Lawyer, Advisor, Counsellor?
Divorce is usually regarded as the second-most stressful life event, second only to the death of a loved one. It is a time of immense uncertainty, confusion, and anxiety. These concerns can take numerous forms, ranging from legal to financial, to emotional.
As a divorce lawyer, clients frequently come to me expecting me to have all of the answers to the blend of worries they are experiencing. While that is understandable (after all, I deal with people going through relationship breakdowns on a daily basis), family lawyers are not equipped to deal with all of these concerns. In reality, no professional is.
That is why I often recommend that clients work with not just with a lawyer, but also with a financial advisor and a divorce coach to form a team dedicated to helping them navigate their divorce.
How can each professional help someone going through a divorce?
A lawyer’s focus will be on the divorce process itself, mainly on untangling a client’s financial position and reaching a settlement. A lawyer will advise on the best process for each individual – whether dealing with things out of court directly through solicitors, in mediation or arbitration, or by making a court application – and then following through that process, from financial disclosure and analysis of the parties’ current position to providing advice on how the legal framework would be applied to their case and attempting to reach a settlement.
A financial advisor can assist a client in preparing their financial disclosure so that information is presented in a clear and understandable manner. As the negotiations progress, they will consider the real-world impact of a proposed settlement, modelling how someone’s asset or income position may change over time, weighing the benefits and drawbacks of retaining certain assets, and determining whether the likely settlement will allow the client to live the lifestyle they wish.
A divorce coach will guide a client through the emotional roller coaster that is relationship breakdown, helping them to process the end of the relationship and move on through the divorce and beyond in a healthy way while dealing with negative feelings that they will almost certainly be experiencing.
What are the benefits of a divorce team approach?
Getting advice from a variety of experts pays off. A client who can manage their emotions with the help of a divorce coach is more likely to make better, faster judgements during legal proceedings. This shift in perspective is likely to cut the time and expense of their financial conversations. When a financial advisor advises them that the settlement proposed by their spouse will meet their ongoing needs, those conversations can draw to a close. Alternatively, a client can recognise when to reject a seemingly appealing offer if they receive information that it will not satisfy their needs in the long run.
Does this triangular approach cost more?
While the thought of engaging not one but three professionals to help with a divorce – at a time when finances are already stretched – may not immediately sound attractive it can pay huge dividends in focussing minds and leaning on expertise. The returns on investment are huge.
Clients who are well-informed and emotionally stable make better decisions. Better judgements not only contribute to long-term financial health, but also allow for more efficient handling of issues. The upfront cost may be higher, but if it leads in a divorce being finalised six months sooner than it would otherwise be, not only are the legal costs likely to be lower, but the savings in stress and anxiety from ending things more quickly are incalculable.
Do divorce teams work for everyone?
The advantages apply to all clients, regardless of their position. My clients in high-value financial cases generally fall into two categories: those with financial acumen who are time-pressed due to work commitments and require advisors to assist them in making quick decisions while remaining focused on their day-to-day responsibilities, and spouses who have not dealt with finances during the marriage and are suddenly thrown headlong into a confusing world, having to make life-altering decisions at a time of great stress and personal difficulty. Whatever position you are in, the benefits of having the appropriate professional support are enormous.
What about after the settlement has been reached?
When a divorce is concluded, most clients may, understandably, want to move on from having regular contact with their lawyer. However, the continued support of a financial advisor is key where there are assets to manage. If a financial advisor has been involved throughout the divorce process, this can be a seamless transition, allowing the client to exit the divorce process more quickly and move on with their life.
Similarly, the end of the divorce does not mean an end to the emotions associated with the divorce. The continued support of a divorce coach can help clients to move on with confidence and co-parent with their ex-partner. At which point, it would be remiss of me not to mention that a client would then be strongly advised to return to their lawyer to discuss a Pre-Nuptial or Cohabitation Agreement.
Visit our Divorce Directory to find professionals who could help you form a divorce team.
Get in touch
For more information about divorce and financial settlements, please get in touch with our Client Care Team using the details below or make an online enquiry.