Certified Financial Planners: An Alternative to Divorce for Financial Reasons
Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) are useful for a variety of reasons before, during and after a divorce. What you may not be aware of is that CFPs can also help you stave off a divorce that might be initiated largely by your disagreements regarding money. If money is a leading cause for divorce, and you are going to have to work out money issues anyway if you are separating or divorcing, doesn’t it make sense to seek the services of a CFP to untangle your money issues before going to a divorce attorney?
Hiring a CFP Before Considering Divorce
To find a CFP in your area, click on this link and research the CFP and their fees. You may want to consider only working with a “fee only” CFP who will not benefit from your investments. The average cost of a contested divorce is between $15,000 and $30,000. Does it make sense that working with a CFP and spending between $500-$1000 to get your “financial lay of the land” might be more cost effective for your family before hiring an attorney to file for divorce?
Planning for your Financial Future
The CFP can help you or the both of you understand your financial status—Who owns what? Who owes what? What does your financial future look like in the next 5 and 10 years? A CFP can help you both come up with a budget, and a financial plan for the future that may help you address the financial secrets you may be hiding from your spouse. Unknown credit card debt and excessive spending habits are very common reasons divorce attorneys have clients. A CFP may help you tackle the financial problems with a roadmap you can both can follow without harboring resentment against the other spouse. Consider going to a CFP once a year to get a monthly report on your financial health as a couple, and you may see things change for the better.
Who Can Help Me?
Be aware that there are some financial advisors who make money (commissions) from selling insurance or other financial policies to you, under the guise of “advising” you. Always ask, before you begin your search, whether the person is a certified financial planner (CFP) and whether the person charges a fee or a commission. The Financial Planning Association will help you to find someone who will charge a reasonable fee to help you assess your situation. There may be areas that you will work on, in collaboration with your CFP, such as getting a copy of your credit reports. Jean Chatzky, a nationally known financial journalist and speaker, has collected many useful sources that will get you started as you find out more about your (and your spouse’s) money.
What Will I Find Out?
An experienced CFP will be able to help you learn how much you are spending now and how to set a budget that will help you reserve and save. This professional will objectively help you understand what type of lifestyle you will have should you decide to divorce or remain married, based on your earnings and savings. Future plans for college education and retirement can be developed based on what resources you have, and what you need. Most importantly, a financial wakeup may nudge you into a discussion with your current (or soon-to-be ex-) spouse about what needs to occur.
Brusca Law Can Help You
Did you know that there are some states that require couples considering divorce to attend counseling before divorcing? Florida does not require this, but our statutes do allow the Court to order counseling with a marriage counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, minister, priest, rabbi or other person deemed qualified by the Court (which may include a CFP) and acceptable to the parties when one of the parties to a divorce does not believe the marriage is over. In the event you and your spouse decide to divorce, call Brusca Law to find out more about the divorce process in Florida and whether a CFP might be helpful for your family. Call us today for a free consultation at 407-501-6564, to learn more about your options.