such working.
Woven in and around anger and grief, depending on circumstances, are other major emotions such as loneliness, guilt, rejection, anxiety, shame, and fear, making for a difficult emotional soup. Working through these emotions brings relief. It can also bring discouragement when you find yourself looping back through emotions you thought you’d left behind. There is a dance or orchestration between emotions as healing takes place. It is not a linear process.
Emotions as Guides
Ultimately, in order to move on with our lives, we need to disengage from our former partner and our former life. Our emotions are both our guides and our gauge as to how we’re doing at this. We can’t handle experiencing all of the emotions at one time, so our psyche chooses the strongest emotion in any given moment to concentrate on. When that emotion is at a manageable level, it will move on to the next one that needs attention. They play off of each other throughout the divorce process, intensifying and calming as you work through them or as situations change.
Honor yourself as you turn your attention inward—your emotions need your attention now. You will honor yourself by acknowledging that this is happening, by knowing your needs and tending to them. It is not selfish to take care of yourself.
Anger, grief, your self-worth, and how much you’ve disengaged from your former partner and are creating your new life are all linked together. This offers a good gauge for progress in your process. It is unfortunate but true that you just have to be with your emotions for a time. They do eventually settle. Having a collaborative facilitator involved in your process helps you understand what is normal, how to present your best self, and offers support as you navigate this very difficult time in your life.
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Your collaborative attorney provides you with personal and specific legal advice as he or she would in any divorce. The end goal of collaborative divorce is meeting the ongoing needs of you, your spouse, and your children. Your collaborative attorney keeps those end goals in mind throughout the needs-based negotiations, which provides a win-win, rather than a I win-you lose result, which is the common outcome of traditional litigation.
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The divorce settlement will, in part, determine your financial well-being for many years to come. The guidance of a financial specialist will help protect your and your family’s interests. Reviewing all assets and incomes, the financial specialist will assist you in analyzing viable financial options for your future.
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Divorce is far more than a legal proceeding. Divorce is a major life transition that can wreak havoc on your emotions and your ability to make wise legal and financial decisions. A key professional on the collaborative team is the Collaborative Divorce Facilitator (CDF) who provides support and guidance to manage the pain and strain of transitioning your relationship, while focusing on your goals for the present and the future. Read More.
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Children may suffer most from divorce and be least able to understand and express their feelings. Communication with parents may be difficult, if not impossible. The child specialist, an individual skilled in understanding children, will work with you and your spouse (and directly with your children if you think it necessary) to help you determine what is in your children’s best interests for the future.