FILLING THE VOID IN THE WORLD OF DIVORCE
This is a guest post from Elena Chambous of Morristown Financial Group: Few events in one's life are as traumatic and have such long lasting repercussions as divorce. If you think about it, we are expected to take control of a legal and financial case that will affect our children and ourselves for many years all while in an emotional daze or a fog. We are doing this with no experience, no power, and little control or knowledge. Many of us are uncertain about many things and are sometimes very insecure from years of abuse. We typically find a divorce attorney by asking friends, therapists or other attorneys for names. We may even call someone out of the yellow pages or from their advertisement. Sometimes we even believe surveys done in magazines, not realizing they are subjective. These ingredients are often a recipe for disaster. I know this because I have been through it. I, a bright NYU graduate, Certified Financial Planner, can say that the divorce system got the better of me. I was put under such duress, I was an emotional wreck, I had an infant, and I caved into my attorney's demands with no time to think about anything or to consult with a third party. I signed something that devastated my life, and my son's life, for many years against my better judgment. I was worn down, exhausted, and running out of energy and options. At some point after my post divorce trauma, I realized that there were so many women and families like me, people not knowing how to navigate through the divorce process, who needed an advocate, a coach, and a financial professional to help them through the process. They, like me, needed someone who knew enough, and cared enough, to help them balance the power between themselves and their attorney and spouse. Someone they could bounce ideas off of, get a wealth of information from, and who could help take the stress away. They needed someone with connections and resources to help guide them and make sure that they ended up with the right professionals and an agreement they could live with and that they understood and had some control in developing. They needed someone who had no conflict of interest and no motivation other than getting them the most money and the best agreement for their situation. My journey has been a long one but I have become the person I wish I had during my divorce. I finally developed a business that is a haven for divorcing individuals and families. I give them knowledge and help strategize the best plan. I prepare the financial affidavits, I bring the client on consultations with the right attorneys and accountants for their case, and I keep my clients strong. I help them avoid the pitfalls inherent in divorce cases and I make sure that they have full knowledge before signing an agreement because more than anything, I don't want anyone living with regrets and what ifs. It is virtually impossible to rectify a bad divorce agreement after the fact. I see way too many people spend years trying to fix things, and in turn, not moving on with their lives. Let's do it right from the beginning. Top 10 Areas Where I Have Seen Divorce Cases Go Wrong: 1- You start your case with the wrong attorney and the wrong strategy and it damages the remainder of your case and your new attorney's future efforts. 2- Your relationship and communication with your attorney falters. There is a loss of trust and a feeling of fighting your own attorney. 3- You enter mediation with your spouse without knowledge of your rights, your assets, and the law. 4- You have no one to monitor the accuracy of an accounting firm's analysis. 5- You give up and get worn down by your spouse and the legal process. You sign an agreement just to get the divorce over with. 6- You get put under duress by the attorneys or judge to sign an agreement without 48 hours to review it with your family and advisors. 7- Your spouse's attorney dominates and runs the show. Your attorney cannot be strong versus his/her opponent. 8- The I's weren't dotted and the T's weren't crossed in your agreement and it comes to haunt you for years. 9- You are given the most important document in your divorce case, The Case Information Statement, to fill out by yourself or with help from a paralegal, instead of a financial professional. This statement is a financial affidavit and is the basis of the entire case. 10- Your attorney forces a bad settlement because they are not being paid currently, the judge has pressured them, your spouse's attorney has convinced him/her that you are the bad guy, or they have been negligent and settlement ruins your chances of malpractice against them. Elena Chambous, CFP, runs a Divorce Consulting practice out of her offices at Morristown Financial Group Securities and advisory services are Offered Through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Neither Linsco/Private Ledger, nor Elena Chambous, provides tax or legal advice or services.