Frequently asked questions about Wellspring Divorce Advisors that help our potential clients understand the services we offer and the depth of our expertise.
What is Divorce Financial Planning?
Divorce Financial Planning is the intersection of expert financial analysis, financial planning and decision coaching with the unique and complicated financial intricacies of divorce in mind. Legal advisers offer the structure and guidance necessary to fashion agreements. Wellspring Divorce Advisors offers the creative options, financial analysis and strategies necessary to ensure you obtain the most financially advantageous settlement possible.
Why Hire Wellspring Divorce Advisors?
For individuals and couples navigating divorce who are concerned about the future, Wellspring Divorce Advisors is the divorce financial planning firm focused on establishing long-term financial well being by providing experienced, objective advice. Only Wellspring Divorce Advisors has combined a personal touch, professional expertise, and technical infrastructure to ensure clients avoid common financial mistakes and obtain the most advantageous financial settlement.
At Wellspring Divorce Advisors all of our advisors are Certified Divorce Financial Analysts. A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™) has earned the credential from the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts by completing course work and examinations to test competence in the subject matter specific to Financial Planning, Analysis, Accounting and Financial Advisory in Divorce Proceedings. Our advisors also complete a one of a kind training to learn the intricacies of finances in divorce, negotiations skills and client relationship skills. This training occurs initially over two intense weeks of in person basic training then continues with advanced trainings in the more complicated subject matter areas.
Many of our advisors will hold additional advanced credentials such as Certified Financial Planner™ Practitioner (CFP®) and Certified Public Accountants (CPA).
Many of our advisors are trained in divorce specific Mediation and Collaborative Divorce.
All of our advisors regularly participate in Family Law specific training along-side attorneys.
Wellspring Divorce Advisors specializes in the financial aspects that arise for individuals and couples going through a divorce. We have developed a passion for guiding people through what can be the most emotionally and financially devastating period in their life. Wellspring Divorce Advisors provides expert Divorce Financial Planning services, education and support during difficult decision making processes in order to facilitate rational and informed conclusions for clients. We offer Divorce Financial Planning and Dispute Resolution services in Collaborative Divorce and Mediation. We work regularly with clients and their attorneys serving as an Expert Divorce Financial Planning Analyst in neutral or advocacy roles in the litigation process.
At Wellspring Divorce Advisors we:
- Help clients understand the short and long term financial consequences of settlement options.
- Help level the playing field when one party feels at a disadvantage due to lack of financial knowledge or experience.
- Help gather the data needed to make fully informed and intelligent decisions.
- Help our clients and their attorneys strategize and build creative options to complicated settlement issues.
- Help build complete and accurate pictures of the family financial dynamic.
- Help conserve precious emotional and financial resources.
- Help our clients plan for financial independence post divorce.
- Help clients transition safely into their new financial reality with a game plan for financial success.
How Can Wellspring Divorce Advisors Help Me?
Our role is to assist the client and his/her attorney to understand how the financial decisions he or she makes today will impact their financial future.
- We will help you build a complete data gathering process, creative strategies and ultimately sound financial decisions so there are no unexpected consequences and the most favorable financial outcome is achieved.
- You will learn about the ramifications of complex subjects such as separate vs. community property, valuing and dividing property, retirement and pensions, spousal and child support, the family residence, tax ramifications and insurance. You will:
– Understand the difference between separate and community property
– Understand how personal property, intangible and illiquid assets are valued and divided
– Understand Defined Contribution versus Defined Benefit plans versus Deferred Compensation plans and how they are valued and divided
– Understand the tax ramifications of Spousal and Child support including recapture and Child Contingency rules
– Understand the importance of security for support payments
- You will understand the short and long-term impact of every financial decision you face and we will offer insight into the pros and cons of different settlement proposals so that you may choose the option most consistent with your goals.
- You will receive personalized reports to illustrate your financial status, cash flow, and net worth pre and post divorce. Reports are updated throughout the process to insure you are always prepared.
- We will produce powerful case exhibits for you and your attorney in the form of spreadsheets, graphs and tables that simply and completely convey results of our analysis and help you and your attorney:
– Find hidden and obscure assets and avoid missing something in the settlement
– Determine income available for Child and Spousal support calculations.
- We will provide reliable expert witness testimony if your case goes to court.
- We will offer you planning strategies and help brainstorm solutions for each and every question or concern.
- We will provide an objective viewpoint during an emotional time to help you:
– Determine whether you can afford to keep the house and how the decision should be carried out if you should decide to do so.
– Understand the law of diminishing returns and when to let it dictate a solution.
- You will avoid the common financial mistakes made in divorce and choose the best settlement options for you and your family.
Most importantly; you will transition successfully into your new financial reality with a game plan for financial independence. You may choose to carry out that game plan through our comprehensive post divorce financial planning program. This program is dedicated to preparing clients for financial independence and long term success during the post divorce transition and beyond. We developed this Financial Planning program with our divorce practice in mind having seen the negative effects of lack of follow through.
