If your divorce involves considerable and/or complicated assets, you can benefit from adding a financial professional and perhaps a tax adviser or accountant to your team. That’s particularly true if your spouse has been the one who handled the finances, investments and taxes in your marriage.
You may be considering going with the people who have handled your and your spouse’s money –- especially if it’s an amicable divorce. That’s almost never a good idea. Let’s look at why that is.
Breaking up can be hard to do
Now that you’re breaking up with your spouse, you need to break up with your financial professionals. If you barely knew them, that should be easy. If you know them socially as well as professionally or your kids go to school together, it can be a little more difficult. However, you have to do what’s best for you.
One forensic accountant who also provides expert testimony in divorce cases notes that some people don’t reach this conclusion until they’re into the divorce process. She says it can take some time to feel strong and independent enough to stop relying on people you’ve trusted for years.
What a financial adviser can do for you
However, the sooner you bring in your own people, the sooner they can begin helping you make decisions in the divorce based on what will benefit you the most as you begin your new life. They can also advise you on things like setting up new accounts, developing a budget, filing your income taxes, protecting your credit and dealing with insurance policies and retirement plans.
Just as you and your spouse wouldn’t share an attorney in your divorce, you don’t want an accountant or financial adviser who has any sort of dual allegiance. You want people who are looking out only for your interests. There are even financial advisers who specialize in helping people going through divorce.
You may need to talk with a few people before you find the one(s) with whom you feel comfortable. Your family law attorney can likely provide recommendations of people with whom they’ve worked on other divorces who would make a good addition to your team and help you going forward.