I am humbled every time I'm hired to be a part of the difficult and life-changing process of divorce. Sometimes I am hired to work as a financial neutral by both spouses and sometimes I am hired by only one spouse as their advocate.
As alternative methods of divorce such as Collaborative Divorce and mediated divorce, become increasingly popular, my role becomes the financial expert working with the couple and their entire divorce team as a financial neutral, coordinating with all to create solutions unique to your new two- household family structure. However in some situations, it is best for one spouse to have my financial expertise on their team and supporting their team and ultimately their hopes and dreams.
Either way, my task is to support you and your team in the many financial decisions you that will be made. This includes education, analysis, data gathering and reporting, running "what-if" scenarios, and brainstorming as needed.
It is my goal to provide a thorough and compassionate process, in the timeline which works for you. The process is inherently iterative as we work layer by layer to hone in on the solutions that best fit your family's future.
The number of hours and time frame to completion greatly depends upon the financial complexity and timeliness of information gathering, the personalities involved and their alignment or non-alignment of goals and desired outcomes, the number of areas where conflict exists, and the type of divorce process being used. Each party comes to the table in a different emotional state with a different "money personality". Sometimes time is needed for processing and decision making or for one spouse to get gain education or clarity on an issue at hand.
We start with the data. And we start with what's important to you (and hopefully also what is important to your spouse). I like to begin with areas of agreement or minimal conflict. Next, we find any holes or discrepancies in the data. It is not uncommon to have to do a deep dive into a few things. We build agreement as we can. Step-by-step we use information, analysis, discussions, negotiations and mediation. Sometimes there are difficult conversations. You and your spouse have different "money personalities". You and your spouse might be in different places emotionally. We work through the questions, the options. We run scenarios; we look for creative solutions. We ask "what-if". We explore various proposals.
Right now, you may feel overwhelmed, confused, uncertain, or just resigned to "get-it-over-with". My goal when working with you is for you to feel educated, empowered and clear around the financial aspects of your divorce; so you can move forward and make informed decisions with clarity and confidence.
Meet Your Team
Divorce is a rough road.
Bring along a CDFA
Susan Austin is an independent CDFA®. Through life’s twists and turns, she believes all roads have led to her current CDFA® practice which she enjoys very much. Many CDFA's are also financial planners or wealth managers, Susan does not manage money and thus avoids any inherent conflict of interest.
Susan’s background in Economics, Quantitative Methods and an MBA in Finance have afforded her a wide and varied career which began in corporate finance, transitioned to owning and operating a small business, assisting with the startup of two small non-profits, providing independent business and economic analysis, and later managing an early-stage private equity group.
She is a board member and frequent financial presenter at Second Saturday® Des Moines monthly workshops. She also teaches introductory courses for the ACA (Angel Capital Association).
When she learned about the CDFA profession eight years ago, she knew it was the perfect fit for the next chapter in her life.
You can begin the CDFA work even if you have not yet selected your attorney. The information and analysis you gain will be valuable and necessary in your first few client/attorney meetings and you will be a step ahead of most.
If you have already hired an attorney, you may decide to hire me independently or your attorney can contact me directly. I am trained in Collaborative Divorce for those selecting that divorce process.
For those looking at a mediated divorce, mediators will often bring in a CDFA for one party and or as a financial neutral.
Many attorneys are just now discovering how valuable the information provided by a qualified CDFA - including powerful decision support tools, and analysis of multiple scenarios, and data gathering, benefits both you and your attorney. Discuss with your attorney.
You are an integral part of this process. You bring your hopes and dreams for your future and you bring the realities of your current "money" life. Wherever you are on the financial spectrum, from "I love every detail" to total opposite, "I have no idea about it and I prefer it that way". We will navigate it together.
Questions? Let's schedule a initial phone call.