Finding a Smoother Path to Divorce

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By Bennett Whitlock, CRPC® Private Wealth Advisor

When a couple decides to end their marriage, they can face a daunting list of costs, paperwork and formalities before their divorce is finalized. A newer development in the legal process for divorce is known as collaborative law. It is designed to help couples find points of agreement, settle issues in a more cooperative way and stay out of divorce court. The process can be effective for couples of all ages, but finding a less antagonistic way to settle a divorce may be especially beneficial when children are part of the mix.

Taking a different approach

Divorce is often a process that is litigated between two parties, each represented by his or her own attorney. Legal professionals who pursue this approach are committed to finding solutions to points of dispute, and both parties make a priority of keeping the issue out of the courts.

An honest and forthright approach by both parties is crucial. Open disclosure is fully expected. For example, both a husband and wife must be candid about money they may have set aside in any accounts or documents that may have been drawn up prior to or during the marriage that could have an impact on the settlement.

Financial advisors can be involved in the process to help provide guidance through tricky issues related to joint accounts, retirement savings plans and tax implications of a divorce (although you’ll also want to work with a tax professional).

Going beyond financial issues

Collaborative law puts significant emphasis on the involvement of professionals who can help families through the process. This can include mental health counselors and coaches, parenting experts and child specialists. If the couple has children, the assistance of child specialists can be particularly important to help ensure that the transition to a new relationship with their parents goes as smoothly as possible. It also is a way to give children a voice in the process and helps contribute to a more satisfactory resolution to the divorce.

Moving on with life

For most people going through a divorce is extremely emotional and complex. If the divorce process can be handled with less hostility and a spirit of cooperation, it can result in a faster resolution and one that is more suitable for both parties.

Bennett Whitlock, CRPC ®, is a private wealth advisor and managing director with Whitlock Wealth Management, a franchise of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Learn more at or call 703-492-7732.


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