Are you wondering how to navigate the A to Z of divorce? Have you heard terms like “forensic accountant” and “parenting plan coordinator” but aren’t really sure what these people do and if you need one? Here’s a guide to assembling your very own “divorce dream team” to guide you through the complex process of divorce.
Family law attorney. Think of your family law attorney like your divorce team captain. He or she will create a strategy for you to guide you through every step of the divorce legal process, from filing for divorce to sending your divorce agreement to court to be finalized. The trend today is for mediation or collaborative divorce – settling out of court. When you interview attorneys, ask them to explain the different divorce processes, and which one might be right for you.
Divorce Therapist. It’s essential to have a clear head when making decisions that will impact you and your kids for the rest of your lives. If you feel depressed, anxious, angry, or overwhelmed, a therapist who specializes in divorce may be a good addition to your team. Your therapist will help you manage your emotional reactivity and minimize conflict with your ex. Taking care of your mental health will not only make you feel better – it will make your divorce better. If you aren’t sure who to see, ask your family law attorney for a referral.
Forensic Accountant. A forensic accountant is a CPA trained in discovering and analyzing financial information that may be used in court. If you have a complex estate, run a business together, or suspect that your spouse may be hiding assets, a forensic accountant can navigate these complicated financial issues, including compiling a lifestyle analysis. A forensic accountant will also help your attorney set a figure for spousal and child support.
Parenting Coordinator. A parenting plan coordinator is usually a licensed therapist and/or child expert who can help you determine what custody arrangement and visitation schedule best suits your children, and help you troubleshoot misunderstandings and build better co-parent communication skills. The court may appoint a parenting coordinator at any time during your divorce or or custody matter. A parenting coordinator can also help you resolve post-divorce parenting disagreements to keep you from going to court.
Financial Expert. A financial expert such as a wealth advisor can help you avoid pitfalls, i.e., overlooking assets or keeping the house when you can’t afford to and can you use divorce as a strategic planning tool. This professional will also help you compile necessary documents, understand tax implications of divorce, budget properly, and re-structure your retirement plan as a single person.
Divorce Coach. A divorce coach is a licensed therapist or other professional who is there to help you navigate post-divorce personal issues, such as co-parenting, money management, re-entry into the job market, and adjusting to life as a single person.
You may not need all of these professionals on your team. But it’s good to know that when you need an extra assist, you can gather around you the emotional and practical support you need to make the best choices available to you.
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