If you are going through a divorce and are the intended recipient of spousal support you need to read this article. One key takeaway is to be careful what your financial profile looks like today compared to what it needs to look like tomorrow.
In other words, how you spend your money before you divorce and during the divorce matters. Why?
Let’s say your spouse makes a respectable amount of money each year where you do not have to work a lot, if at all. Over the years you and your spouse had an agreement that you would bring up the kids and your spouse would work. What happened during that agreement? You unknowingly sacrificed the opportunity to build your skills while your spouse continued to build skills and continued to make money for the family.
On the surface it sounds simple. You say to yourself now that I am getting a divorce I will get my fair share of the marital estate and continue to be provided for. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work this way. A Judge will look at the level of responsibility you are taking in your life and for your kids in terms of time dedicated to your family along with financial obligations assumed. If you are a person who is accustomed to a lifestyle with discretionary funds to be used as you please, where you incur credit card bills, draw down money from the joint checking account etc. out of desire rather than familial obligation, then you may find yourself in a heap of financial trouble in context to your divorce. You may not receive the amount of support you would hope from your divorce. You have to manage what is referred to as your “profile”.
If your current profile comes across as taking no responsibility, while demonstrating a nature of unnecessary spending, the Judge may not look at this with the goal of ensuring you retain this lifestyle. The goal is to shift your profile as early as possible in your divorce. This translates into requesting more money from your spouse than you have received in the past. You might ask how can you do this and what is the benefit? Here is what happens in the process.
Your current financial profile, no matter how it looks, is disclosed on a financial declaration form that is submitted to the court. This profile reflects your current spending habits. Your spouse may want to reduce your spending habits by reducing the temporary support you have been receiving. The way to combat this is have a professional put together a professional affidavit that shows your “desired profile”. This desired profile is a key chessboard piece on your divorce chessboard. It outlines what your new profile will look like after your divorce is finalized and how to position you from showing a less than desirable profile, into one the Judge will respect and appreciate.
Consider the difference how your case will appear when presented to the Judge in court, and when they are reviewing the evidence submitted to come to a decision. The mandatory financial declaration will present only your high level of discretionary spending to which you are accustomed, but by no means guaranteed going forward. Alternatively, the right professional can present your “desired profile” to the Judge. This demonstrates a future financial position composed of a level of discretionary spending you are comfortable with, an appropriate ratio of marital obligations, and the amount of support required to satisfy those amounts. The right professional at the right point in the process makes all the difference to your outcomes.
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.