Full-Team Collaborative Practice: Diverse Expertise Provides Best Value

Working together as a team Collaborative Practice professionals can provide your family invaluable assistance. Members pictured (left to right): Shawn Weber, Meredith Lewis, Frann Setzer, Anna Janda, Anna Addleman." width="800" height="589" /> The San Diego "Divorce Options team (L to R): Shawn Weber, Meredith Lewis, Frann Setzer, Anna Janda, Anna Addleman.

by Shawn Weber, Certified Family Law Specialist
Weber Dispute Resolution, Solana Beach, California

Working together as a team Collaborative Practice professionals can provide your family invaluable assistance. Members pictured (left to right): Shawn Weber, Meredith Lewis, Frann Setzer, Anna Janda, Anna Addleman." width="800" height="589" /></a> The San Diego "Divorce Options team (L to R): Shawn Weber, Meredith Lewis, Frann Setzer, Anna Janda, Anna Addleman.

Working together as a team Collaborative Practice professionals can provide your family invaluable assistance. Members pictured (left to right): Shawn Weber, Meredith Lewis, Frann Setzer, Anna Janda, Anna Addleman.” width=”800″ height=”589″ /> The San Diego “Divorce Options team (L to R): Shawn Weber, Meredith Lewis, Frann Setzer, Anna Janda, Anna Addleman.

The Full-Team Collaborative Divorce Process

Collaborative Practice is an excellent way to resolve difficult disputes including issues surrounding divorce or separation. In a Collaborative Divorce, parties hire specially trained attorneys who enter inter into a written agreement with the parties th

CFLGSD member Shawn Weber is the new president of Collaborative Practice California.

CFLGSD member Shawn Weber is the new president of Collaborative Practice California.

at the attorneys will never go to court. In addition, the parties recruit mental health professionals

 

to act as coaches for each of the parties to help with the difficult emotions in the case. They hire a neutral financial specialist to help with the money issues and a child specialist to serve as a voice for the children. If the case veers towards litigation, the team withdraws.

By removing the specter of court, parties can focus on positive solutions instead of adversarial bickering. Collaborative Practice is a great way to get a divorce without wasting the family nest egg and without screwing up the kids.

It’s a great process and provides maximum support to the parties from a broad range of professional perspectives. However, the most frequent concern I hear from clients and professionals when contemplating a collaborative process involves the cost. While collaborative divorce is certainly less expensive than litigation, it can be more expensive than some other out-of-court options. Furthermore, the more experts and professionals are involved, the more complicated and challenging it can be to manage all the moving parts.

 

Collaborative Practice Saves Families Money with Specialization

The complaint about the complexity and cost of a full team misses the most important point about why Collaborative Practice is so great. In a full-team Collaborative Divorce, the parties achieve terrific economies of scale through specialization. This means that you save money and get better value from your process because you are paying the best people for the best work for the best price.

For example, most lawyers went to law school because they were not math majors. You probably don’t want to have a lawyer as your financial specialist. However, attorneys tend to have then highest billing rates. So why would you pay the most expensive person to not do the best work when it comes to financial analysis? That’s where the financial specialist comes in. She has specific expertise in divorce finances and bills the appropriate market billing rate for her services. Instead of wasting money with the attorney to get bad financial advice, use the financial specialist to get better information for less money. That’s a win-win.

Similarly, when I did litigation, clients who were rightfully stressed out about how to interact with their estranged spouse would try to use me as a mental health professional. But, newsflash, I am not a mental health professional and am not qualified to provide that type of work. Although I am good at working with people, nothing replaces that expertise and knowledge of a trained mental health professional when dealing with the emotions of divorce.

Rather than paying the attorney to do subpar mental health work, you hire the mental health professional for his expertise in providing the best coaching or child specialist service for the best price. Again, that’s value to you and to your family. What’s more, you get a level of diverse professional support that is simply not available in any other process. Your kids and your finances will thank you.

This is refreshing for the lawyer, because now she can do what she does best: the legal work. Use the lawyer to understand the law and get the advice you need to enter a valid, enforceable and informed agreement. Because the lawyer is in the room and on your side, you know you have a settlement minded attorney who’s got your back at the negotiation table.

Diversity Provides Strength in Collaborative Practice

Remember, the great strength of Collaborative Practice is the diversity of professionals. The very fact that you have a full team of professionals looking at your case from diverse backgrounds and professional specialties gives your family the best chance of transitioning with the best possible information and support for the very best value. It protects your kids, your pocketbook and your dignity.

 

Seven Steps to Divorce Your Finances from Your Ex

Don't forget to tie up financial matters after you divorce. Our checklist will help.
Don't forget to tie up financial matters after you divorce. Our checklist will help.

Don’t forget to tie up financial matters after you divorce. Our checklist will help.

by Ginita Wall, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)

Even in the best of circumstances, a divorce is a long, arduous, and emotional task. As soon as you finalize the divorce, you might just want to curl up in bed for a few weeks and watch every single thing on Netflix. Not so fast! Now that you and your ex have uncoupled your married lives, it’s time to uncouple your financial ones at well. As you begin to walk your own path, you must ensure that you are now solely in control of your finances, including your bills, insurance policies, and estate planning documents. Pause that Netflix show, you have some financial divorcing to do!

Ginita Wall Divorce Financial advice San Diego 858-472-4022

Ginita Wall

  1. Separate Your Bank Accounts and Open Your Own

If you and your spouse held joint bank accounts, it is time to close those suckers out and open your own accounts. This will allow you to control your own money and will help you both avoid inequities in spending within the shared account.

