What documents do I need to bring to a consultation meeting with a financial advisor if I am in the process of getting divorced and what should I expect to get out of a consultation?

My husband is leaving me after 25 years and I am going through a very difficult time. I am 64 years old and do not work/have a job. I have 3 kids - 2 are seniors in college (21 years old) and 1 is graduated and is financially independent (25 years old). I live in the state of New York. I am beginning the search for a financial advisor to ensure that I am getting the best settlement. Before I begin my search, I need to gather all the materials I need for a consultation meeting. Please advise me as to what documents/information I should get together and what I should expect out of a consultation with a financial advisor. I am looking for an advisor that will be able to provide me financial planning and wealth management support during the settlement process and post-divorce as well.

Marriage / Divorce, Financial Planning, Choosing an Advisor
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June 2017

I know from personal experience the issues that you are facing and it was my own divorce which led me to focus on divorce issues in both my planning and divorce practices.  I do hope that your divorce is cordial and does not get nasty.    Sometimes in the process, it is helpful if you have someone in the mental health arena to help with the emotional anguish that often accompanies the end of a marriage.

What do I ask clients to bring to an initial consult?   Nothing - just themselves and to tell me what they are going through and what do they want to accomplish. You will also be asked if there are any nuptial documents in place.  If it is a good fit, at subsequent meetings you will be asked for copies of tax returns and lists of assets and liabilities.  Much of what will be given to attorneys for the discovery will also be what I require.  You will be expected to provide a budget - what do you need to live on.   The copier machine will become your friend - you will need 3 years of tax returns, at least 6 months of brokerage statements, bank statements.  You will need copies of your spouse's retirement plan and work related benefits.

The "best" settlement is going to be determined by your lawyer, his lawyer and the judge.  What I can do, is make sure that you understand the impact of the settlement and how it will impact you. The advisor should be the one to work with you and your lawyer and if needed, handle much of the non-legal paperwork.  If you develop a nice working relationship with the advisor then they can continue post-divorce.

Again, the initial consult is really just a getting to know each other meeting and there is no need to have much documentation.  Always remember though, once engaged, you need to be 100 percent up-front with everything.  

I am sorry for what you are going through, but life does go on - stay strong and healthy.

June 2017
June 2017
June 2017
June 2017