Divorce Professionals for Your Team

Last Wednesday night  [July 25] I attended the TribU event, The Informed Divorce.  This event  was part of its “Lessons for Life” series. The speakers represent two types of professionals you may want to have on your divorce team.

The event was moderated by Tribune columnist, Jennifer Weigel, who has gone through a divorce herself.

Linda Perry

Linda Perry, a former trial lawyer, decided after  going through her own divorce that the process could be/should be handled more like a  business transaction.

As a result, Ms. Perry has started a divorce consulting practice to help women find the right attorney, set goals and objectives, and to decide on the best legal process [mediation, collaboration or litigation]. This is a new type of divorce team professional, and one that  I did not know about when I was seeking an attorney.  You can find more details about what her services include here.

Ms. Perry described the alternate methods to traditional litigation: mediation and collaboration.  The benefits to using one of these is  better  communication with the ex-spouse going forward.  A good idea when children are involved.

Litigation is what I know the best, and it is also the most expensive. We  tried mediation twice. Each time it failed.  In order for either meditation or collaboration to be successful you need to know that your STBX  can cooperate and compromise.

Nancy Liebman

More frequently seen in divorce cases is the certified divorce financial analysist [CDFA]. Nancy Leibman, the second speaker, is one. She offers financial and divorce planning for women facing divorce. She has also published a workbook, Get Your Fair Share.

Certified divorce planners have been around for a while and they definitely fill a niche in the financial space that serves the huge audience of folks getting divorced.  You see, dividing assets is not as simple as cutting things in half. Many women,  especially those of a certain age,  may not have been expert in handling the family finances and need advice on identifying and understanding the marital assets and how they will be divided.

Attending the event with me  was one of my own experts, Cathy Belmonte Newman, also a CDFA. Cathy’s company,  F4financial. has been involved in both of my trials. She reviews past expenses in order to project future expenses.  In both trials, Cathy helped prepare my Disclosure Statement (also known as a Financial Affidavit), one of the MOST important documents in any divorce.

Although most of the attendees were women there were a few brave men.
The large attendance showed that there is a great need for solid information about the  divorce process,  especially in Cook County.

What legal professionals [besides a lawyer] would you recommend and why?

PS.  I just learned that Cathy is giving a workshop on preparing your  Disclosure Statement on August 9th at The Lilac Tree.  Find details here.

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    The answer to your specific question would depend on the level of amicability between the two partners and the complexity of the marital assets.

    My overriding recommendation is the same as any attorney would give you: do it yourself as much as possible.

    How? By engaging with a mediator who will guide you through all the aspects to be considered in your case, and will include other professionals such as the ones you mentioned in your article.

    The parties can also decide to retain their own counsel, in which case the collaborative approach would be preferable. Again, for the reason that negotiations take place before filing, thus allowing the spouses to come to an agreement that is based on their own history and context.

    In addition to a CDFA and a divorce consultant, in high net worth or those with business or significant value asset cases, it is often helpful to involve a valuation service early on in the process.

    Individuals interested in an opportunity to hear Ms. Perry should consider attending the upcoming The Divorce Expo in Naperville on August 18.

  • In reply to Joost Allard:

    Hi!

    Thanks for your comment. I agree with everything you have said. And in my case, we did most of those things.

    We tried mediation. It failed. Twice.

    Unfortunately, there are folks who have difficult personalities. They will not accept legal decisions [even if the person is a lawyer]. The legal system allows anyone to sue and sue again. And I have to pay for it. Again and again.

    But I am also attending the Divorce Expo tomorrow and if possible, let's meet for more discussion.

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    Donna

    I filed for a divorce in 2003. I had no idea that ELEVEN years on, that I would still be in divorce-related litigation. There have been two trials, an appellate court decision affirming the original trial decision, numerous other hearings, depositions and more. A second appellate court decision is pending. I write mostly from the woman's point of view. Or rather, the spouse who stayed home and raised the children, the one who gave up a career. When first married, I worked as a law librarian and do have a law degree but never practiced. Having that law degree has given me insights into the often mysterious ways of the legal system, especially in Cook County. Recently I have reactivated my law license, became an Enrolled Agent [a license given by the IRS after taking a series of tests] and prepare tax returns. Please share your experiences or ask me questions. Email me at divorcechicagostyle@gmail.com Follow me on Twitter for articles and and news about Illinois Appellate Court divorce related decisions.

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