Should a financial advisor or forensic accountant be part of my divorce team? Matthew Brickman and Sydney Mitchell answer your most frequently asked questions about divorce as they go over several key points:
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Matthew Brickman is a Florida Supreme Court certified family and appellate mediator who has worked in the 15th and 19th Judicial Circuit Courts since 2009 and 2006 respectively. But what makes him qualified to speak on the subject of conflict resolution is his own personal experience with divorce.
Hi, my name is Sydney Mitchell.Matthew Brickman:
Hi, I'm Matthew Brickman, Florida Supreme court mediator. Welcome to the Mediate This! Podcast where we discuss everything mediation and conflict resolution.Sydney Mitchell:
Welcome everybody to this episode of mediate. This I'm Sydney sitting here with Matthew and today we are going to be answering some of the questions that you, our listeners have been submitting to us about all things, divorce and mediation. So , um, let's just jump right in. If you do have a question in the future that you would love for us to dive into on an episode of mediate this, you can just send an email, submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. It'll get sent directly to us and we'll , uh , hopefully be able to answer your questions here. Let's switch gears a little bit. This next question reads should a financial advisor be a part of my divorce team.Matthew Brickman:
That's a good question. Um, it dependsSydney Mitchell:
First. Can I, can I ask you Matthew , um, versus just divorced team, but who does that? Who does that include? What does that mean? I've just never heard it phrased that way before, so I want to ,Matthew Brickman:
Okay. So , um, this could probably be interpreted a couple of different ways. So one way, one way to, to talk about it is, is divorce team could be like, whoever is helping me team of one. Like, is it just my mediator? Is that my divorce team? Right?Sydney Mitchell:
Or an attorney or,Matthew Brickman:
Or yeah. Is this the attorney and the paralegal and maybe the junior associate , um , and or the mediator. Um, another way could be collaborative divorce , um, and collaborative divorce is sort of a newer type of , uh, uh , concept. I am not, I'll go on the record saying I am not in any way, shape or form a, I support her advocate of collaborative divorce. And here's why in theory, it's phenomenal. Oh my gosh. It's absolutely phenomenal. AndSydney Mitchell:
Can you explain what ?Matthew Brickman:
Because, because that is a divorce team, like that is a team, like when you think a team, you think baseball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, it's a group of people, right? It's a team, you know, it's the OJ trial team. It's just not, Hey, it's an attorney. We got all old team of attorneys. Okay. So a divorce team in collaborative law, you've got , um , the husband of the wife, okay. Now on the husband's team, he has his attorney and the wife on her team has her attorney. Then they will both share in a financial adviser . They will share a therapist and they share a mediator. That's what it means to conduct a collaborative. So in a collaborative divorce, you've got two attorneys, you've got a mediator, you've got a financial advisor , a forensic accountant, and you've got a therapist now in theory, that's great. Like you're going to have someone there. That's going to help you with your emotions . Someone's going to help you with your finances. You have to, you know, your attorneys who are guiding you on the law, and you've got a mediator, who's going to facilitate the conversation between everybody. Wow. This is going to be a success. It's amazing. And very, who's got money to pay all the professionals. That's a lot of professionals you're paying hundreds and hundreds. I mean, so just think the attorneys are probably two 50 to anywhere probably between two 50 to 500 an hour each give or take, right. Your mediator is probably anywhere between two to $400 an hour. Okay. Your financial advisor is probably about two 50 to three 50 or so an hour. And your therapist is probably about that as well. We'll do the math. You're spending a lot of money for a lot of professionals. So per hour , that's what a grand, oh, is it ? You're over probably over music, right? So, you know, in each of them paying 500, you know, they're splitting at all. So in any case, so who needs the team? Uh, people that have a lot of money , uh , that can afford the team, right? Problem though, is people that can afford the team are dumb enough to waste it on all the professionals. They are, they are financially smart enough. Cause that's how they got there in the first place to be able to handle their own affairs and not have to include all this stuff and waste the money. The people that really need the team, they can't afford the team. It's too much money to afford them. So in theory, it is a great, great concept. And there's a lot of people and people have said for years, Matthew, you've got to get certified as a collaborative divorce mediator. Well , no, that's a waste of my time. Um , now here's the other interesting thing, Sydney, let's say, for example, that two people are trauma, higher ed attorneys, and want to do a collaborative divorce with the therapist and the financial , uh, advisor or forensic accountant, whatever, and the mediator. Okay. And let's say they all come together. Ah , and there's no agreement. Now they've got to take it to trial. They're not allowed to use the two attorneys that they already retained and paid for collaborative divorce. They have to go get brand new attorneys and those attorneys that need to get brought up on speed on all the discussions and all the discovery and all the document exchange and stuff, because you can't use the same attorneys now in a way that's good because the attorneys in collaborative divorce in the mediation have incentive to settle, not drag it to court because they can't represent them in court. Right. The problem though, is who can afford that? You're now talking four attorneys, a mediator, forensic accountant, or financial advisor and a therapist