Lynette Carrington 2013-01-17 13:16:51
Divorce Financial Strategies: Compassion and Strategic Financial Decisions During Divorce Divorce can often be one of the most difficult and emotional times in a person’s life. It can also be a time where money matters can be very complex and overwhelming. A relatively new asset in a divorce situation is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) who serves as a client’s confidant and guide in understanding the short and long-term financial implications of divorce. A CDFA is also a valuable asset for attorneys who want the best for their clients, a clear picture of financial positions in a divorce case, and assurance that they’re not missing any critical financial details. “I partner with attorneys and mediators,” stated Nancy Hetrick, CFDA and Owner of Divorce Financial Strategies. She also has been known to partner with couples as the only professional working on a divorce settlement. Although she is also a trained mediator, Hetrick has found professional satisfaction in her work as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. In a twist that some might find unexpected, often clients are finding Hetrick first and in turn, if they want to engage the services of an attorney, she will make a referral. Hetrick forges very strong relationships with lawyers and mediators once they see how valuable and effective her services are in moving through a divorce proceeding. As a CDFA, Hetrick gathers data to prepare a budget and Financial Affidavit and to complete long-term financial forecasting for any proposed settlement. Additionally, she creates exhibits for the attorney for use in court (which are also helpful in mediation cases.) If a case goes to trial, she can also serve as an expert witness. She helps to define for her client their exact financial position, their financial needs, and what their finances will look like after the divorce. “By far, the client that needs me the most is the spouse that’s been married for 25 years and was primarily a homemaker or whose husband handled all the finances. I’ve had women tell me they haven’t written a check in 25 years,” explained Hetrick. In those instances, she seeks to help her client to more accurately estimate what her expenses will be after the divorce is final. “They really are coming into a situation so vulnerable…and unfortunately with an imbalance of power like that the other spouse often realizes that and will take full advantage,” Hetrick said. She will also go through the soon-to-beex’s financial paperwork and seek out discrepancies, errors and areas of tax withholding and earnings that need to be recalculated to reflect a true, post-divorce situation. “One of the things that I do that most attorneys find extremely valuable is valuing pension plans properly. It is definitely something that not very many people are trained how to do,” Hetrick noted. Another asset in Hetrick’s CDFA “toolbox” is the fact that she is a trained life coach and can relate to her clients on a personal and positive-yet-realistic way. “I take these women who feel beat up and broken and get them built up, help them find their confidence, help them get educated so they know what they’re walking into and then they can launch into their new lives with a level of confidence they didn’t have before”, explained Hetrick. On average, her clients emerge from divorce with a 20-40% larger settlement because they have a true picture of the situation and a realistic assessment of their post-divorce needs. After a divorce is finalized, Hetrick is available for financial planning as she is also a full service Wealth Manager and Financial Advisor with Clarity Financial. Often, since she has just explored all the details of a client’s financial life, she is in a perfect position to help someone into the next phase of their life and help develop a more secure financial future. “About 70% of the clients that work with me through their divorce, ask me to be their financial advisor after the divorce,” stated Hetrick. Nancy Hetrick is also an Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA), an Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS) and a Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC).
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