Intelligent Divorce
A Practical Peace

Zen Mensch Accounting

You have been fighting for years and he is evasive about money. Of course you ARE right — he cannot be trusted. But that does not mean there is a treasure of gold in his beat-up pick-up truck. She did NOT declare those yard sale earnings on her 1992 tax return. Because she under-reported her income, does that mean she also convinced her employer to doctor her W-2 so that she would show smaller earnings?

A few years ago I testified in court for Jill, a client whose divorce proceedings had gone on near seven years. Husband Jack had refused to sign joint tax returns simply out of spite, which would have resulted in Jill paying tens of thousands more- even though Jill was the sole provider, and Jack was dependent on her financial well-being to support their children.

(My company, ALSD provides divorce financial planning,  forensic accounting and litigation support services.)

 Divorce is hard. You are angry, aggrieved, entitled. It is almost inhumane to ask you to separate your emotions from the settlement discussions (hell, he’s not). I’ve been there recently — I’m told our divorce was relatively civil, and I still found it brutalWounds linger. This was someone you loved, maybe mothered or fathered your children.

Yes, you may still need to hunt down hidden assets, look at her bank statements, and put in writing that she continue to cover your health insurance and pay for junior’s braces while you claim all the children. Yes, your spouse was a louse. Advocate for yourself without vindictiveness and you will move on more quickly and save a whole lot of legal fees.

For specific suggestions to help you in your divorce financial planning, click here.  Contact me if you would like to learn more about divorce mediation or “collaborative” divorce,  both of which are growing in popularity. Each is considered a method of “alternative dispute resolution.”  As one who benefited from mediation and was recently introduced to the collaborative concept, I hope the dramatic, drawn-out, and expensive litigated model eventually becomes the “alternative.” The toll on children can be especially harsh.

Click on the titles to  read previous Dispatches such as  “Is Sex Therapy Tax Deductible?“, “Embezzlement Made Easy” and “Business Mistakes with Friends“. All articles are posted on the website of Aaronson Lavoie Streitfeld Diaz and Co, where I have been a partner since 1998.

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