7 Critical Steps to a Soft Landing in your Divorce
Ken S. Maynard CDFA
Ken S. Maynard is an Divorce Mediator and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). He is a specialist in comprehensive divorce mediation services resulting in a separation agreement. You can meet with Ken at any of the 6 DTSW Greater Toronto mediation centres including | Aurora | Barrie | North York | Vaughan | Mississauga | Scarborough | Or you can work with Ken online or at your remote location.
Critical First Step – Early Neutral Consultation
Critical 1st Steps
Information First Model
What most people do is go off and hire a lawyer way too soon
Then this a happens:
Spouses stop communicating
The demanding, intimidating and provoking lawyer letters start going out
Fears hijack rational thought
Court Dates are set
Now your costs are out of control, and you’re caught up in a system you can’t get out. There will be a winner and a loser.
What I do;
In an Early Neutral Consultation, I will answer questions and bring the separating couple together with a common focus. One of the main benefits of the Early Neutral Consultation is you both hear the information together, minimizing the possibility of conflict often created by solo information gathering.
If the only thing you got from an ENC was how Equitable Asset and Liability Equalization / Division works, it’d be worth it right? What about strategies to minimize your separation and divorce costs and take the financial sting out of a divorce, is that not worth coming in for an ENC? Then there is Child & Spousal Support, and the various settlement options available to you, by itself would that not be worth knowing. In the end, if the only thing you got from an ENC was how you and your former spouse viewed the issues after hearing from the Mediator, it’d be worth it.
The Early Neutral Consultation is structured to save you time, money, and stress by laying down a forward direction on a foundation of cooperation and understanding.
Step #2 - Client Outcome Visioning Discussion
With most separating spouses they stop communicating effectively, just at the time when they have the most to learn about each other. Many start assuming what the other wants from the separation.
In the Client Outcome Visioning discussion, I will sit with each of your one-on-one and learn from you. I want to learn what is your ideal outcome, what are your core objectives and your main concerns. The better I understand your vision for the future, the better I can help you get there.
With what I have learned I become your peacemaking intermediary.
Step #3 Clear Financial Foundations
If you find “Disclosure” a mysterious concept. You not alone. However, this is an important and required foundational element to the divorce mediation process. In fact, it’s a fundamental requirement in any separation and divorce path you take. It’s the law! To help you breeze through the Disclosure gathering. I have my very own Disclosure Tutor an interactive online-learning tool. You will be up to speed in a snap.
Step #4 Smart & Equitable Financial Share
Imagine a custom settlement structure designed to protect the wealth you have created while laying the foundation for independent futures and soft landings for you and your family. With a thorough and comprehensive understanding of your finances, I will facilitate your financial settlement. One of the most rewarding parts of my work is when I can show the separating couple how to look at their finances differently, in effect making the financial pie larger. That is how divorce mediation works for you. Soft landing design in action!
Step #5 Family Harbour Child Centered Parenting Plan
For those who have children, long after your finances are settled, you are connected to each other by your children. Your children will be your greatest legacy. Many longitudinal studies have proven a mediated separation and divorce settlement creates the most stable long-term co-parenting environments. If your mediation produces nothing more then a healthy co-parenting environment then it’s simply worth it.
Step #7 Separation Agreement
The strategic error that most people make is to develop a separation agreement in a vacuum. What I mean is they create a separation agreement without input from the other party. Then they turn around and demand the other party sign the separation agreement. I call this separation at gun-point. This strong-arm approach mostly leads to higher conflicts and no signed separation agreement.
With Divorce the Smartway the creation of a separation agreement is an inclusive endeavour right from the start. A separation agreement developed in mediation with the input of both parties creates a sense of equity and ownership of the agreement. When there a feeling of ownership the agreement becomes more durable and long-lasting.
Step #7 Independent Legal Advice (ILA)
For an agreement of this nature, obtaining a “Certificate of Independent Legal Advice” is a must as it adds durability to your Separation Agreement. To this end, a lawyer will review your Separation Agreement and provide you with the “Certificate of Independent Legal Advice”.
What is a Soft Landing
A Soft Landing is the result of Divorce Financial Planning. A point worth making is a Family Court Judge simply cannot be creative. And a straight up 50/50 split of assets does not always produce an equitable sharing of assets. Imagine transforming dysfunctional financial situations into a future-focused solution. Soft Landings are created when there is an allocation of family assets along the lines of who can best utilize the asset in the future. In effect making the financial pie larger.
Simple Soft Landings Examples
A pension holder swaps their pension value for say their share of the matrimonial home.
Monthly spousal support is converted into a one-time lump sum payment and put to use immediately.
Deferred sale of the matrimonial home until the children go off to High School or University.
These are some very simple examples. There many solutions to every financial dilemma.