Lazar & Schwartz lawyers Brett E. Jones and Kathryn S. Lazar spoke to regional representatives of MassMutual Financial Group, sharing their experience and insights about the connections and interplay between divorce and financial planners for those considering divorce, where the client’s spouse is seeking a divorce, or where the couple is in the midst of a divorce. Some 20 financial planners listened and questioned the two lawyers about such legal/financial crossovers in divorce.
After describing ways of getting divorced that differ from the ways of 20 years ago, the two lawyers addressed substantive financial issues that arise in divorce, such as a couple’s marital property and each spouse’s separate property; retirement assets; valuation of a business owned by one or both spouses; and life insurance.
The lawyers also spoke from experience about aspects of divorce that are not learned in law school, but in years of practice, focusing on particular challenges that people face when they are divorcing and the fact that litigation is not the only way to get divorced. They also pointed out that steps taken and statements made by the financial planner in working with a couple or with one spouse, prior to divorce, or during a divorce, can be beneficial in the divorce process or have a negative impact on it.
Questions from the audience included issues relating to confidentiality and the ethical differences when a financial planner is working with the spouses as couple, rather than just one spouse.
“It’s stimulating to present our knowledge and experience to professionals working in complementary disciplines,” Ms. Lazar said. “We learn as much from the questions as the audience learns from the answers.”