What you communicate and how you deliver your messages throughout your divorce is key to arriving at your desired financial outcomes.
In a divorce process, communication can be complex, multi-faceted and if not properly managed can land you in an undesirable negotiating position. What you thought was a strong base of communication can shift at any moment in time. Its all about the layers of impressions you create throughout your divorce process. Each impression you create can influence your outcomes.
Communication in this context focuses on having knowledge and insight in the moment around:
- What to say — so you do not create more challenges that you will need to overcome
- When to communicate — as communication requires layered messaging
- What types of information to share and when to share it — as sharing information at the wrong point in time can hurt you
- How to interpret information being shared with you — so you do not bring inappropriate reactions into the process which can negatively influence your outcomes
- When to remain grounded or when to express a reaction
- Whether to communicate verbally or in writing and why
- How to present yourself to others
Each facet is a process unto itself. If not properly managed, you can unintentionally introduce additional risk into your divorce process. This is why it is critical to manage your communications in your divorce.
For your divorce you will need to communicate effectively at the right points in time. You will need to interpret the landscape in the moment and answer questions such as:
- How will your spouse interpret and respond to the next communication?
- How should you shape your communications based on the advice your spouse is receiving from outside parties?
- Which communication strategy should you employ to achieve your next objective?
- How do you manage the risk of miscommunication and misinterpretation?
- Where are the hot buttons that can create issues for you or your spouse in your divorce process?
Like everything else in life, effective communication is all about process. Communication is one of those things that can be difficult to control. If you have been challenged to conduct your communications with your spouse or your spouse’s advisors you will need help to manage your communications. Knee jerk reactions can create new risks and unwanted outcomes. You have to be careful of these approaches. How you interpret responses can take an emotional toll and impact your outcomes too.
The first time you present your position will create an impression. Unwanted impressions can lead to a lengthy divorce process. These impressions can be rectified but it’s not always easy to do. As you think about your communication processes you will need to figure out how to:
- Minimize the risk of getting into unfavorable negotiating positions
- Open up strained or closed relations
- Select the right words that need to be communicated
- Interpret what is being said by the opposing party
- Respond to objections to manage your financial outcomes
It is critical to go through your divorce with a clear lens of what you need to communicate and when you should communicate. Before being brought into situations, we commonly hear people saying:
- There is no movement in my divorce
- How did I end up in this position? I thought I was in a very strong position.
- Why is this taking such a long time?
There are ways to address these issues. It is all about the communication process that is being used to manage your divorce.
Advisors you include on your team need to understand who you are, how you communicate and what you need to achieve from each communication. They need to understand how you might create risks in your communication, when you should speak and when someone else should speak on your behalf. They also have to be experts at communication, both verbal and written.
Your advisors need to know how to read the tea leaves, how the other party may respond to certain communications and when not to communicate too. This involves a number of disciplines such as knowing where the pawns are on the chess board and how/when to move them. Its unfortunate, but some people ‘play chess’ in divorce. So, if you are faced with this situation you need to know your team has the capabilities to manage your newly created and ever-changing chess board of negotiations.
If you share certain thought processes too early it could impact your outcomes. This all has to be managed so you do not say the wrong thing at the wrong point in time. The goal of each communication is to place you in a more favorable position so you achieve your desired outcomes and can close your divorce as soon as possible.
About the Author
Larry Smith is a Founding Partner of Divorce Outcomes, a specialized professional services firm that manages all of the financial aspects in a divorce process. Since 2003 he has worked as a trusted financial advisor, financial advocate, divorce architect and technical financial expert; he is not an attorney. He is an alumni of KPMG and Andersen with expertise in technical accounting, forensics, sophisticated taxation, management consulting, risk management, advanced process engineering, business combinations, divorce management, multi-party negotiations, advanced quality analytics and cognitive performance technologies. Since 1986 Larry has been advising individuals and organizations about innovative financial solutions to resolve complex financial challenges that arise in life and in business.
For both personal and business divorces, Larry is considered an expert in divorce strategies, divorce process management, financial divorce architecture, financial risk management, taxation for divorces, financial divorce forensics, advanced divorce analytics, financial divorce negotiations and mediation, business valuations and sophisticated equity structures. He helps clients shape complex financial decisions, manage communication risks and ever-changing negotiating positions to strategically preserve or grow wealth from these types of transactions.
If You Have a Question
If you have a question, feel free to contact me at [email protected] or 617-680-5222. The call is free. I will spend 30–60 minutes with you. I will provide you an honest assessment as to where I think you are positioned in your divorce process or answer any questions you have. I may provide you some guidance, insight or advice that you can take with you as you wish. There is no obligation to move forward. The phone call is designed to ease your fears, provide you some options to pursue and a potential road to run on that can lead you down a path to achieve a successful outcome.
About Divorce Outcomes
Divorce Outcomes is a specialty services firm that helps people both domestically and internationally manage all of the financial decisions that arise in their divorce process. We are not attorneys. We are financial experts who partner with our clients as their personal financial advocates. We help our clients manage their divorce process, uncover hidden financial risks, architect divorce solutions, manage ever-changing negotiating positions, communicate complex financial matters and close the divorce process as soon as possible with a goal to arrive at the best outcomes possible. Throughout the process we evaluate the current state of our clients’ financial lives with an objective to best reposition their future. We do not sell any products. We simply raise issues that are in our clients best interest. Our clients share with us we:
- unfold, analyze and repackage their financial life so they are well positioned after their divorce
- preserve the value of their business or marital estate
- continuously strive to provide a return on our services
- build balanced financial solutions grounded in evidence
- find ways to make our client, and at times both parties, money through the process
- design their divorce to work for them and their family’s life
- provide mental clarity to make decisions
- reduce the total process time from start to close
- minimize the stress and unpleasant memories that can last a lifetime
As we reach an agreed upon settlement structure, we help our clients identify a fitting attorney who can leverage the financial solution to draft and record the requisite legal documents. Where outcomes are at risk from a traditional process, we function as expert financial negotiators or financial mediators to turn around the situation and achieve our client’s desired outcomes.
This communication is for general informational purposes only which may or may not reflect the most current developments. It is not intended to constitute formal advice or a recommended course of action as every person’s situation is unique and different. The information here is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon by the recipient to make a decision without professional guidance.