If you are considering divorce, there are several pathways to get there.
Before getting my Certified Divorce Financial Analyst designation, I assumed that the first step to divorce was hiring an attorney – even if the spouses were hoping to be amicable.
I now know that couldn’t be further from the truth, and just like with anything else, knowledge and understanding your options is power. You and your spouse have complete control over the direction of your divorce as long as you choose to keep it.
This is why I recommend an initial consultation with a CDFA professional before you hire or start interviewing attorneys. Depending on your situation, you may want to hire different professionals for the legal, emotional, and financial aspects of your divorce to make sure you are getting the best information at all times. Having the right team beside you can completely change your divorce experience for the better.
For the emotional side, a family therapist or a Certified Divorce Coach can help with your emotional divorce, communications with your spouse, and your continued forward progress. Make sure to look for appropriate education and certifications when choosing the right professional for you.
If you have retirement accounts that started before your marriage, own property, you or your spouse have stock options or awards, or other confusing things, then make sure you understand that these are financial complexities that most attorneys are not experts in or want to deal with. This is where having a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst on your team becomes a critical part of your ability to make good and informed financial decisions for your future.
If you and your spouse can communicate effectively and you want to maintain as much control of your divorce process as possible, but need help with coming to agreement on some topics, mediation is likely for you. Mediation allows you to continue a private divorce process with the flexibility to construct creative settlement agreements.
With that said, you know your spouse better than anyone else, and if you know that your divorce is going to be high-conflict, then hiring an attorney who will advocate for you through litigation is likely your best option. Just understand that anything left for the judge to decide is much more likely to result in a lose-lose.
You may need all of these professionals, or just one or two. Speak with a CDFA today to help understand the best options for you based on your unique situation and goals.