How Does Wellspring Divorce Advisors Differ From Other Financial Professionals?
Most financial planners and accountants excel in their chosen field, but they have little to no training specifically related to the financial issues of a divorce. Forensic accountants are backward looking only and are not trained or skilled in helping clients assess the long term ramifications of financial decisions. Financial Planners are not trained in the financial intricacies of divorce and will be unable to provide complicated backwards looking analysis such as tracing and lifestyle analysis. Only Wellspring Divorce Advisors combines the skills of the financial planning and forensic account disciplines with the intricacies of divorce in mind.
I Have An Attorney. Why Do I Need Wellspring Divorce Advisors?
Lawyers go to law school for a reason. They want to learn the law, not mathematics, accounting and financial products. Once they get to law school they are taught to navigate and escalate disputes. Dispute resolution is still an afterthought in most law schools.
Your legal advisors offer the structure and guidance necessary to understand your legal rights and obligations under the law, make arguments on your behalf advocating for positions then fashion orders to consummate the outcome. They lack the training and skill necessary to help their clients understand the long term financial ramifications of settlements and orders.
Wellspring Divorce Advisors advisors offer the creative options and financial strategies necessary to ensure our clients obtain the most financially advantageous settlements possible and insure that our clients transition into post-divorce life with a game plan for their financial future.
What Role Does Wellspring Divorce Advisors Play In Gathering Financial Data?
We work with our clients to identify and collect the financial data pertinent to the dissolution of a marriage. From the original data gathering we evaluate any key financial concerns related to divorce – such as income and deductions, living expenses, assets, and liabilities. This process will likely tip us to other information we will need to request. We work with your attorney to compile complete and comprehensive document requests, interrogatories and depositions to insure no stone goes unturned. We have experience in uncovering hidden and obscure assets that have otherwise been missed in other divorces such as Capital Loss Carryforwards, Limited Partnerships, etc.. Once comfortable all data has been gathered we help you and your attorney prepare accurate and defensible schedules of Assets and Debts and Income and Expenses that must be exchanged with your spouse under penalty of perjury. We can save time and money by making sure the financial information is accurate and complete allowing your attorney to focus on the legal aspects of the case.
Who Should Utilize A Wellspring Divorce Advisors Advisor?
All individuals going through the divorce process will benefit from financial counseling and advice. We work with clients from a variety of backgrounds, including but not limited to: Women individually, Men individually, Families with one primary wage earner, dual income Families, retired individuals and couples, first or second marriages, Families with and without children, Individuals and Families with significant assets and income, Individuals and Families with moderate assets and income and Families or Individuals with significant inheritance or potential inheritance.
What is the first step that needs to be taken when getting a divorce?
Traditionally a dissolution of marriage, or divorce proceedings are initiated by the filing of a Petition by one party. The Petition for Dissolution of marriage is then served to the responding party. The party originally filing the Petition is known as the “Petitioner” and the other party is known as the “Respondent”. Following receipt of the Petition, the Respondent generally has 30 days in which to file his or her responding statement to the facts stated in the Petition.
Alternative Dispute Resolution models such as Mediation and Collaborative Divorce may answer this question differently based on the circumstances involved. It is not uncommon for the divorce process to “unofficially” begin months in advance of a petition when it is necessary to retain a team or consider whether these processes might be appropriate.
What is community property and separate property and how is that determined?
The classification of property as community, separate, or quasi-community will determine how such things are divided between the parties upon dissolution of the marriage. Community property has been defined by the State of California as “all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in this state.”
Under California law, each spouse owns a one-half interest in any property acquired from the date of their marriage to the date of their separation. This holds true unless the property is “Separate Property”.
Separate property is any property that has been acquired by either spouse prior to marriage, after separation, or during marriage by gift or inheritance. A gift or an inheritance received during the marriage might be considered separate property.
Ultimately: it is necessary to consult a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst to analyze the likelihood that an asset might be considered community or separate property.
What is alimony?
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a series of payments from one spouse to the other after a divorce. The purpose of these payments is to help balance the earning abilities of the former spouses so that they may carry on a similar standard of living post divorce.
Is my ex-spouse entitled to part of my business?
That depends on many things. If the business was started or acquired during marriage then the answer is almost always yes. The answer is more difficult if the business was owned prior to marriage. The State of California does offer guidance on answering the question. The analysis is long and complicated and would require the assistance of professional experts in the matter. The question on most business owner’s minds is; “Will I get double dipped when I buy my spouse’s interest in the business and still have to pay support based on the income from that business interest?”
How is child custody decided?
In California, either parent can have custody, or the parents can share custody. In court the judge makes the final decision about custody and visitation but usually will approve the arrangement both parents agree on. If the parents cannot agree, the judge will make a decision at a court hearing after the parents have met with a mediator from Family Court Services. Private practice Psychologists are often called as expert witnesses in court cases and almost always used as Child Specialists in Mediation and Collaborative cases with custody issues.