Lisa Decker is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst in Georgia and the CEO and Founder of “Divorce Money Matters” and “Divorce Town USA.”
She was recently featured on Rosalind Sedacca’s podcast entitled, “Fund YOUR child’s education, not your attorney’s child’s education.”
Decker suggests that potential divorce clients consider the following questions:
1. What are different ways to get divorced and how can these affect children?
2. How can you make the best decisions overall for your family, my finances and my future?
3. Are there different financial preparations for different stages of divorce?
4. How divorce financial planning and college financial aid planning can work in tandem to possibly help children make the most of any aid available to them?
She warns potential divorce clients that if they do not educate themselves on how to be a proactive partner, not just a participant, in their divorce, then they may be led astray by the process and the professionals in their case. Most divorces come down to the children and the finances, she says. While some cases need a full trial with discovery, including depositions, written interrogatories, and requests for production and inspection of documents, hearings and trials, she says that clients who educate themselves BEFORE they enter into their divorce, will likely have much more control over their case. She says “looking at the end game from the beginning” can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Having solid goals and superior guidance is critical.
Decker says clients need a “three-legged stool of support: counselors, financial professionals and legal professionals.”
By using these professionals specialties, she contends that you better contain your expenses because you have a specialist in each area that you need assistance. She recommends getting a consultation with an attorney early on, well before you are ready to file for divorce, so that you can be prepared from the start, can save you substantially in the long run.
Decker says if you are contemplating divorce, the best way to get prepared is to gather information on your assets, your liabilities, your income and your expenses. She suggests that you put this information on a flash drive or on the cloud to begin preparing and update it on an ongoing basis. In addition to gathering this current information, it is important to have a plan for your post-divorce income and expense and your overall financial future. Developing a financial plan for your post-divorce future can be accomplished DURING your divorce, if you use a process than is not just looking toward ending the divorce but also planning for your financial future.
She says be aware of what you want from your professionals and look for professionals that will meet your interests and needs in the process of restructuring your family.
Do you want a lawyer who leans toward litigation as their preference in handling cases? Or do you want an attorney that believes in considering litigation only as a last resort? Some cases do need the litigation process, but most do not. Most cases can be amicably resolved through the Collaborative Process if you have trained and experience Collaborative Professionals.
In the Collaborative Divorce Process, most cases include the financial and emotional supporting roles, as Decker recommends. Much of the work of gathering and assimilating the financial information can be done without the lawyers’ time by the financial professionals (who have a substantially lower rate than the lawyers) and in most states the parenting plan decisions can be successfully considered and worked through with a counselor, who is trained in the Collaborative Process (again at a much lower rate than the attorneys’). Then, after the preparatory work is done with the supporting professionals, the clients and their other team members gather to review and work through any outstanding questions and dividing their estate, keeping in mind that every penny spent wastefully on fighting unnecessarily could be spent on their and their children’s further financial needs.
Carefully consider how you want to START and FINISH your divorce.
The fallout from a litigated, or court resolved, divorce, is particularly sad, because the parties/clients and their children and extended families and friends will all suffer from the unresolved conflict that that can last for years. lThe Collaborative Divorce process offers a process that lays the foundation to end the marriage in a healthy and compassionate way and enables the clients to have closure to their relationship that will enable the parties and their children to move forward in a healthy way. If you or anyone you know must go through a divorce, please ask them to explore the option of Collaborative Divorce.please ask them to explore the option of Collaborative Divorce.