Collaborative Practice utilizes the services of a neutral Financial Consultant to provide such guidance and expertise. The neutral Financial Consultant works with both parties to efficiently gather and then share relevant information and documentation regarding assets and income. The Financial Consultant also helps the parties and their legal counsel develop and analyze viable financial options, and may prepare long-range projections regarding the future effect of alternative settlement scenarios, taking into account living expenses, inflation, future earnings, and anticipated life changes. The aim is to help you understand and wisely plan for the economic future of your family.
Where appropriate, the Collaborative Process will utilize the services of other neutral specialists, where such expertise can help you reach an appropriate settlement.
For example, if there is a family owned business, a neutral business evaluation specialist may be consulted. Unlike a litigated divorce, where each side may hire competing expert witnesses to write expensive reports and to testify in court about the business value, in the Collaborative process you will have the benefit of one neutral expert who will informally and without bias advise both parties and your lawyers. Working with one neutral expert is more efficient, less expensive, and more likely to result in a cooperative agreement than the alternative litigation model.
Or, as another example, in connection with planning for long term child or spousal support, there may be questions pertaining to what kind of career path an unemployed or underemployed party could take and/or what their future earnings might be. In that situation, the Collaborative team might engage the services of a vocational consultant to evaluate these issues, to provide guidance to the unemployed party, and to give both parties and the Collaborative team relevant information about timelines, appropriate careers, and potential earnings – with far less formality and lower cost than a similar forensic report in a litigation environment.