Why family lawyers and financial planners need to work collaboratively
Divorce is about more than simply dividing assets – practitioners in this space need to assist clients on a more holistic journey, argues one private wealth adviser.
Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, Elston private wealth adviser Claire McGregor said that, having worked with many family lawyers over the years, it is clear how often the quality of the outcome for a client correlates with how soon a financial planner is brought into the conversation.
“The sooner we can get your client thinking about what they want, and how that might be different to what they need, the more likely they are to negotiate with confidence,” she said.
Family law disputes are, she said, about more than simply dividing assets.
“You need a financial planner who asks the right questions, knows how to listen, and can help clients make sense of their situation,” she posited.
“A skilled financial planner who gets involved before negotiations are underway can help reduce the stress and anxiety your client is experiencing during their separation. This can increase your client’s confidence in the decisions they are making about what they need now and into the future.”
When asked if working collaboratively with a financial planner, and being able to refer work onto those professionals, would help alleviate some professional pressures on family lawyers that they may not be qualified to assist with, Ms McGregor said that when engaging in a collaborative partnership, there are two things that stand out: trust and teamwork.
“We trust that all parties are working towards the best outcome for the client. And for this to be a success complete transparency is needed,” she said.
“With an open line of communication and effective teamwork, the unique skills of both a family lawyer and financial planner can be best utilised to reach a successful settlement for the client.”
There is also potential, she added, for financial planners to be able to refer work back to family lawyers.
“It’s not just a possibility – it’s what we currently do”, she said, noting also that such collaboration has flow-on wellness benefits for the parties involved.
“Uncertainty around a client’s future financial position can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. Working with a financial planner who can help the client understand their position and visualise their future can assist in reducing some of this stress, anxiety and feelings of overwhelm and enable the client to negotiate with confidence. It’s a win-win for all parties involved,” she concluded.