come on . It's better be worth it. That's all I'm saying. Look, you're talking. Multimin like, it would be like, the only thing that would make sense is , is it would have to be at least multimillion to even bother. And they're not dumb enough to waste their money on all of that. Now they may have a financial advisor or forensic account . I mean, I've had divorces that are like, you know, a few hundred thousand and they have a forensic account . It's not a divorce team, but they, but , but you know, for example, I'll give you an example. I had one recently how mediation recently, where the father owned his own business and he was a truck driver. So it was what we call Goodwill. There were no assets of the business except for his truck. And he was the business. If he got sick or he didn't drive the business, made no money. Now, when he did work, he was making like three, $400,000 a year. But, and so the wife has like, his business is worth 300,000. I want 150 for his half of the business. And his attorneys like , um, his business is not worth 300,000. He has a huge truck. He's got some tools like, no, she's like, oh no, well, you know, well I want alimony then. Cause he makes this much money. Well, not exactly. He makes, he may make 300, but then he's got his fuel. He's got his charges, he's got his insurance, he's got this, he's got then the union. And then he's got all this stuff. So at the end of the day know he's got all these business expenses and these are legitimate business expenses as well. Now I don't believe that. So she was like, no . So she's like, well then, you know , her attorney is like, look, you're going to need a forensic accountant then. Okay, great. There's seven and a half to $10,000. And she didn't even have the money to pay her attorney. Her attorney is owed thousands of dollars and she's like, oh yeah, I'm going to get it. And I'm going to get a forensic on your with well money. And if you think for a second, that, that he's going to say, Hey, I'll pay your attorney's fees and pay your forensic accountant fees to come after me. Well, the year that she got another thing coming , so a financial advisor and you know, and it depends cause you know, we're, we're throwing around the word financial advisor forensic account, right? Because a financial advisor to me is one that says, Hey Matthew, you've got, you know, you know, you've got an IRA. We need to divide it up. And you know, you need to diversify your portfolio. Like that's advising me or says, Hey look, are you looking for an investment? You know, I've got this investment or maybe you buy a little bit of this stock or that's an advisor. So should some would be part of your divorce team. Well, I think that if you get divorced and if you have money, IRA that you need a financial advisor after the fact to help you put it where it needs to go to grow it, you know? Uh, but they're not really part of your divorce team because there's a financial advisor is really after the fact like you get your money and now you're going, okay, what am I going to do with $300,000, half a million dollars? Like I need , I guess I need to invest in somewhere. That's a financial advisor . So I think both of those Sydney , like financial advisor , forensic accountant, divorced team, you know, the terms it says hopefully for the, for the, for the listener that asks that we sorta took sort of all of it, like financial accountant, financial advisor, you know, do you need an accountant? Uh, do you need a team? Do you just need , uh , yeah, I've had, I've had people like, you know, like I said, I made about 30% of my business is pro se, which there's no attorneys, which means there's no team, you know , it's the husband, the wife and the mediator. Um, and yeah, you're going to save a lot of money. There's more money. And you know, for the listeners, there's more money in your pocket than it, every professional's pocket because the only ones that will win in something like that are the professionals. You know, you want a collaborative divorce, fine, whatever you have say goodbye to it because the therapist and the mediator and the attorneys and the financial advisor , or you're a forensic accountant, they're all got a hand in your pocket. And so at the end of the day, when you're going, okay, we've got to divide up this retirement of a hundred thousand dollars. Ain't gonna be no a hundred thousand dollars there because you're going to get your 50, they're going to be paying all these professionals that helped you get your fifties . So now you, you know, what are you , what are you left with? And don't think of here. Here's the other thing people should never think. Well, I don't have the money to pay my attorney. And then once I get the money, then fine, then I can pay them or, oh, I'm going to get my house. Look, they're going to get their money. They may even put a lien on your home that they will get their money. They can legally do that. So you get your home and you don't pay your attorney. Bill, they'll put a lien. So when you finally sell your home, often net proceeds before you get your money, your attorney's getting paid. So these are things that people need to think of financial planners that financial or not financial planners , um , forensic accountants, you know, they w they could put liens on your property. Um, they, they will get paid. So , um, yeah, so hopefully that, hopefully that answers that listener's question for financial advisor of divorce team, occasionally Occasionally Sydney and I will be releasing Q & A bonus episodes where we will answer questions and give you a personal shout out.Sydney Mitchell:
If you have a comment or question regarding anything that we discuss, email email@example.com that's firstname.lastname@example.org and stay tuned to hear your shout out and have your questions answered here on the showMatthew Brickman:
For more information about my services or to schedule your mediation with me, either in person or using my iChatMediation Virtual Platform built by Cisco Communications. Visit me online at www.iMediateInc.com. Call me at 561-262-9121, Toll-Free at 877-822-1479 or email me at MBrickman@iChatMediation.com.