Collaborative Family Law is based on a commitment by the
participants to a principled, negotiated settlement that focuses on
client empowerment without the threat or use of court action.
However, it is important to recognize that divorce is
multi-dimensional and, therefore, requires resources for couples
and families to assist with the various financial and non-financial
issues that often arise.
In a typical litigious family law matter, each spouse is often
compelled to hire their own team of professionals (lawyers,
accountants, pension experts, therapists, etc.), which often
duplicates work and creates additional conflict, stress, and
financial burden. A typical "collaborative team," on the
other hand, might comprise two lawyers, a neutral financial
professional, and a neutral family counsellor—in other words,
reduced strain on the individuals and their finances.
The role of the neutral financial specialist on a collaborative
team is to help both parties collect and understand their financial
information, prepare budgets and net worth statements, and
contribute to the development of creative, tax-efficient options
for various support and property division arrangements.
A Chartered Business Valuator ("CBV") can be of great
assistance on any collaborative resolution, and is especially
helpful when a business is involved. A CBV trained in the
collaborative process allows for one, unbiased party to communicate
all aspects of the financial structure and workings of the business
to both spouses. Preparing a business valuation, preparing
calculations of the spouses' income (for spousal and/or child
support), and being involved to explain the work and answer
questions with a transparent and impartial approach can be very
productive towards resolving financial matters.
When both parties establish trust in a single neutral financial
representative, costs are typically much lower. This is because
they have one representative rather than having two or more
opposing representatives as seen in most traditional litigated
divorces. A litigated divorce may require a business valuator to
value one spouse's business, another to also value that
business and/or to critique the initial valuation report. Moreover,
a further response to these reports may be required. Each party may
also need their financial expert to prepare a similar series of
reports on income.
A specially-trained financial
advisor who is experienced in dealing with collaborative resolution
can help attain a fiscally responsible settlement. The
collaborative process is an innovative approach that offers
creative, efficient resolutions while maintaining the dignity of
each party. Crowe Soberman's financial professionals, who are
specially trained in the collaborative process, have practical
expertise acting as trusted advisors in family law matters to
provide well-informed and cost-effective resolutions.
If you are interested in learning more about the collaborative
process for divorce, and discovering what a collaboratively trained
financial professional and/or CBV can do to assist with your family
law matter, please contact the authors of this article.
This article has been prepared for the general information
of our clients. Specific professional advice should be obtained
prior to the implementation of any suggestion contained in this
Heidi is a director in Crowe Soberman's V | F | L
Group. She's active in all areas of the business valuation
practice and handles a variety of assignments including corporate
reorganizations, matrimonial matters, mergers & acquisitions
and shareholder disputes.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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