THE USE OF A FINANCIAL SPECIALIST
Every Team Mediationsm case has a neutral financial specialist – typically a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) who also holds the designation of Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™) or Certified Financial Divorce Practitioner (CFDP™) – review all financial decisions. Here again, the parties with the help of their attorneys determine the level of involvement of the neutral financial specialist. This specialist may assist the parties in the preparation of budgets; in creating financial projections; in developing tax strategies that often save the couples substantial amounts of money; in assessing life insurance needs; in retirement planning; and in college financial planning where appropriate. The neutral financial specialist will also be the one who recommends evaluators for pensions or businesses. This specialist, who typically charges less than a lawyer, will not only provide the divorcing couple with meaningful financial data that will save them money right now, but can also provide financial projections and scenarios for what the financial picture will look like five, ten and even more years down the road. In collaborative processes the role of the neutral financial specialist is sometimes eliminated or minimized by the attorneys.
THE USE OF OTHER SPECIALISTS
The use of specialists has always been a key part of the mediation process. Attorneys, wanting to be able to keep full control of the process most often do not bring in other professionals, except when required by the courts. In contrast, mediators, typically make use of other specialists such as psychologists and social workers, either to meet with children or to work with the parents when indicated. Often referrals are made to divorce coaches, psychotherapists or career counselors to help individuals through the divorce process. The Center maintains an updated list of such specialists.