  1. Re-Route Direct Deposits and Direct Bill Pay

Now that you have your very own checking and/or savings accounts (I recommend both), you need to make sure that your automated deposits and bill pay go to the right place. You are going to be mighty unhappy if your next paycheck tries to go into the joint account you just closed, and your electric company won’t appreciate trying to pull your monthly payment from a non-existent account. Make a list of all the automatic payments that go into and out of your joint accounts and then make sure to re-route the ones you are responsible for.

  1. Deactivate Joint Credit Cards

It might be tempting to put some last-minute charges on a shared credit card, but it is best to resist. Instead, open new credit cards in your own name first and then work with your spouse to close down all your shared cards. You two will need to work together if your shared cards have a balance. Most credit card companies allow you to transfer part or all of a card’s balance to a new account, and many actually offer special promotions with low or zero introductory interest rates on transferred balances. As with your online accounts, make sure you re-route any automatic payments from your old credit cards to your new ones.

  1. Remove Your Ex from Your Insurance Policies

Unless your divorce agreement provides otherwise, it’s time to boot your ex off of your health insurance policy, car insurance policy, and renter’s insurance. Make sure to let him or her know what you are doing so he isn’t surprised to learn he doesn’t have insurance after a car accident. If you are on your ex-spouse’s insurance policies, don’t bet on him paying your premiums unless that was part of your settlement. Time to start shopping for your own insurance policies. (Learn about how to Maintain Your Health Insurance After Divorce).

  1. Make Sure Your Ex Isn’t Your Beneficiary

During the good days of your marriage, you probably made your ex-spouse the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, your retirement accounts, the trust that holds your inheritance, and perhaps your entire personal estate. Unless you two somehow managed to stay best friends, chances are you don’t want him to benefit financially from your demise. Schedule some time in the near future to remove him as your beneficiary from these documents. (Learn more about Estate Planning for Women).

  1. Remove Your Ex From the Title of Your Assets

Is your spouse listed on your car title or the deed to your house or other property? If you received these items as part of the divorce settlement, you’ll want to make sure that yours is the only name on those important documents. Transfer your vehicle title to your name and record an Interspousal Transfer Deed to remove your spouse from the house deed once all other ownership arrangements have been made (for example, you’ve paid him to buy him out his share of the home).

  1. Create a New Will

One of the most important things you need to do now is make sure that your financial legacy goes to the right people in your life. If your ex-spouse is the prime beneficiary of your will or is listed as your agent in your durable power of attorney, you’ll likely want to update both of these documents. This might mean giving your estate planning attorney a call or filling out new online templates.

Yes, tying up all of these loose ends is a lot of work, but it is also worth the hassle. Financially divorcing your spouse after your official divorce will put you on more solid financial ground and give you a clear path ahead as you begin to rebuild.

Learn Your Divorce Options at August 6 Workshop

Getting answers to your tough questions at the next Divorce Options workshop will help you weather the storm.

Popular free seminar offers resources and answers to your questions

(SAN DIEGO) – If you find yourself struggling to find answers for your difficult questions about divorce, attend our next free Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego Divorce Options workshop.

The next Divorce Options seminary in San Diego takes place on Saturday, August 6, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the Scripps Ranch Civic Association Community Center, 11885 Cypress Canyon Road (corner of Scripps Poway Parkway and Cypress Canyon, two miles east of Interstate 15).

This free workshop takes place the first Saturday of every month. Our goal is helping people in a diverse range of situations. Divorce is difficult and stressful even under the best of circumstances. It can be especially hard if you have children or economic difficulties. Divorce affects people from all walks of life, and no two situations are alike.

We know from experience it IS possible despite challenges to preserve the emotional and financial resources of the family while respecting everyone’s needs during a divorce.

For additional information or to RSVP, call Divorce Options at (858) 472-4022 or email at sandiegodivorceoptions@gmail.com

Led by volunteer attorneys, financial specialists, and mental health professionals who are members of the Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego, the workshop will cover the full range of choices couples have as they contemplate divorce, focusing on the non-adversarial, out-of-court options.

Getting answers to your tough questions at the next Divorce Options workshop will help you weather the storm.

Getting answers to your tough questions at the next Divorce Options workshop will help you weather the storm.

Divorce Options provides unbiased information about self-representation, mediation, collaborative divorce, and litigated divorce. The workshop deals with the legal, financial, family and personal issues of divorce in an informational and compassionate small group setting. There is NO solicitation of business.

The Divorce Options program welcomes anyone thinking about divorce or other relationship transitions including co-habitating couples with children or LGBT couples looking for a process aware and respectful of their unique needs. Divorce Options offers useful information adaptable to a wide variety of family circumstances.

Topics include:

  • Litigation, mediation and collaboration – the risks and the benefits of each process
  • Legal, financial, psychological and social issues of divorce
  • How to talk about divorce with your children
  • Guidance from divorce experts

By learning about divorce and the different process options available you can maximize your ability to make good decisions during the difficult and challenging time. Divorce Options is a workshop designed to help couples take the next step, no matter where they are in the process. It identifies strategies to help you stay out of court, and helps you identify the social, emotional, legal, and financial issues that are most pressing for you.

About the Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego

CFLG San Diego’s members work together to learn, practice, and promote collaborative processes for problem solving and the peaceful resolution of family law issues, with an eye toward preserving the emotional, as well as the financial, assets of the family. Its goal is to transform the resolution of family law issues through respectful, collaborative processes that protect the integrity and health of family relationships and eliminate the need for families to resort to litigation.

CFLG is online at www.collaborativefamilylawsandiego.com, and LinkedIn.