The Financial Neutral is most commonly hired by the couple, rather than one spouse or the other, to serve as a single neutral financial expert in a Collaborative Divorce. Often the divorce attorneys will give a list of names of Financial Neutrals suitable for their case to the divorcing couple.
To foster and preserve neutrality, the Financial Neutral is not permitted to provide any services to either client during or after the divorce, outside the scope of the divorce case. No investment sales or services, tax preparation or any other financial services may be provided.
The scope of the Financial Neutral's professional services for each case is determined by the collaborative attorneys and the clients.
The focus of the Financial Neutral's role is primarily informative and educational so the clients can make informed decisions about how to allocate their assets, liabilities and cash flow.
The Financial Neutral does not provide legal advice.
The Financial Neutral verifies each spouse's interests, goals and expectations that may impact the financial analysis.
Creates financial reports The Neutal Financial gathers all a couple's financial information and organizes it into 2 documents. One lists all the assets and liabilities of the couple and the other shows cash flows (all income - all expenses = bottom line). The goal is to have understandable documents that the clients can use to allocate their financial resources.
Budgets The Financial Neutral helps both spouses develop budgets that reflect both current and anticipated future expenses for each party and any children.
Education The Financial Neutral fills in any gaps, as needed, for both clients so they understand the important financial and tax issues such as maintenance, child support, property division alternatives, life and health insurance, debt reduction and retirement plan allocation options.
Financial Modeling At the clients and divorce attorneys' direction, the Neutral Financial creates scenarios of various maintenance, child support and property division alternatives. Then the clients may see the cash flow and net worth impact of these alternatives and choose the option that best meets their needs.
Coordination The Financial Neutral works with any other needed financial experts whose expertise may be needed for the case like business evaluators, pensions specialists, real estate appraisers or mortgage brokers.
Focus on Needs Instead of dueling financial experts focusing on separate positions and fighting, the Financial Neutral puts the focus on the needs of both clients. That helps to foster an atmosphere where creative solutions can be generated, instead of people digging in their heels.
Financial Expertise Even though divorce attorneys may have gained significant knowledge about finances, taxes and the IRS during their years of practice, they were trained as attorneys and spend the bulk of their professional hours addressing legal matters. A Financial Neutral's training and all of their billable hours are devoted all things financial. This is their expertise. Take advantage of it.
Quarterback any other Financial Experts Each profession has its own language and customary ways of getting things done. The Financial Neutral can serve as a translator and project manager so that clients and attorneys can feel confident that work is being done in an efficient way and that any reports are understandable.
To find a Financial Neutral in your area, go to The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals or look up your state's Collaborative Divorce Practice groups.