As a financial planner, I participate in many different types of workshops, including for divorce. Due to the pandemic, these days they are usually webinars. Divorce is no exception. Should you suggest to your spouse that they should join you in a divorce workshop? Or do you want to keep the information that you got in a divorce workshop to yourself?
As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, I often answer complicated questions with “it depends.” However, for this question, I will just say, “Heck, yes, bring him (or her) along!” People go to these workshops to learn how to get started with divorce. In the workshops that I run with Vesta divorce professionals, we equip attendees with the financial, emotional and legal information to help them make the right decisions about their marriage and their lives.
I recently recommended to a Vesta (opens in new tab) divorce workshop attendee that she come back to more workshops and bring her husband along. As it happens, they are still talking, and my workshops are still Zooming. So, she might be able to get him there.
A Divorce Workshop Can Get You on the Same Page
The primary benefit of bringing your spouse to a divorce workshop is that you will start to get him (or her) on the same level of understanding about divorce issues.
The first step is understanding that divorce is emotionally difficult to negotiate for both sides. It is even more challenging if the two sides start from different vantage points. Just remember how you felt the last time you dealt with someone with a completely different perspective. For example, think of the last time you tried to persuade your toddler to eat his or her vegetables.
You and your spouse cannot have all your questions answered in one workshop or a dozen. Divorce is way too complex for that. But you will both learn something. And most importantly, you will both hear the same information and may learn the same thing. And that can form the basis for a productive negotiation and path forward.
You Can Get Some Valuable Guidance
If you and your spouse do go to the same divorce workshop, take it a step further and ask the questions on the points you disagree about. At the workshop, you will get a neutral expert opinion that may be helpful. Some of the issues you could get some clarity on:
- How to achieve financial success after divorce.
- Planning for retirement with a lot fewer assets.
- Whether you can or should keep your inheritance as separate property.
- The challenge of introducing the “D” word to the kids.
- The difficulties of comparing pensions to other assets in order to divide them up fairly.
- The tax consequences.
- The potential for a creative solution.
It doesn’t matter what the areas of disagreement are. You will both hear the same answer and have a starting point to move forward.
In war, you want to keep to yourself all the advantages that you can. Divorce may be war, but it is different in at least one respect: it pays to make sure that your spouse is as informed as you are, because that reduces your legal bills and gets you closer to the finish line faster.
Heck, it is also worth it to find out that your position might be incorrect. That too can form the basis for moving on.
You should note that what you hear in a divorce workshop can be great information, but it is not “advice.” Because every situation is unique, you will have to go back to a professional for objective advice. However, all journeys start with one step forward. Getting on the same page can be that important first step.
Chris Chen CFP® CDFA is the founder of Insight Financial Strategists LLC (opens in new tab), a fee-only investment advisory firm in Newton, Mass. He specializes in retirement planning and divorce financial planning for professionals and business owners. Chris is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). He is on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation.
This Week in Cannabis Investing: Safe Banking Act in Focus During Lame-Duck Session
Marijuana advocates are hoping the outgoing Congress will take action on the Safe Banking Act, legislation that will improve cannabis companies' access to finance.
By Morgan Paxhia • Published
Kiplinger's Weekly Earnings Calendar
stocks Check out our earnings calendar for the upcoming week.
By Karee Venema • Published
Can You Build a Retirement Income Plan With Both Risk and Reliability?
Two strategies for making retirement savings last — probability-based income planning and guaranteed income planning — can help ensure you have what you need in your golden years, but which is right for you?
By Scott M. Dougan, RFC, Investment Adviser • Published
5 Financial Wellness Tips to Help Weather the Winter
You can regain some control over today’s money pressures by exploring your employer's financial support options and benefits, making plans to save and taking other simple actions.
By Aaron Harding, CFP® • Published
10 Common Investing Mistakes That Can Easily Be Avoided
Some of these missteps might be a given when you’re starting out. A financial adviser offers tips on how to stay on track for years to come.
By Vincent Birardi, CFP®, AIF®, MBA • Published
I'm a New Widow. Who Are the Experts I Should Consult?
A support network of experts who can help a new widow can be just as important as your personal support network at such a difficult time.
By Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA®, CES™ • Published
Is Your Money Really Working for You? A Math Lesson in Rates of Return
Getting a high average rate of return does not necessarily equate to actual money in our pocket. A personal finance expert explains why math doesn’t equal money.
By Kyle Winkfield • Published
What’s Standing in the Way of Your Successful ‘Money Mindset’?
Many of us have common biases that keep us from making the best financial, and other, decisions. Knowing what they are and addressing them can help us set a new path forward.
By Ali Swart, CFP®, MBA • Published
Getting Ready for Retirement? We Explain Key Elements and Options
Retirement savings are just one component of your financial profile once you hit your golden years.
By Cory Chapman, Investment Adviser Representative • Published
3 Deadly Sins of Delaware Statutory Trusts
DSTs can be highly attractive to real estate investors, but it’s imperative to temper expectations and consider the big picture before diving in.
By Daniel Goodwin • Published