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Financial advisers can help facilitate divorce settlements

Anyone going through a divorce in Illinois knows that coming to an agreement on the terms of a settlement can sometimes be a long, arduous process. Things can become even more difficult when an ex-couple has a significant amount of money or assets to divide. When divorce proceedings reach a stalemate, one of the best strategies to employ involves hiring a third party to assess the situation and make recommendations. Even people that have studied economics or worked with money their whole life could benefit from outside help during such an emotionally trying time.

A recent example of this type of situation involved a retired bookkeeper in her 60s. While she was very savvy with finances, her divorce had reached an impasse due to her inability to come to an agreement with her ex-husband over the division of their assets. The couple had around $1.5 million, mostly in real estate and liquid assets. While the woman had previously been fighting to attain as much of the estate as possible, she eventually hired a financial adviser to help her determine a more realistic solution involving spousal support and a property settlement.

Apart from the stalemate, there were some other complicating factors that further necessitated the hiring of a financial adviser. The factors included a large sum of money that the couple's children owed them, as well as the uncertainty surrounding the ex-husband's willingness to pay spousal support whatsoever. The husband also wanted to keep all of the couple's property.

The financial advisor helped the woman create a budget that would help her live comfortably on the money from the divorce settlement as well as Social Security benefits. He helped the woman set goals that included taking fewer trips and going to cooking school every other year as opposed to annually. He also recommended that the woman seek 55 percent of the marital assets and $3,000 monthly in spousal support for a limit of the three years. The husband accepted the offer, and nobody had to go to court.

It's arguable whether or not the woman should have fought for a bigger settlement. However, the financial adviser in this case did bring the dispute to a quick close, while simultaneously creating a comfortable situation for the woman, who will avoid her biggest fear - having to return to work.

online.wsj.com, "Adviser's Plan Breaks a Divorce Settlement Stalemate" Kelly Kearsley, Dec. 09, 2013

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