Our experience in advising clients going through a divorce is that the process can be emotional and this is usually made worse by concerns around the finances. On many occasions clients need to make decisions surrounding what a good outcome may look like for them comparing different assets – some complex, some less so. This is a daunting task for those who do not have experience in financial planning. As one of a limited number of Accredited Member of Resolution* (less than 40 individuals in the UK as at Feb 2023) Paul is best placed to help those clients in divorce and will work with you and your solicitor.
Advising on Settlement
Our role in advising a client is to provide clarity on these different assets by explaining some of the consequences involved in owning or sharing the assets. We can look at an agreement and consider both the current financial situation and also look at the long term implications of the agreement via the use of cash flow modelling. Only once you have looked at the long term implications of a financial agreement do you have a better idea as to whether you have made the right decision. In our opinion the earlier we are involved in the divorce process the better the potential results.
Advising on Pensions
For some people the pension is the biggest asset of the settlement and is often misunderstood. There are times when pensions are split without understanding the true value of the underlying benefits or what a settlement today may mean in future. Our involvement can help to look at these issues and consider what a settlement means in terms of future retirement. We can explain complex terms and review implications such as the Lifetime Allowance, or Annual Allowance.
For many separating couples there is a recommendation for an Actuary Report to be prepared to help understanding whether a Cash Equivalent being offered by a pension provider is appropriate and fair value. The content within these reports is very technical and requires an adviser to help to set out the differences. We can also help to frame the questions that might need to be asked when appointing an Actuary to review a pension scheme.
Advising as a Financial Neutral
For some divorcing couples we will be asked to act as a Financial Neutral which is different to providing advice to one party. In this situation we will sit in a 5 way collaborative meeting with the appointed solicitors to provide information to each couple, acting as a sounding board and sharing ideas for the parties to consider. This can be a very effective way of agreeing a settlement – particularly with complex financial arrangements.
* Resolution members commit to a Code of Practice that promotes a constructive approach to family issues and considers the needs of the whole family, in particular the best interests of children.