CFLGSD member Shawn Weber of Brave, Mack and Webers reports that collaborative divorce was recently featured as a good alternative to the expenses of going through the court system to get divorced.
Fox Business News recently interviewed attorney Randy Kessler, founding partner of law firm Kessler & Solomiany in Atlanta, Georgia, on tips for saving money on a divorce. Kessler recommends mediation or the collaborative process as the two cheapest ways to get a divorce.
The latest endorsement for collaborative divorce comes from Texas oilman and billionaire T. Boone Pickens. Pickens recently chose the collaborative divorce process for his fourth divorce from wife Madeleine. Pickens discussed his experience at a private event for the State Bar of Texas. In an interview with the Dallas Business Journal published on March 1, Pickens said “Collaborative law keeps everything on a high level, and everybody cooperating.”
Pickens was so pleased with the process and the cost savings, he donated $100,000 to the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas.
Pickens also said he didn’t plan on getting married a fifth time. Imagine that.
The issues surrounding a “Grey Divorce” – divorcing in your 50s, 60s, or later years – present many of the same issues that occur when divorcing at earlier ages.
However, the fact the divorce is happening later in life can present unique financial challenges. There is less time to financially recover from a divorce that happens late in one’s working career or in retirement.
It’s imperative that both spouses work together to openly evaluate and understand the potential financial impact of a gray divorce. This is where considering collaborative divorce can present distinct advantages.
A collaborative divorce, one in which the parties agree to work together with experts to problem solve outside the courts, can preserve financial and emotional resources while achieving a resolution that respects everyone’s needs.
One of those experts is a financial professional, who can help you evaluate common issues in the divorce process involving money.
Some of those common issues you may be facing in a gray divorce:
What happens to the marital home? Often one spouse is attached to the idea of remaining in the house. However, this may be an unrealistic dream given the financial realities of the divorce.
What will future income flows look like from such sources as pension plans, Social Security, and investment income?
Prior to retirement, is this income level adequate for both spouses? Will these income flows be adequate at the desired retirement age, or should one consider working longer before retirement?
How are assets like pensions, investments, real property, business interests, life insurance, etc. to be appraised and divided?
Are there specific health issues that need to be understood and addressed? What assumptions are to be made regarding medical coverage, benefits, and costs? Have provisions for long term care been adequately addressed?
Are there special needs for the children and/or grandchildren that need to be addressed?
What impact will the divorce have on existing estate plans, wills, trusts, Powers of Attorney, medical directives, beneficiary designations, gifting strategies, legal title to assets, and any other applicable items?
Has credit eligibility and creditworthiness for both souses been addressed?
Divorcing in one’s golden years can happen at a time when retirement is approaching and incomes may start to shrink. There is less time to recover from the financial impact of a divorce at an older age. Carefully and realistically assess the financial, emotional, and legal impact of the divorce in light of the unique challenges it may pose.
Justin Reckers, CFP®, CDFATM, AIF®, Managing Director of Pacific Divorce Management and immediate past board chairman of CFLG San Diego, was recently interviewed by reporter Christian de la Rosa of Fox 5 News in San Diego on tips to improve your financial health in 2013. See the report here for Justin’s excellent advice, whether you’re getting divorced or not.