"With many years in financial planning and working with divorcing couples, I find Leah’s approach in this area to be all encompassing making the journey clients travel much less stressful while preparing a strong foundation for their future. More than that, Leah really cares about each client!
- Jan Litterest
Divorce Financial Planning - What to Expect
Most people who are going through a divorce have never done it before. Alternatively, their situation has substantially changed since the last time they were divorced. You will quickly learn that divorce can be a crash course in everything from family law to financial planning to unexpected health issues. The divorce planning service is a guide to help you get through the divorce process as easily as possible. Throughout the process, I partner with you to learn about the your vision for your post-divorce life and serve as a guide to get you there. I, personally, assist with all of the financial aspects and will refer to others for assistance needed outside of my area of specialty. I have that clients who go through this process with me are able to face their divorce with greater confidence while also saving themselves quite a bit of money.
Divorce Financial Planning Steps:
Creating a vision for your post-divorce life.
How can we create a plan if we don't know where we're going? This is often the most emotionally challenging task. A lot will be changing in your life but rather than having the divorce process determine those changes, I want to help you control how your life will be following your divorce.
Organizing and preparing financial documents.
I work with you to gather all of the financial information you will need to proceed with your divorce, including creating a budget and preparing a financial affidavit.
I will help you create SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). These goals might need to be modified throughout the process but it's an important exercise to prepare you for negotiating your divorce settlement.
Finalizing Your Divorce Plan
I work with you to select an attorney or mediator, depending on how you want to proceed. I assist you in making the most of your time with that professional in order to reduce your overall cost of divorce. I continue to provide support regarding all of the financial aspects of your divorce and will continue to work with you following your divorce, if needed.
What is a QDRO/DOPO?
A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a legal document that is required to split an ERISA qualified plan as part of a divorce settlement. Qualified plans include: 401(k), 403(b), 457, pension, profit sharing plans, etc. Every plan has its own requirements. Depending on the plan, the document may not even be called a QDRO but they are generically referred to that way. It’s important that when you have one prepared, it is sent to the plan for pre-approval to ensure that it meets all of the requirements. Do this before you send it to the judge or you risk having it rejected by the plan and having to start over with more expense.
DOPO is a similar document used for certain plans that do not fall under ERISA guidelines. DOPO stands for Division of Property Order.
We facilitate QDRO and DOPO preparation. This is a national service and the flat fee for this service is $450. Additional orders for the same case are at a $75 discount. Email email@example.com with questions.
Common QDRO-Related Mistakes to Avoid
The two most common mistakes that I see time and again are:
- Not having the document drafted prior to the final court appearance
- Not filing the document with the plan administrator right away after it's approved by the court
These mistakes are simple enough to avoid. As soon as you know you will need one, get one drafted. Once the document is approved by the court, file it with the plan administrator. The follow through on this is really important.
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